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Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Steven A. Cook
Egypt's top court plunged the country into turmoil Thursday when it ruled that the Islamist-dominated parliament must be dissolved and the last prime minister to serve under ousted President Hosni Mubarak can run as a candidate in this weekend's presidential runoff election.
Candidates for Egypt's highest office have sharpened their anti-Israel rhetoric with barely a week left until voters cast their ballots in the first presidential election since last year's revolution.
In the eight months since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's ruling military has postponed presidential elections, extended a controversial emergency law, cracked down on peaceful demonstrators and arrested critics.
The Obama administration is engaged in a quiet and largely fruitless effort to persuade Egypt's security services to arrest scores of terrorists who were released or escaped from prisons during the country's recent revolution.
A leaderless uprising in Egypt rallied Sunday around Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, with the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition group, saying it will support him in negotiations with President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
The Obama administration on Wednesday voiced its support for the Egyptian people's rights to freedom of expression and assembly, as a second day of protests in Cairo saw police using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators.
As protests continue on the streets of Tunisia, U.S. policymakers are weighing their response to the crisis, seeking to chart a course supportive of demands for democratic reform without sacrificing other U.S. goals — or allies — in the region.
The ruling "suggests that the players have largely been outmaneuvered by the military," Mr. Cook said.
"People are coming to the recognition that this is the way in which the old regime is finally trying to snuff out the revolutionary promise of Tahrir Square," he added, referring to the site of the Cairo demonstrations against Mubarak.