Egypt's mounting ire targets U.S.
CAIRO — Supporters and foes of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy filled streets here again on Sunday as an interim government moved to fill key posts.
Anger appeared to grow against the United States, especially among anti-Morsy forces who accuse Washington of backing the deposed leader and the Muslim Brotherhood in their efforts to turn Egypt into an Islamic state.
Transitional Egyptian President Adly Mansour, named by the Egyptian military to lead the country after it removed Morsy from office, announced several key appointments, all of whom were members of the military or supporters of a nation guided by the armed forces.
The development raised questions about whether Mansour's government would, as promised, represent a broad spectrum of Egypt's political factions or become a vehicle for control by the military, which, until Morsy's election last year had led the nation either directly or through retired military officers for six decades.
There were fresh rumors about what role Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who leads a large political bloc that had opposed Morsy, would have in the new government.
ElBaradei's appointment as prime minister was opposed by the conservative religious Nour party; there were reports he might now be named vice president as soon as Monday. If that appointment takes place, he would be the first person named to the government who had openly criticized military rule.
Morsy's opponents maintained their hold on the capital's Tahrir Square and around the presidential palace, a week after bringing millions onto streets across Egypt. That demonstration — larger than any during Egypt's 2011 revolution — led the military to oust Morsy on Wednesday.
The crowd cheered and waved flags as military helicopters and jets flew overhead.
Outside the palace, posters accusing President Obama of supporting terrorism seemed to rival those supporting the military's chief, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi.
Dentist Mustafa Darder, 24, said he came “to support our army, who supported our revolution,” adding: “It's a revolution, not an army coup.
“I want to send a message to all the American people – we love you, and you are welcome in our country anytime,” he said. “But to the policymakers in America, keep your dirty hands off of Egypt.”
Egypt has been a critical ally for more than three decades; its army receives more than $1.3 billion annually in U.S. aid and is closely tied to American forces.
Yet with Morsy out, many Egyptians have turned their ire on Obama and U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson. Such anger has been building for a year, with moderates and liberals accusing U.S. officials — particularly Patterson — of being complacent or compliant as Morsy and the Brotherhood consolidated their power.
As anti-Morsy protesters marched Sunday while carrying a large Egyptian flag, people on balconies chanted, “Down, down with terrorism!”
Others carried posters of Obama, his face crossed out, and the words: “Stop supporting terrorism.”
Secretary of State John Kerry “firmly” rejected claims of U.S. support for the Brotherhood “or any specific Egyptian political party or movement.”
But anti-American fever persists here. Emad Risq, 32, a business manager, insisted that Washington is giving the Brotherhood money “to destroy Egypt and to support Israel.”
Sabah Said, 43, a veiled housewife with a picture of the military's top general pinned to her long gown, searched the bags of women who came to enjoy the party-like anti-Morsy rally. She said Obama should understand that Brotherhood followers are “terrorists.”
No violence erupted when millions of Egyptians demonstrated against Morsy for four days last week, she said — not until the Brotherhood's marches on Friday.
Morsy's son Osama told the largest of Cairo's Brotherhood rallies that his father's ouster “is a trial to test our belief, faith and perseverance.”
And at the anti-Morsy rally in Tahrir Square, Selwa Gameel, 24, a veiled lawyer and Islamist supporter, said she came to hear the opposition's views.
“These people will bring us back to the days of (Hosni) Mubarak,” the dictator ousted in 2011, Gameel said of the crowd.
“The Islamists won the elections … and the Brotherhood are very respectful, not terrorists.”
Betsy Hiel is the Tribune-Review's foreign correspondent. Email her at email@example.com.