Opposition leader Mohammed El-Baradei has been named the new interim Prime Minister of Egypt, amidst continuing street violence:
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s new president moved to assert his authority Saturday by naming a chief rival of ousted leader Mohammed Morsi as interim prime minister and holding crisis talks with security officials on efforts to reclaim control of the streets.
The steps by the untested Adly Mansour, however, are likely to deepen the defiance by Islamist opponents who have turned parts of the Cairo into vigilante-guarded strongholds and have issued blood oaths to battle until Morsi is restored.
After a night of clashes that claimed at least 36 lives, both sides appeared to be preparing for the possibility of more violence as Egypt’s political unraveling increasingly left little room for middle ground or dialogue.
Mansour’s decision to bring pro-reform leader and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei into the key government role of prime minister is also certain to help cement the loyalties of the anti-Morsi forces.
The president planned to swear-in ElBaradei later Saturday, said Khaled Dawoud, an official with the main opposition National Salvation Front.
ElBaradei, a former director of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, led the protests against President Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring uprising that ended his autocratic rule in February 2011.
There were no reports of major clashes in Egypt after dawn Saturday, following a night of street battles that added to an overall death toll of at least 75 in the past week.
Later, in the northern part of Sinai peninsula, gunmen shot dead a Christian priest while he shopped for food in an outdoor market on Saturday.
It was not immediately clear if the shooting was linked to the political crisis, but there has been a backlash against Christians since just before and after Morsi’s ouster. Attacks have occurred on members of the minority by Islamists in at least three provinces south of Egypt. Christians account for about 10 percent of Egypt’s 90 million people. Morsi’s Brotherhood and hard-line allies claim the Christians played a big part in inciting against the ousted leader.
Regardless of whether this is good or bad for Egypt, this is not particularly good news for Israel. For example El Baradei said “We’ll fight back if Israel attacks Gaza“:
In an interview with the Al-Watan newspaper he said: “In case of any future Israeli attack on Gaza – as the next president of Egypt – I will open the Rafah border crossing and will consider different ways to implement the joint Arab defense agreement.”
He also stated that “Israel controls Palestinian soil” adding that that “there has been no tangible breakthrough in reconciliation process because of the imbalance of power in the region – a situation that creates a kind of one way peace.”
And Let’s just remember What El-Baradei did to stymie any IAEA inspections of Iran’s nuclear program: