Egypt’s Revocouption Part Deux: Dueling Crowds leave 30 Dead

Egypt’s combination of popular street power and military power continued to dominate the unfolding events in that country on Friday. On Wednesday, Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on the Egyptian masses to gather on Friday to “delegate” to the army the authority necessary to root out terrorism.

Al-Sisi got his wish, as enormous crowds gathered in Tahrir Square and in front of the presidential palace to show their approval of the Egyptian military. Pro-government (I mean the army-appointed transitional government) demonstrations were also held in Alexandria, the country’s second largest city, and in towns and cities all over Egypt. It seems as though he now has their delegation for a vigorous campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ominously the army announced that it was looking into bringing charges against deposed president Muhammad Morsi for alleged links to Hamas, the Palestinian party-militia that dominates Gaza. It also fostered rumors that it might decide to move against the Muslim Brotherhood crowds at Rabi`a al-Adawiya. That would be a bloodbath!

Leftist groups like April 6 and the Revolutionary Socialists refused to join, as did some left-liberal political parties, on the grounds that they wanted the military to remain out of sight in its barracks. However, their counter-demonstration was tiny.

The Muslim Brotherhood continued to demonstrate at the square in front of the Rabi`a al-Adawiya Mosque. At one point, according to journalist Bel Trew, some of them tried to assert control over October 6 Bridge, and when the army intervened to stop them, clashes broke out that left 20 dead [the estimated death toll grew substantially after I wrote this]. Earlier, clashes between al-Sisi supporters and troops, and pro-Morsi groups in Alexandria, in which som]e people died. Aside from the 6 October Bridge tragedy, some deaths also occurred in those Alexandria clashes.

Political scientist Dr. Ammar Hassan Ali, on Alarabiya, said that there were massive demonstrations in villages and small towns in favor of the army, and you had to go back to anti-British demonstrations of 1919 to find another time when rural populations were as important in the demonstrations in urban areas.

There is a severe question of whether the Egyptian military will drive the Muslim Brotherhood underground and radicalize them in a way not seen since 1948, when they were dissolved and persecuted because one of their members assassinated Mahmoud al-Nuqrashi, the sitting prime minister of the day.

12 Responses

  1. Dr. Cole, you need to update your body count. It’s 75 according the NYT an AJE.

    Moreover, the MB organized protests in almost every city. So, please don’t make them look like they couldn’t mobilize enough people since you know very that it is not true.

  2. With all due respect in Egypt does not bode well for ME. With the massacres of demonstrators and the “liberal” and radical segments condoning them I would call what is happening in Egypt a mob “democracy”.
    There is nothing sacred about millions of people taking part in rallies. It is often a mob frenzy. We saw that in Iran during 1978-79. Democracy means good governance, respect for the law, respect for the minority opinion, protection of minorities, civilian sovereignity over military, so on. This applies to a an advanced Western society as well as a third world country such as Egypt. We should hold Egyptians democrats to the same standards as we observe in the West. No white washing.
    In a sense, Mubarek was swept away by an uprising. Revolution by its definition implies dismantling of the structure of the ancien regime including its coercive wing, that is military and security forces. That did not happen in Egypt. It is an upheavel in which some classes lose power at the expense of others. That did not happen either.
    And not all revolutions bring progressives to power; witness Iran again. But Egypt’s change of regime after downfall of Mubarek seems to be only a facelift.

    • We should hold Egyptians democrats to the same standards as we observe in the West.

      OK: this long after the start of the American Revolution, the country was still in the midst of an active shooting war. It would be more than another decade before an effective, legitimate constitutional system was in place. In between, there were numerous national political crises and several armed rebellions that were put down the government and led by the generals who’d also led the revolution.

  3. For western liberals: once political Muslims are out of power, the average man will once again only have their local puppets and Western puppet masters to blame for their plight.

    Where will they turn? Political Islam!

    Had Morsi been allowed to run his course, he could have been removed electorally, and on an accelerated timeline. He agreed to that when the pressure got high enough, and the powers that be should have had the mental flexibility to accept that. It’s not as if the Army could not have left him in office as a neutered duck and simultaneously run an election. It’s likely that they could have gotten a good outcome for themselves even in a totally fair election!

    The consternation I have is to see any Western Liberal, who have had to read a tome of history or two, think that a coup would get them closer to their dreams of a better world. It gets you a Shah today, and a Khomeini tomorrow.

  4. A lot of Egyptians don’t get that the military is not their friend, and the country is doomed as long as a significant part of the population appeals to it to govern. The country is too divided to come together and agree the military should stay out of politics. Effective civilian government eludes it.

  5. I am awaiting the Western Powers to exclaim that they are going to arm the Muslim Brotherhood because the leader of Egypt is killing his own people.

    Calm

    • You will continue to wait until the body count reaches the thousands before the Western Powers consider a humanitarian intervention like that in Libya.

  6. And it will get worse. Egypt is a failed state in the making. They are paying the inevitable price for the corruption and incompetence of its various ruling classes in power since 1952.

  7. You don’t say what the massive demonstrations in small towns turned out for or against. Clarification please?

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