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By Brahma Chellaney
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - steven cook
Egyptians celebrated Sunday the election of their country's first freely elected president - Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who becomes the first Islamist head of state of the Arab world's most populous nation.
The two surviving candidates in Egypt's presidential election appealed Saturday for support from voters who rejected them as polarizing extremists in the first round even as they faced a new challenge from the third runner-up who contested the preliminary results.
Egypt and the United States are postponing a major military exercise this year as Egypt's military deploys troops to secure the Sinai Peninsula.
President Obama will try this week to clarify his muddled strategy for promoting democracy in the Middle East, with lawmakers from both political parties and world leaders waiting to assess quickly whether his approach has muscle.
Egypt's new Cabinet announced Monday that it would increase the salaries and pensions of the country's 6 million state employees by 15 percent, as the Egyptian pound hit six-year lows against the dollar in trading after Sunday's reopening of the nation's banks.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle appeared on Wednesday to offer support for Turkey's stalling bid to join the European Union, saying in Istanbul that the country's "direction is [toward] Europe."
A new poll shows Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's governing party is trailing in advance of next year's elections.
U.S. and Western intelligence agencies assess that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is terminally ill, and the Obama administration is closely watching the expected transition of power.
"The Brotherhood has been clear that the strategic relationship, as it was configured under Mr. Mubarak, was not good for Egypt," said Steven Cook, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
The question was what are the rules of the road going forward between the Brotherhood, President Morsi and the military," said Mr. Cook, author of "The Struggle for Egypt." "Clearly, some sort of deal has been struck."