Friday, November 23, 2012

Egypt's Morsi: statesman abroad, a ‘pharaoh’ at home?

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has won high praise for brokering the Israel-Hamas ceasefire. But can he implement the truce? And on the domestic front, is Egypt’s new president turning into its next pharaoh?

In Arabic, Egypt is sometimes called “Umm al-Dunya” – or mother of the world – a title that turned more ironic than complimentary over the past few decades as Egypt sunk to new lows of poverty, autocracy and humiliation over its failure to defend the honor of the Arab world.

But for a brief moment on Wednesday night, it seemed like the most populous Arab nation was once again the center of the world.

While announcing an Israel-Hamas ceasefire at a joint press conference with her Egyptian counterpart in Cairo on November 21, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lavishly praised Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. 

"I want to thank President Morsi for his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence," said Clinton, setting the tone of the discourse in the days to come.

Egypt’s successful brokering of a ceasefire that ended eight days of fierce fighting, which killed more than 160 Gazans and five Israelis, has been hailed as a testimony to Morsi’s diplomatic adroitness – a quality few expected of the new man at the Heliopolis Presidential Palace.

Read More: France24