World View: Egypt's Army Calls for Mass Protests to Fight 'Terrorism'

World View: Egypt's Army Calls for Mass Protests to Fight 'Terrorism'

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Hamas accuses Egypt of ‘starving’ the people of Gaza
  • Egypt’s army calls for mass protests to fight ‘terrorism’
  • U.S. delays F-16s to Egypt, but continues money aid

Hamas accuses Egypt of ‘starving’ the people of Gaza

Egyptian military helicopter flying over Alexandria (Reuters)
Egyptian military helicopter flying over Alexandria (Reuters)

Hamas, the governing authority on the Gaza Strip, is accusing Egypt ofthe some of the things that it used to accuse Israel of. Hamasofficials are accusing Egypt of making the siege of Gaza worse thanever by destroying smuggling tunnels and closing the Rafah bordercrossing:

“Even [former Egyptian president] Hosni Mubarak didnot starve the Gaza Strip. By destroying the tunnels withoutproviding an alternative, the Egyptians are punishing the entirepopulation of the Gaza Strip and deepening the humanitarian andeconomic crisis.”

Over the past few days, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have reportedthat Egyptian military helicopters have been flying over parts ofGaza, as part of the massive military crackdown that’s in progress inSinai. (See “13-Jul-13 World View — Israel and Egypt cooperate against terrorists in Sinai”)

Egypt claims that Hamas has been mettling in Egypt’s affairs byencouraging Muslim Brotherhood violence, and by sponsoring terrorismin Sinai.

So Hamas is getting particularly concerned that Egypt’s Army plans totake control of Gaza. Gaza used to be part of Egypt until the 1967war with Israel, when Israel took control. In 2005, the Israelis gaveGaza to the Palestinians, and in 2008, Hamas took control of it.Jerusalem Post

Egypt’s army calls for mass protests to fight ‘terrorism’

Egypt’s Army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday called for massdemonstrations on Friday to give the military a mandate to crackdownon “violence and terrorism.” According to El-Sisi:

“I ask … that next Friday all honest and trustworthyEgyptians must come out. Why come out? They come out to give methe mandate and order that I confront violence and potentialterrorism.”

The army arrested President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, about a yearafter he and his Muslim Brotherhood party the first free presidentialelection in Egypt’s history, and about six months after Morsisuspended the constitution and gave himself dictatorial powers. Morsihas not been since in public since his arrest. Many other Brotherhoodofficials have also been arrested, and more were arrested onWednesday. About 30% of Egypt’s population belong to the MuslimBrotherhood, and since July 3, there have been huge daily protestsacross the country, demanding that Morsi be returned to thepresidency. So now the Army chief is asking for a huge anti-Morsidemonstration on Friday, to give the army a “mandate.” So it nowappears that there are going to be huge pro- and anti-Morsi rallies onFriday, with many opportunities for confrontation and violence.

Muslim Brotherhood activists are furious that El-Sisi implied thatBrotherhood members were guilty of “violence and terrorism,”especially after dozens of Brotherhood supporters have been killed bythe Army in recent weeks.

However, El-Sisi may have been referring to the Sinai, where al-Qaedalinked militants with links to some hardline Brotherhood members havebeen conducting terrorists attacks, causing Egyptian, Israeli andnearby U.S. forces to be put on alert. al-Arabiya (Dubai) and al-Ahram (Cairo)

U.S. delays F-16s to Egypt, but continues money aid

According to a Pentagon spokesman:

“Given the current situation in Egypt, we do notbelieve it is appropriate to move forward at this time with thedelivery of F-16s.”

U.S. law requires that aid to any country be terminated if the armystates a coup against a democratically elected leader. Since endingall aid to Egypt would likely be a disaster for the entire Mideast,the Administration has studiously avoided using the word “coup” todescribed what happened in Egypt. And so the $1.5 billion in aid toEgypt can continue. But Wednesday’s announcement is an attempt toappease critics in Washington and, at the same time, to send a signalto Egypt’s army to restore a “normal” government as quickly aspossible. VOA

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