Syria's Assad: Morsi Ouster End of 'Political Islam'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad took time out from his busy schedule of putting down a revolution in his own country to comment on the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, saying it spells the end of "political Islam."

"What is happening in Egypt is the fall of what is called political Islam," Assad said in an interview with the state Thawra newspaper posted on his official Facebook page.

Arab League members generally expressed support for the overthrow of Morsi's government, while Islamist nations were less enthusiastic and the West didn't quite know what to say.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz was one of several heads of state who congratulated newly appointed interim President Adli Mansour.

"In the name of the people of Saudi Arabia and on my behalf, we congratulate your leadership in Egypt in this critical period in its history," he said.

Saudi Arabia has managed to put down any stirring of rebellion in the desert kingdom since the Arab Spring began more than two years ago.

Ali al-Moussawi, spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said Iraq is "looking forward to boosting bilateral relations" and is "certain the new president will move on with the new plan in holding elections and safeguarding national reconciliation," al-Jazeera reported.

Lebanon's interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati hoped "this new phase in Egypt's history will be a starting point for reforming the institutions of the state based on true democracy and the consecration of national unity," Lebanon's Daily Star reported.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan congratulated Monsour on his "prominent role in leading Egypt peacefully out of the crisis it had faced," while Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al-Nahahyan touted "the great Egyptian army."

"The great Egyptian army was able to prove again that they are the fence of Egypt and that they are the protector and strong shield that guarantee Egypt will remain a state of institutions and law," the foreign minister said.

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who recently succeeded his 61-year-old father, said, "Qatar will continue to respect the will of Egypt and its people across the spectrum."

Jordan's King Abdullah II also congratulated Mansour, saying "Jordan supports the will and choice of the great Egyptian people."

Leaders of Bahrain and Kuwait, who dispatched cables wishing Mansour good health, success and prosperity, also congratulated the interim leader.

Among the dissenting voices were Turkey, Iran, and Tunisia.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reportedly a good friend of Morsi's, and his foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, both spoke out against the military intervention.

Iran expressed its disappointment. Morsi had reinstated diplomatic ties with Iran, which were severed following the 1979 Iranian Revolution and remained so during Mubarak's 31-year reign.

Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda Party, called the takeover a "flagrant coup," saying it weakened democracy and would spawn "radicalism."

Meanwhile, both the United States and Great Britain refrained from labeling the military's takeover a "coup."

President Obama said "the long-standing partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values, and we will continue to work with the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt's transition to democracy succeeds."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, "The United Kingdom does not support military intervention as a way to resolve disputes in a democratic system."

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwell called the military's intervention "a major setback."

"This is a major setback for democracy in Egypt," Westerwell said. He called on "all sides to renounce violence," adding that Germany will watch "developments" closely before making "political decisions."

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