As the White House remains completely silent on the most recent events in Egypt – the President has not uttered as much as a peep about the Muslim Brotherhood’s thuggery against democratic protesters, raising memories of his spineless behavior during the Iranian uprising of 2009 – violence is breaking out in the streets of Cairo. According to the latest reports, Islamists are battling seculars en masse using rocks and firebombs and shotguns. Already, several top Morsi backers have resigned from his newly-minted dictatorship, fearful of the backlash from the population.
Over 350 people have been injured and four have died in these clashes, the Egyptian health ministry reports. Riot police have been unsuccessful at restoring order. Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood vehicles are moving through the chaos, calling via loudspeaker: “This is not a fight for an individual, this is not a fight for President Morsi. We are fighting for God’s law, against the secularists and liberals.”
Morsi has fled the presidential palace when secular crowds assembled there; the Muslim Brotherhood has already chased them off.
President Obama is stuck between a rock of his own making and a hard place of his own creation. The rock is the Arab Spring, which he declared a flowering of democracy, and which resulted in the election of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Obama administration’s legitimization of an Islamist regime. The hard place is the current secular protests occurring. Clearly, the United States’ best interest lies in backing the protesters. But Obama has not done so, because it would undercut his credibility on the Arab Spring, and on his acceptance of Morsi.
Several days ago, the Morsi regime told Muslim Brotherhood members to stay off the streets. This first round of fighting is just the beginning. It is unclear whether the military will weigh in – or on whose side they will weigh in. Morsi has promised them virtually unlimited power should he remain; if he does not, and they sided with him, they may see that power curbed.
One thing is certain: the violence will get worse before it gets better. And the White House still has nothing to say about it.