World View: Hundreds of Casualties in Clashes in Egypt
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Hundreds of casualties in clashes in Egypt
- Egypt declares curfew and month-long state of emergency
- Mohamed ElBaradei resigns from Egypt's government over violence
- Egypt's chaos further muddles U.S. Mideast foreign policy
- North and South Korea agree to reopen Kaesong industrial complex
Hundreds of casualties in clashes in Egypt
Egyptian security forces clear a Muslim Brotherhood sit-in in Cairo (AP)
Egypt's Interior Ministry is saying that almost 100 people were killed
and hundreds injured in clashes between the security forces and Muslim
Brotherhood (MB) supporters on Wednesday, while MB activists put the
numbers at triple that figure. After six weeks of sit-ins by tens of
thousands of supporters, following the July 3 ouster of president
Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government, the new army-led
interim government finally carried through on its repeated threats to
"disperse" the protesters.
Others are complaining that angry mobs of MB supporters attacked and
torched a number of Christian churches, monasteries, schools and shops
in Alexandria, Suez and other cities.
MB activists are claiming that deaths were all caused by live fire by
the Army and police. The Interior Ministry says that, although almost
all MB protesters were peaceful, some fired at the police from hidden
positions, in order to provoke return fire.
Most reports point to polls that show that most of the population are
sick and tired of the MB. They got into office a year ago, governed
the country as dictators, imposing a version of Sharia law that few
wanted, while the country's economy got worse and worse. And then,
when Morsi was ousted, they refused every compromise, and created
However, the MB is still an extremely powerful force in Egypt's
politics, with some 30% of the population belonging to the
organization. Al-Ahram (Cairo)
Egypt declares curfew and month-long state of emergency
Egypt's people are quite used to living under a state of emergency.
The last one was declared in 1981 after the assassination of president
Anwar Sadat, and was not lifted until Hosni Mubarak was deposed two
years ago. Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood was an illegal
organization under Mubarak, and so the current status of its members
is familiar territory to them. In fact, probably the reason why they
went so crazy with power when Mohamed Morsi was president is that they
didn't know how to handle it.
So today's government declaration of a month-long state of emergency
is quite familiar to Egyptians. What's new today is that the
government has also imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Cairo and 10
other provinces, allowing the army to arrest and detain indefinitely
anyone who violates the curfew. Anti-government activists in Cairo
claimed police and soldiers aided by self-styled "popular committees"
of civilian vigilantes armed with clubs and machetes enforced the
curfew, searching cars and checking identity cards of people passing
through makeshift checkpoints made of tires and concrete blocks.
Mohamed ElBaradei resigns from Egypt's government over violence
Mohamed ElBaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize several years ago for
his work with the United Nations atomic energy agency, had joined the
government at the request of the Army, as a moderate-liberal-secular
voice. On Wednesday he resigned, saying:
"It has become hard for me to keep bearing
responsibility for decisions that I did not approve of and warned
against their consequences. I cannot be responsible before God
for a single drop of blood.
It was hoped that the people's uprising of 30 June would steer the
country back into the path of achieving the revolution's goals
after the dominating, exclusionary policies practiced by the
groups that ruled the country for one of its worst years. This is
what drove me to accept a government position, but things took a
different direction where polarization and division reached more
dangerous levels and the social fabric faced disintegration.
I believed that there were acceptable peaceful alternatives to
resolve our societal confrontation that could have stood a chance
at achieving national reconciliation. Violence begets violence,
and mark my words, the only beneficiaries from what happened today
are extremist groups."
Several analysts said that the interim government should simply have
allowed the sit-in to continue for as many weeks or months as they
wanted, with no need for violence. Al-Ahram
Egypt's chaos further muddles U.S. Mideast foreign policy
Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to the
State Dept.'s press briefing room on Wednesday, and read
a statement excerpted below:
"The United States strongly condemns today’s violence
and bloodshed across Egypt. It’s a serious blow to reconciliation
and the Egyptian people’s hopes for a transition towards democracy
and inclusion. ...
Today’s events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian
aspirations for peace, inclusion, and genuine democracy. Egyptians
inside and outside of the government need to take a step
back. They need to calm the situation and avoid further loss of
Violence is simply not a solution in Egypt or anywhere
This is the kind of banal silliness that we've come to expect from
Kerry, at a time when America's credibility in the Mideast is at an
all time low. Last month, Kerry announced an Afghan "peace process"
that collapsed within a day; his Mideast "peace process" is a joke;
the Administration's handling of the violence in Syria, setting one
"red line" after another, and then doing nothing when it's crossed, is
a farce; and then there's Benghazi.
Kerry's statement is being viewed with contempt in Egypt because it
say anything about the one question that everyone wants to know: Is it
the opinion of the Obama administration that the July 3 ouster was a
"coup," or not? If it was a coup, then American law requires that aid
to Egypt be terminated. Egyptians on both sides are furious with
Obama for not taking sides, though I would argue that not taking sides
is the right thing for Obama to do at this time. State Department
North and South Korea agree to reopen Kaesong industrial complex
North and South Korea agreed in principle Wednesday to reopen their
joing Kaesong industrial complex, after it was closed in April by a
temper tantrum from North Korea's child dictator, Kim Jong-un.
However, no date was set for the reopening. North Korea had wanted to
reopen Kaesong earlier, without any conditions, because it's a
lucrative source of hard currency for the North. South Korea
apparently at least got some sort of promise from the North that they
would not shut it down again "under any circumstances." At the
insistence of the South, they also agreed to allow foreign investors
to operate in Kaesong, because the South believes that the presence of
foreign companies will make it more difficult to shut it down again.
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