World News Brief, Thursday June 18

Interim Egyptian cabinet of 34 sworn in; South Korea asks to postpone plan to take operational control of troops; China rejects claims is it singling out foreign companies after making public details of alleged corruption by GlaxoSmithKline; South Africans prepare to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday; US-Russia relationship would not be harmed if Snowden granted asylum in Russia, says Putin

Top of the Agenda: Interim Egyptian Cabinet Sworn In

Interim Egyptian president Adly Mansour swore in thirty-four ministers on Tuesday, forming a cabinet dominated by liberal and leftist politicians, including holdovers from the ousted Mubarak regime and subsequent military government (WSJ). The cabinet includes three women and three Coptic Christians, but not a single member of the Muslim Brotherhood, despite its electoral popularity. Without any Islamists represented, the cabinet is open to the criticism that it aims to press a political agenda in the absence of consensus, a charge that helped bring down deposed president Mohammed Morsi (NYT). The Brotherhood, which denied that it was offered any ministerial posts and considers the government illegitimate, called on Wednesday for more mass demonstrations to protest the cabinet lineup (al-Arabiya).


"The core political problem in Egypt is one that almost always arises from years of dictatorship: a culture of suspicion and confrontation, a mentality of winner-take-all. Islamists and secular-minded Egyptians regard one another as obstacles to power, not as legitimate players in a complex game that requires inclusion and consensus," writes George Packer in the New Yorker.

"The only hope, according to some supporters of the coup and leading members of the new government, is 'to bring the Muslim Brothers into the political process.' Even if these kinds of declarations were not dripping in hypocrisy--the same figures just spearheaded an effort to forcibly remove the Brotherhood from the process--the Brothers' best strategy is to stay outside the political game and agitate against what they believe to be the fundamental illegitimacy of it," writes CFR's Steven Cook for Foreign Policy.

"The Brotherhood thrived for decades under pressure, and the idea of surviving the 'mehna' (ordeal) is a key element of Brotherhood ideology. Egypt's current leadership must realize that the country's largest political force will not disappear, its followers will not vanish, and that the most dangerous thing to do is to corner a desperate man without giving him a viable way out," writes Bassem Sabry for al-Monitor.



South Korea Delays Plans for Operational Control of Troops

Seoul requested to yet again postpone a plan that would give South Korea operational control of its own troops in the event of war (Yonhap), according to a U.S. official. South Korean critics question whether Seoul can effectively lead a war against Pyongyang with the United States playing a supporting role. The transition is currently planned for December 2015.

In this interview, CFR's Scott Snyder discusses the U.S.-South Korea relationship.

CHINA: Days after making public corruption allegations against British pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline, China said Wednesday it would step up its antigraft efforts (FT), rejecting charges that it was singling out foreign countries.


South Africans prepare to celebrate Mandela's 95th birthday

US-Russia relationship would not be harmed if Russia harboured Snowden, says Putin

 This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on