July 10, 2013 | Quote

Who’s in Charge in Egypt? In the Obama Administration?

Disarray is the order of the day — both in Egypt and in the Obama administration.

The Post reports:

Interim President Adly Mansour appointed a new prime minister and vice president Tuesday as Egypt braced for a potential backlash a day after security forces gunned down more than 50 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

In a recorded statement broadcast on Egyptian television Tuesday, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, chief of Egypt’s armed forces, told the nation that the new president’s earlier constitutional declaration and road map for elections and a new charter provided “more than enough assurance” that the country was moving in the right direction.

The announcement was destined to displease many groups in Egypt who see the military government as illegitimate. And it certainly did, as the New York Times reported, with a range of players in Egypt calling the transition plan “muddled, authoritarian and rushed.”

Former CIA case officer Reuel Marc Gerecht e-mails me: “It’s likely an intractable situation: the new government will be seen by a large slice of the population as illegitimate. The military and the Egyptian liberals, who were the two driving forces behind the coup, now own Egypt’s problems.”

However, there were some positive developments there, says Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “It’s positive in the sense that the interim government is taking shape, and that there is general consensus among the anti-Islamists that the choices are good ones. But the environment in Egypt is still divisive.” He cautions, “Tensions between the Islamists and the anti-Morsi/Tamarod movement are running high.  This story is far from written.”

The most promising aspect of the announcement may be that Mansour named the former finance minister Hazem el-Beblawi as the new prime minister. A former U.S. official wryly observes, “If any country ever needed an economist as prime minister, this is it.” Indeed, Egypt is mired in debt and rife with corruption, a situation that makes additional help and investment problematic. So far it appears the new government is serious about tackling the out-of-control government subsidies and other overdue reforms. The best news of the day may have been the agreement from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to pony up a few billion dollars to help Egypt keep its economy afloat. (Mohammed Morsi’s exit certainly pleased the Sunni Arab states.)

Read the full article here.