William Katz:  Urgent Agenda







MOVEMENT IN EGYPT? – AT 10:22 A.M. ET:  Well, maybe, but maybe not.  From the Los Angeles Times:

CAIRO — In a political reversal to calm weeks of unrest, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi early Sunday rescinded much of last month’s decree that expanded his powers and exposed a dangerous divide between the nation’s Islamists and the mainly secular opposition.

The announcement reverses most of the declaration the Islamist president issued Nov. 22, including putting his office beyond judicial oversight. The peeling away of that power was a major demand of protesters. But Morsi continued to defy the opposition by refusing to cancel a Dec. 15 referendum on a proposed constitution drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly.

The turnaround by Morsi, who in a national address Thursday had refused to budge on his decree, was a signal that he wanted to ease tension that has resulted in clashes between his supporters and opposition groups that have left at least six people dead and hundreds injured.

It was unlikely, however, that reversing the decree but sticking to the referendum vote would appease the tens of thousands of protesters who have marched on his palace in the capital and in cities across Egypt.

“This is not a compromise; the president got all that he wanted,” said Bassem Sabry, an activist and writer. “What the Muslim Brotherhood wants [is to] get the constitution rammed through in a quick referendum before anyone gets a chance to properly discuss it.”

Reuters is now reporting:

...irate opponents said on Sunday he had deepened the conflict by pressing on with a vote on a constitution shaped by Islamists.

President Mohamed Mursi and his Islamist partisans have insisted the referendum go ahead on December 15 to seal a democratic transition that began when a popular uprising felled Hosni Mubarak 22 months ago after three decades of one-man rule.

The retraction of Mursi's November 22 decree, announced around midnight after a "national dialogue" boycotted by almost all the president's opponents, has failed to calm a war of words.

COMMENT:  It actually looks like we'll have more trouble, and that may actually be good.  The opposition, from the standpoint of establishing a real democracy, is asking the right questions and demanding the right answers. 

Of course, our president is silent about the opposition's correct course.  He tilts toward the Brotherhood.  You can't just get over a radical upbringing.  Obama is turning Egypt into a foreign-policy loser.

December 9,  2012