Egypt Cancels Revolution Fete to Mourn Saudi King who derailed Revolution

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment)

In a great irony, the Egyptian government attempted to cancel the commemoration of the January 25 revolution four years ago, on the grounds that the late King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia needed to be mourned. The Saudis played a sinister behind-the-scenes role in undermining budding Egyptian attempts at democracy, and appear to be complicit in the coup against the Muslim Brotherhood government of Muhammad Morsi in 2013 (though to be fair, that government was very widely hated).

As it was, dissidents from the left and from the Muslim religious right did manage to mount rallies to protest the authoritarian turn of the current Egyptian government. The police reacted horribly, deploying live ammunition at the protesters– killing 18 and wounding 52.

National security police and plainclothesmen had a heavy presence throughout the capiteal of Cairo.

About 1,000 leftists marched in memory of secular activist Shaima al-Sabbagh, who was killed at a Talaat Harb Square rally in downtown Cairo on Saturday.

The government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has just banned protests by fiat in the absence of a parliament. It has also conducted a fierce and largely successful campaign to silence and marginalize the Muslim Brotherhood, which is being blamed for the violence in the Egyptian press. Tens of thousands of Muslim Brothers are in jail, in addition to some liberals and leftists.

Supporters of the revolution rue that two of its leaders, Ahmad Maher of the April 6 Youth Group and Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger, are in jail on charges of illegally protesting, while dictator Hosni Mubarak and his sons have been released from prison at least for the moment.

Related video:

Euronews: “Egypt: Protests to mark 2011 uprising anniversary turn deadly”

Related book:

The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East

4 Responses

  1. Sad news, but thanks for letting us know what is going on. At least U.S. aid to the military continues there.

  2. Could the $12 billion dollars Saudi Arabia has given Egypt over the past two years have anything to do with it?

  3. The regime is slowly but surely pushing itself down the tubes. Gradually, democratic political forces will want less and less to do with this tyranny and its supporters. Imagine the effect on the Tunisian Popular Front as they hear about the slaughter of members of the Egyptian Socialist Popular Alliance. Moroccan and even Algerian political parties will sour on this failed military cult. The silver lining is that Egypt will discredit military rule among those who value intellectual integrity. However, this is occurring at a hideous cost.

    It will be interesting to see what effect the Saudi succession has on the regional counterrevolution. Salman will have to worry more about solidifying his domestic position and may not follow precisely the same foreign policy as Abdullah’s government did. There is also the pressing Yemen issue which cannot be ignored. Playing the role of a regional counterrevolutionary baltegya and financier is starting to incur numerous costs.

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