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The Egyptian Honeymoon is Over

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Uzbekistan-Afghanistan: Uzbek President Karimov said today that Uzbekistan must prepare for the unrest that will occur in Afghanistan after NATO withdraws

Comment: Afghanistan's neighbors have insight and wisdom about what to expect after 2014, if not sooner. It is a rough neighborhood. Karimov could have been speaking for all of the neighbors.


Turkey-Syria: Turkey forced a Syrian passenger aircraft to land at Ankara's Esenboga Airport and claimed it carried "non-civilian" cargo.

Comment: The interception of cargo aircraft apparently is part of Turkey's threat to exert more pressure on Syria. Interference with international air traffic, however, can backfire. The NightWatch hypothesis is that Turkey's huffing and puffing is mostly bluff to assert leadership in the Middle East without earning it.

Egypt: Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya published articles this week that evaluated President Mursi's first 100 days in office. They are summarized below.

Al Jazeera reported that President Mursi claimed 70 per cent of his security goals had been reached, as had 40 per cent of his rubbish collection targets, and he said he was 80 per cent of the way in ending an ongoing shortage of bread.

According to the popular website that has been tracking the performance of Morsi's presidency, 24 out of 57 of Morsi's promises are works in progress.

But he in fact only achieved nine of the 64 promises he made. The website also says 58 per cent of Egyptians are not satisfied with what has been achieved so far.

Comment: Al Jazeera emphasized foreign policy achievements. For example, it reported he has sent a clear message to Washington that he is distancing himself from Hosni Mubarak's unquestioning support for the US, insisting that foreign relationships will be based on "mutual respect". He has subtly shifted the emphasis of the Camp David accords, increasingly making the peace agreement as much about Palestinian aspirations as it is about Israeli security


Al Jazeera reported few details about the economic problems. The most negative comments were a statement that Morsi's critics maintain he has fallen well short of addressing the country's ailing education and health systems; a reminder that the president's domestic challenges go beyond the reduction of traffic and the collection of rubbish and the assertion that the economy is still reeling and there is a huge budget deficit.

Al Arabiya wrote that Mursi enjoys 51.6 percent of people's satisfaction after 90 days in office, according to the government's Information and Decision Support Center has reported.

Public satisfaction in urban areas stood at about 54.7 percent, slightly higher than the satisfaction in coastal areas, 52.4 percent. In rural and tribal areas the satisfaction was 48.8 low.

The general public satisfaction for his presidential program was rated at almost 60 percent.

About 61 percent were satisfied with fuel prices and a little over 52 percent were satisfied with the security situation.

The majority of people, however, (More than 54 percent) are not satisfied with the public cleanliness.

But Mursi's successes have often been overshadowed in the Egyptian media by domestic problems, including industrial action that has served as a reminder of the deep economic problems that fuelled the uprising against predecessor his President Mubarak.


In the past three months, Egypt has experienced increased power cuts that sometimes last for hours, while a fuel and diesel crisis has at times paralyzed the country, with mile-long queues forming outside petrol stations. Prices for gas canisters -- used in many homes for cooking and heating -- have spiked.

The Mursi Meter website said the president had failed to address the bread problem and the independent Al-Shorouk daily said that five people were killed in the city of Alexandria as they fought to get to the front of the bread queue.

Comment: The idea that a compromise president could make much progress in fulfilling 64 campaign promises is a measure more of Mursi's lack of experience than of any official failings. Both news services agree that the Egyptians like him thus far, but are not satisfied.

His honeymoon period is over and he will be under increasing pressure to deliver on the economic promises that led to the overthrow of President Mubarak. Egyptians have the vote, now they want the bread, jobs, gasoline and heating fuel and cooking oil that he promised. These issues created the atmosphere that led to the overthrow of Mubarak and have the power to threaten Mursi.

Administrative note: News outlets use two separate renderings in English of the Egyptian President's name, which is Arabic. NightWatch uses the CIA World Fact Book spelling in such cases, which is MURSI. The exception is when NightWatch directly quotes a news outlet.


End of NightWatch ###.

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