Top of the Agenda: Egyptians Throng Streets, Demanding Morsi's Ouster
Suhaib Salem/Courtesy Reuters
Millions of Egyptians poured into the streets of Cairo and cities across the country on Sunday, demanding President Mohamed Morsi's resignation on his one-year anniversary of taking office following Hosni Mubarak's departure. Demonstrators cited concerns about an anemic economy, energy shortages, and sectarian tensions, but opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood was the uniting factor for the protests. The Islamist group's offices were a locus of violence as the nation's police vowed not to protect them (NYT). The opposition movement Tamarod (Rebellion) announced that it would launch a civil disobedience campaign if Morsi did not resign by Tuesday afternoon (al-Arabiya). At least nine have been killed in the protests so far.
"It is staggering to think how Morsi and the Brotherhood have obliterated so much of the goodwill that many people genuinely had for (or were willing to give to) them, largely in a single year. All the Brotherhood and Morsi (elected by only 51.7% with the indispensable aid of a revolutionary-Islamist coalition that has since fallen apart) had to do was to be transparent, inclusive, and focused on playing a mediating role between the country's forces," writes Bassem Sabry for al-Monitor.
"In conversations with opposition politicians over the past six months, I have been struck by two things: their vehement hatred of the Brotherhood, and their inability to articulate solutions to the country's problems. People speak in vague terms about social justice and democratic values. I have yet to meet a politician with a substantive plan to overhaul a system of food and fuel subsidies that eats up almost one third of the budget, or to reform the education sector, or to stimulate foreign investment," writes Leslie T. Chang for the New Yorker.
"If the first elected Islamist president is toppled, then what will keep others from trying to topple a future liberal president? If one looks at Tamarod's justifications for seeking Morsi's overthrow, the entire list consists of problems that will almost certainly plague his successor. They have little to do with a flawed transition process and a rushed constitution that ran roughshod over opposition objections and everything to do with performance," writes Shadi Hamid for the Atlantic.
Kerry Urges South China Sea Talks
U.S. secretary of state John Kerry pressed China and ASEAN nations to make progress on easing tensions in the South China Sea (Reuters), saying that Washington had national interests at stake in the disputes. The comments come a day after China said it would hold formal discussions later this year.
This CFR Backgrounder details the ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
JAPAN: Japan, the United States, and South Korea held a ministerial meeting on Monday in Brunei to boost trilateral cooperation in curbing North Korea's nuclear program (KyodoNews).
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
Dozens Killed in Pakistan
Militant bombings in Quetta, Pakistan, killed dozens (NYT) on Sunday during a visit by the British prime minister, underscoring the myriad security threats the new government must face. Quetta has been at the center of a violent campaign by Sunni militants against the Shiite Hazara minority.
INDIA: Two people were killed in a gun battle in India-controlled Kashmir on Monday as a strike by separatists in the region continues (AP).
Gulf States and EU Pledge Syria Solution
Gulf Arab nations and the EU pledged during a ministerial meeting in Bahrain on Sunday to find a political solution to the Syrian war (al-Arabiya), urging Iran to play a "constructive role" in the process. Meanwhile, Russia and the United States have been striving to hold a conference in Geneva.
Obama Pledges $7 Billion for Electric Power in Africa
President Barack Obama, in a speech at the University of Cape Town, announced a $7 billion plan to boost access to electric power in sub-Saharan Africa. The president is on a three-country tour through Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania to promote trade and investment (Bloomberg).
SOMALIA: Somalia accused the Kenyan contingency of the African Union forces of "taking sides" and causing civilian casualties (Garowe) in the heavy fighting around Kismayo.
Croatia Joins EU
Croatia became the twenty-eighth member of the EU on Monday (WSJ), an accession that comes almost two decades after its war of independence. Despite the celebrations, the country is still in the throes of a painful recession, with unemployment at more than 20 percent.
EUROPEAN UNION: EU countries demanded that Washington clarify allegations that the National Security Agency had infiltrated communication networks to spy on European operations (Guardian).
Chile's Bachelet Beats Rivals for Presidential Bid
Former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet defeated her center-left rivals for the presidential bid on Sunday in an overwhelming primary win. Bachelet served as Chile's first female president from 2006 to 2010, and is expected to win back office in the November 17 election (MercoPress).
BRAZIL: Protestors clashed with riot police in Brazil throughout the country's Confederations Cup match with Spain (AFP), as more than a million took to the streets to protest extravagant spending.