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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Violence Continues in Egypt; Obama Calls for Inclusion of Muslim Brotherhood in New Government




Despite the unrealistic hopes of the West, violent clashes in Egypt have continued. Morsi's supporters aren't letting things go without a fight.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Two days after Egypt's military replaced the country's president, it sent soldiers into the streets to quell demonstrations, as a week of tensions between Islamists and the military transformed into deadly confrontations that heightened some Egyptians' fears of civil war.  
Demonstrations turned bloody Friday as hundreds of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters turned out to protest this week's military-led ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. Muslim Brotherhood officials said police opened fire on protesters in the Cairo suburb where Mr. Morsi and 12 aides were being held under house arrest, killing five people. The military denied those allegations.  
Later in the day, armored personnel carriers arrived on the October 6 bridge, near Tahrir Square, to restore order after rival camps clashed with rocks, fireworks and, according to several witnesses, gunfire from automatic weapons.  
At least 30 people died in violence across the country, with another 1,076 injured, officials said.  
The street-level military intervention was a rare occurrence in more than two years of turmoil since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak—but it echoed a dominant Egyptian theme of Mr. Mubarak's long reign, one of a military-backed state pitted against Islamists. 
Such fears were renewed late Friday as state television confirmed the arrest of Khairat El Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood's influential second-in-command. 
Earlier Friday, the Muslim Brotherhood's leader addressed tens of thousands of supporters who gathered for "Rejection Friday" protests, urging them to continue protesting until Mr. Morsi is reinstated.  
[...]  
The military's unparalleled position in Egypt's public life is a result, in part, of the perception that it is a dispassionate defender of the country's broad public. The military made that face particularly visible in recent days, sending its jets into the sky above the fray—flying triumphal missions that left contrails in the shape of hearts, or the colors of the Egyptian flag, above Cairo.    
But in intervening directly as jilted Islamists demanded Mr. Morsi's reinstatement, the military runs the risk of being seen as siding against Islamists and vindicating many Egyptians' fears of an impending civil war.
Hard to say if a civil war is brewing-- there will certainly be more violence, but whether it will escalate to the point of being comfortably called a civil war is uncertain. What's definitely coming is years of political unrest. Egypt is in awful economic straits and has been unable to feed a large portion of its people for some time now-- a large part of why so many Egyptians demanded Morsi's ouster. No amount of violence can solve this basic problem, and Egypt is not in any position, politically nor economically, to really address this issue to a majority of Egyptians' satisfaction. The situation is dire.

Meanwhile Obama is offering useless and pithy advice and holding out hope for the Muslim Brotherhood.

From Bloomberg:

The Obama administration’s call for an “inclusive” political process in Egypt with a role for the Muslim Brotherhood has been overshadowed by deadly clashes between security forces and supporters of the Islamist group.  
[...]  
While President Barack Obama’s administration has stopped short of condemning the July 3 military takeover, it has called on Egyptian leaders to pursue “a transparent political process that is inclusive of all parties and groups,” including“avoiding any arbitrary arrests of Mursi and his supporters,”Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said July 4 in a statement.
Is it just me or does a lot of the Obama administration's public statements seem like bad corporate consultant speak? We need to further utilize the growing gap in technology industries so we can find the consumer niche that is profitable. Geez. Of course all of these power words are useless since any solution must address the economic chaos in Egypt. Of course no mention of that in any White House statement. They treat this as though it's a privileged Occupy Cairo movement. Ridiculous.

As Egypt seeks a transition to democracy, it’s hobbled by the lack of a road map to follow, according to Amy Hawthorne, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former State Department official who worked on the country’s transition after Mubarak’s ouster.  
First, the military made an arrangement with the Islamists to the exclusion of other groups in Egypt, she said.  
“Now we might see the military doing a deal with non-Islamist groups and excluding the Islamists,” Hawthorne said.“The only way Egypt is going to be able” to establish democracy “is if all groups agree on the basic rules of the game.”

Yeah... right. There's really no chance of any meaningful coalition government when Egypt itself is teetering along the brink. This talk about agreeing to the rules of the game is useless and it's not what's happening in Egypt. You might as well be talk about organizing and getting the rules down for kickball game while the Titanic seeks.

And I just love how she ignores Morsi's move to enshrine himself as dictator, and to convert the Egyptian military into an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. It's as though all of that were just perfectly reasonable actions that should have no consequences. Oh, why can't the Egyptians just get with the program and do what Obama's chosen one, Morsi, wants them to do?

These broad, generalized strokes that Hawthorne and her ilk like to paint when describing trouble spots is either willfully ignorant, or a vaudevillian attempt to say something palatable when there really isn't anything good to say. It's a slightly dressed up version of "can't we all just get along?"

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