National Security Brief: Egypt’s Isolated President Rejects Military Ultimatum

Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi rejected the military’s ultimatum on Monday that he acquiesce to some of the protesters’ demands within 48 hours or “have the army impose its own road map for the country.”

Egypt’s foreign minister also reportedly quit Morsi’s government on Tuesday and Reuters reports that Morsi looks “increasingly isolated, with ministers resigning, the liberal opposition refusing to talk to him and the armed forces, backed by millions of protesters in the street, giving him until Wednesday to agree to share power.”

Los Angeles Times notes that the Obama administration is “seeking to preserve a careful neutrality” during Egypt’s unrest. President Obama said on Monday that the Morsi government should “reach out to the opposition and work through these issues in a political process.” Obama also called Morsi to “convey his concerns” and stress that the U.S. “is committed to the democratic process in Egypt and does not support any single party or group.”

Meanwhile, U.S. officials said Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey reached out to his Egyptian counterpart on Monday but did not provide details of the call. “We’re not entirely sure what’s going to happen one way or the other in the next 48 hours, so I wouldn’t engage in any kind of speculation,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said.


The New York Times has more on the genesis of the latest uprising.

In other news:

  • Bloomberg reports: U.S. government contractors in Afghanistan are being hit with millions of dollars in “mostly improper” fees and penalties on top of nearly $1 billion in improper tax assessments, according to a U.S. watchdog agency.
  • The New York Times reports: Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that the United States and Russia are still working toward holding an international peace conference on Syria and agreed that it should take place “sooner rather than later.”
  • The Times also reports: Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union on Monday, a joyous moment for the small, predominantly Roman Catholic country about 20 years after it won independence in the bloody wars of the Balkans.