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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
August 14, 2013

Top of the Agenda

Top of the Agenda: Egyptian Military Moves in on Protestors

Courtesy Reuters  

Courtesy Reuters

Egyptian security forces opened fire (BBC) on two Cairo protest camps run by supporters of Egypt's ousted president Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday morning, with reported death tolls ranging from thirteen to more than one hundred. Protestors had staged sit-ins (al-Jazeera) in Rabaa al-Adawiye, in northeast Cairo, soon after the country's first democratically elected president was overthrown by the army on July 3. The operation came after international efforts failed to mediate an end to the political standoff (Reuters) between Morsi's supporters and the military-backed government, which took power after his ouster. More than three hundred people have died in political violence since Morsi's departure.

Analysis

"We were among the strongest critics of former president Mohammed Morsi's undemocratic actions, and we sympathized with the millions of Egyptians who took to the streets last month to protest Morsi's abuses of power. But as we said again this week in Cairo, we find it difficult to describe the circumstances of Morsi's removal from office as anything other than a coup. Unsuccessful leaders in a democracy should leave office by losing elections," write Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham for the Washington Post.

"The fact that some revolutionary groups and democracy activists, who claim to be liberal, have made common cause with remnants of the old regime and the military undermines their claims to be democratic. It also makes them—if they are not careful—potential pawns in a game that anti-revolutionary forces are playing aimed at restoring some semblance of the old order," writes Steven Cook for CFR.

"On the other end, indecisiveness, after millions of people took to the streets to unequivocally demand dispersal of the sit-ins, will lead to an erosion of Sisi's credibility and that of the transition government as a whole," writes Wael Nawara for al-Monitor.

 

PACIFIC RIM

Taiwan's Ma Visits Americas

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-Jeou concluded a low-key but diplomatically significant (SCMP) stopover in New York on his way to Paraguay and the Caribbean yesterday, meeting U.S. officials and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg without protest from Beijing.

This CFR Backgrounder discusses China-Taiwan relations.

PHILIPPINES: The Philippines will hold talks with the United States on boosting U.S. troop levels (Bloomberg) there as the ASEAN nation seeks to counter China's rise in the region.

 

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Jamaat-e-Islami Protests in Bangladesh

Jamaat-e-Islami activists in Bangladesh called a strike to protest a court decision to cancel its registration with the election committee (bdnews24), a move that may deny it the chance to contest parliament elections. The group exploded crude bombs at the start of the nationwide strike.

INDIA: Pakistan and India accused each other again of provoking violence (Reuters) on the disputed Kashmir border on Wednesday as a week of shelling threatened to derail the resumption of peace talks.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Israel, Palestinians Restart Peace Talks

Israelis and Palestinians prepare to hold their first formal peace talks (AP) on home turf in nearly five years on Wednesday, hours after Israel released twenty-six Palestinian prisoners. Observers say expectations are low on both sides as the U.S.-sponsored negotiations begin in Jerusalem.

CFR's Robert Danin outlines three things to know about the resumed peace talks in this new video.

 

AFRICA

Nigeria Indicates 'Progress' on Battling Boko Haram

Nigeria's interior minister Abba Moro said that the army was making progress (BBC) in the war against Boko Haram militants, dismissing a recent mosque attack that killed forty-four people as "desperate" and "isolated." Nigeria has declared an emergency in three states.

CFR's John Campbell talks about the U.S. consular presence in Nigeria in this blog post.

ZAMBIA: Zambian opposition parties criticized the government's use of a public order act (VOA) to bar political rallies in the country, with some pushing for a repeal of the colonial-era legislation.

 

EUROPE

Italy Rules Out Pardon for Berlusconi

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano on Tuesday ruled out a pardon (FT) for former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the center-right leader convicted of tax fraud earlier this month. Berlusconi's allies had pressured the president for a pardon to stave off the risk of government collapse.

EUROPEAN UNION: Figures showed that eurozone economies expanded (Guardian) by 0.3 percent in the second quarter, pulling the single-currency region out of recession with help from a strong performance by Germany and France.

 

AMERICAS

Kerry Faces Criticism over NSA in Brazil

U.S. secretary of state John Kerry faced criticism (LAT) over U.S. surveillance policies on Tuesday during a visit to Brazil, where Brazilian foreign minister Antonio Patriota warned of "a new type of challenge" in the two countries' bilateral relationship.

PANAMA: Panama's security minister said that UN officials have begun inspecting a shipment of arms found on a North Korean ship passing through the Panama Canal (BBC).

 

 

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