As demonstrations between rival sides escalate in Egypt after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, the world is waiting to see what's next for the country and the region.
Baker Institute founding director Edward P. Djerejian, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Israel and to Syria and also headed the Near East Bureau at the State Department, is putting rapidly changing developments into perspective in a series of television and print interviews. In a July 5 interview with the Council of Foreign Affairs' Bernard Gwertzman, Djerejian said the United States should formulate "a coherent and comprehensive strategic policy toward the region" rather than just react to events. In Egypt, he added, the United States should support the goals of democracy, but refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
Earlier in the week, Djerejian spoke to CNN"s Wolf Blitzer, noting the "remarkable" sight of army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi addressing the country while flanked by Egypt's top Muslim and Christian clerics.
"Look at what Sissi has done," Djerejian said. "There's something different happening here. It's a military move that's bringing together the non-Muslim Brotherhood elements of the core constituencies in Egypt. If the military can keep this type of political coalition -- if we can call it that -- together, a political transition in Egypt to a pluralistic governance system may be possible."
Hours before the military began moving on a "road plan" for a political transition, Djerejian appeared on Bloomberg TV to discuss what"s ahead for Egypt.
"Morsi fumbled the ball in power by not adopting the policies of inclusion and by marginalizing many of the people and groups that you see in the streets in Cairo," Djerejian said. "That was a fundamental mistake. They tried to consolidate power and did not try to adopt pluralism, which is a key factor in democracy."
Whatever the military does, Djerejian said, he hopes it is "able to provide a framework whereby there can begin to be some consensus politics in Egypt, [one that in the long term] represents all the Egyptian people."