The White House released a statement, urging the interim military rulers of Egypt to relinquish power to civilians in an effort to guide Egypt toward democracy. However, the military council does not appear to be as cooperative as the Obama administration had hoped. Demonstrators are swarming in Tahrir Square to protest the military’s explicit intention to retain power despite the pending parliamentary elections scheduled to begin next week. Although the United States is one of Egypt’s closest benefactors, aiding Egypt with more than $1 billion per year, the White House is pressuring the generals to transfer power to a civilian government that is better equipped to respond to the needs of the Egyptian people.
Unfortunately, escalations of unrest by civilians have led to the Egyptian generals endorsing the use of force to clear crowds from Tahrir Square. Close to thirty civilians have been killed in the past two weeks, as more than 2,000 have been injured from the military response.
The military council has apologized for the deaths and injuries in these past weeks of unrest, yet it has also made comments suggesting that the crowds gathering in protest will be ineffective in prompting any power transfer to civilians even in light of the elections. Major General Mukhtar el-Mallah, a member of the military council, stated, “We will not relinquish power because of a slogan-chanting crowd.”
Do you think the Egyptian military council will heed to international pressures? What backlash do you foresee, taking into consideration the United States contributing considerable aid each year to Egypt? If civilian authority is established, could this prompt greater internal conflict with the military?
Original article from The New York Times