A Second Letter to Clinton from the Working Group on Egypt

Other Publications May 11
The renewal of the state of emergency in Egypt heightens concerns that the Obama administration’s practice of quiet diplomacy is not bearing fruit. The United States is uniquely positioned to engage the Egyptian government and civil society and encourage them along a path toward reform.
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Dear Madame Secretary,

Democracy in Egypt has suffered another blow. This week, the Egyptian government extended its state of emergency for an additional two years despite President Mubarak’s promises since 2005 to end it and replace it with a more limited anti-terror law. In light of this disturbing development, we write to you again to urge you strongly to take an interest in promoting democratic reform in Egypt.

In renewing the state of emergency, the Egyptian government has attempted to appease critics with slight changes to the emergency law text; however, these will not alter the fundamentally repressive atmosphere the state of emergency creates. Citizens still do not, for example, enjoy the freedom of assembly. The Egyptian government also has claimed that the emergency law will only apply to cases of terrorism or narcotics, but it has made such promises in the past and not abided by them.

Since 1981, the Government of Egypt has maintained the state of emergency continuously, ostensibly to fight terrorism and protect its citizens and national security. In practice, however, the emergency law has done precisely the opposite. It has encouraged human rights abuses, stifled the public voice, and fortified Egypt’s trend toward authoritarianism. Under the state of emergency, Egyptian citizens face arrest if they participate in political rallies or peaceful demonstrations, trial in military tribunals for political offenses, and prolonged administrative detention without charge. These measures are clearly incompatible with free elections and democratization, which President Mubarak promised twice since his recent return from surgery in Germany.

With elections scheduled for the parliament this year and the presidency in 2011, Egypt has a rare opportunity to reposition itself on the path toward healthy democratic reform. And neither must it start from scratch; while some changes must be constitutional and legal, others are merely administrative. It would require no changes in law, for example, to allow free campaigning and international and domestic election monitoring in this year’s parliamentary elections, to keep security forces away from polling places, or to refrain from violence against activists and protestors.

In our last letter to you, dated April 7, 2010, we outlined the importance of democracy in Egypt to the region, the United States, and the world in general, and we recommended a set of action items. In light of the renewal of the state of emergency, we are more convinced than ever of the importance of U.S. engagement. We urge you to persuade President Mubarak to lift the state of emergency now, as the critical elections period begins, and to release detainees held under the emergency law for clearly political offenses, while bringing all cases within a legitimate legal framework.

Madame Secretary, this is a bipartisan issue, and we strongly encourage you to act quickly and effectively. The renewal of the state of emergency heightens our concern that the administration’s practice of quiet diplomacy is not bearing fruit. As a major aid contributor to and strategic partner of Egypt, the United States is uniquely positioned to engage the Egyptian government and civil society and encourage them along a path toward reform. The time to use that leverage is now.


The Working Group on Egypt


Thomas Carothers
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Elliott Abrams
Council on Foreign Relations

Brian Katulis
Center for American Progress

Tom Malinowski
Human Rights Watch

Michele Dunne
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Robert Kagan
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Scott Carpenter
Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Ellen Bork
Foreign Policy Initiative

Daniel Calingaert
Freedom House

The Group’s first letter to Secretary Clinton can be viewed here.

End of document
Source http://carnegieendowment.org/2010/05/12/second-letter-to-clinton-from-working-group-on-egypt/2fvc

In Fact



of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.


of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.


charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.


thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.


of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.


trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.


of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.


of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.


of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.


of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.


U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.


of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.


million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.


of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.


of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.


of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.


of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.


of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.


of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.


million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


now needs urgent assistance.


political parties

contested India’s last national elections.


of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.


of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.


of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.


of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.


billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.


billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.


of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

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