Clinton not warned of Egyptian president's power grab
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy
November 26th, 2012
07:27 PM ET

Clinton not warned of Egyptian president's power grab

By Jill Dougherty

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy's bid for more power blindsided Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, as her spokeswoman told reporters Monday, had no forewarning about his upcoming political maneuverings.

Clinton met with Morsy in Cairo last Wednesday in an effort to broker a cease-fire in Gaza but there was no discussion about Morsy's plans for his own government.

"She heard about it when everybody else heard about it," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday.

Morsy's announcement that he was assuming new powers shielding his decisions from judicial scrutiny raised red flags in Washington but officials also were more immediately concerned by the potential for violence after thousands took to the streets to protest the president's move.

Since Morsy's announcement, which comes as an assembly is writing a new Egyptian constitution, the Obama administration has been seeking clarification. So far, the conclusion is the move appears to be temporary.

"When he says it's temporary," Nuland explained, "our understanding is it's temporary until there is a constitution that can be approved, but the concern was that there were various, you know, issues that were not well represented in the way he went forward with this."

On Monday, Secretary Clinton spoke by phone with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and, according to Nuland, stressed again the United States' view that the constitution should not "overly concentrate power in one set of hands."

The U.S. has been calling for all "stakeholders" in the constitutional process to be included in discussions, and that appears to be happening, with Morsy consulting with various groups, including the judiciary.

But, Nuland cautioned, "It is a very murky, uncertain period in terms of the legal and constitutional underpinnings, which makes it all the more important that the process proceed on the basis of democratic dialogue and the consultations."

Morsy's move, coming days after he played a key role in working out a Gaza cease-fire, has raised questions on Capitol Hill over U.S. funding to Egypt. Nuland stressed U.S. support for a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund agreed to last week.

When it comes to U.S. help, she said "We've also been clear with the Congress that we think that the support in the form of economic support funds that we've pledged to Egypt should go forward."

The Obama administration wants Congress to approve an immediate cash infusion of $450 million, part of an overall package of $1 billion to support Egypt's transition after the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Nuland added a caveat: "But, obviously, I think everybody's watching now, (to see) that this current set of issues has a democratic resolution."

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Zarzoor

    Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood are trying to hijack Egypt completely. I am Egyptian, and MILLIONS of Egyptians have been protesting Morsy's power grab, and planning for more protests indefinitely to overthrow the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsy thought the after he helped broker a deal with hamas for the cease fire, that the USA was going to let him do what he pleases in Egypt! Please do not trust the brotherhood, they will turn on you the first chance they can. Help the people of Egypt to over throw the brotherhood, DO NOT NEGOTIATE with terrorists!!! the Muslim brotherhood and Hamas are ONE, they are terrorists! and will lie to their teeth to get what they want....

    December 2, 2012 at 1:29 am | Reply
  2. John Q Public

    To all those like Cooper, Blitzer, Morgan, Obrien, Geraldo, the MSNBC nutjobs, and all the others talking about how wonderful the Arab Spring was and how crazy we were for saying this was going to happen, how's that working out for you now?

    November 29, 2012 at 11:24 am | Reply
  3. hfdrtyukhvfxrth

    HOWS THIS WORK FOR YOU: MORSSEY IS NOW THE MUSLIMS MASTER BECAUSE OF A FEW VERY VERY BAD MUSLIMS

    November 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
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  14. sfgjhxfvb

    to Nikos Retsos

    no question asked as of yet

    November 26, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  15. jgjgfkjgcdkjbgx

    THIS TELLS ME THAT MORRSEY KNOWS EVERYTHING.

    November 26, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  16. Nikos Retsos

    Is Hillary Clinton a U.S. Viceroy in Egypt that should have been informed foreward by Mr. Mohamed Morsi before he issued his Executive Degree?

    November 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Reply
    • Saiph Eltanin

      @ Nikos: The point, I think, is that the U.S. is trying to deflect possible accusations that it permitted Morsi to do the things he did; the statement does not imply that the U.S. should have been forewarned but rather that the U.S. had no hand in the events that took place.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  17. American Zionist

    Again the forces of darkness rise to the surface in an Islamic nation.

    November 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  18. itfvbmliuygb

    I GIVE MORSSEY THE BENIFIT OF THE DOUBT ALBIET THAT MEANS VERY LITTLE UNLESS THE MOTHER- ferS WHO JUMPED THE EMBASSY WALL AND TORE UP THE FLAG ARE DELIVERED FURTHER THE LARGER PERCEPTION PROBLEM THE OTHER EMBASSY WHICH WAS OVER RUN ARE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE NOT BY FORIENERS BUT BY MUSLIMS THEMSELVES

    November 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  19. joe

    No need to consult other countries.

    November 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply

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