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Reactions to Morsi ouster reveal domestic politics

July 4, 2013

The reactions of some countries to the military overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi offer a revealing glimpse at their own domestic politics. Here is a look at which side key countries are supporting.


The Obama administration is treading carefully, wary of taking sides. President Barack Obama said the U.S. acknowledged the “legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people” while also observing that Morsi, an Islamist, won his office in a legitimate election.


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted government, which had formed an alliance with Morsi, is speaking out in favor of the ousted leader. Turkey’s foreign minister slammed the overthrow as “unacceptable” and called for Morsi’s release from house arrest. Turkey itself was hit last month by a wave of protests against Erdogan’s perceived authoritarianism and attempts to impose his conservative views on secular society.


Syria’s embattled President Bashar Assad is celebrating the overthrow as the end of “political Islam.” He is facing an insurgency at home and has refused to step down, calling the revolt an international conspiracy carried out by Islamic extremists and fundamentalist groups such as the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of the Egyptian group with the same name to which Morsi belongs.


Iran is disappointed at the fall of Morsi, with a prominent lawmaker saying the leader failed to reshape Egypt’s powerful military and other security agencies. After Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, the new leadership formed military and security forces loyal to the clerics and others. Morsi’s government had ended more than three decades of diplomatic estrangement with Iran dating back to the revolution, when Egypt offered refuge to Iran’s deposed shah.


The ruling Islamists in Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring, are condemning the overthrow as a “flagrant coup.” Ennahda party leader Rachid Ghannouchi expressed astonishment, saying the overthrow undermined democracy and would feed radicalism.


The United Arab Emirates, one of the Arab world’s most outspoken critics of the Muslim Brotherhood, is noting its “satisfaction” at the turn of events in Egypt, according to the official news agency WAM. The UAE claims Islamist groups backed by the Muslim Brotherhood have sought to topple its Western-backed ruling system.


Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki expressed support for the Egyptian people’s choices and congratulated Egypt’s interim president, a spokesman said. The spokesman, Ali al-Moussawi, added that Iraq is “looking forward to boosting bilateral relations” and is “certain that the new president will move on with the new plan in holding elections and safeguarding national reconciliation.”

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