Students in Egypt face civil war

24 July 2013| last updated at 01:16AM

Students in Egypt face civil war

 
By JOHN TIONG | chunghoo@nst.com.my 

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BRACE FOR TROUBLE: They must reconsider decision to stay, says ambassador

SINTOK: MALAYSIAN students in Egypt have to seriously reconsider their decision to remain in the country as there is a clear risk that the current turbulence may escalate into a full-scale civil war.

Malaysian ambassador to Egypt Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Fakhrudin Abdul Mukti, who returned to Kuala Lumpur early this month, urged those studying there and those planning to do so to evaluate the situation wisely.

He said this was crucial so that they could be well prepared to face whatever eventuality.

However, Fakhrudin said Malaysians were not directly exposed to threats at present, as long as they stayed away from trouble spots such as Tahrir Square.

“The other areas are okay and life goes on as usual, but it is advisable for our students to do in-depth research on the latest situation so that they are prepared to face the political turbulence there."

Fakhrudin was speaking at a forum at Universiti Utara Malaysia on Monday. The forum, organised by UUM’s School of International Studies, was entitled “What happened in Egypt".

He said 11,000 Malaysian students were studying in various universities in Egypt, with 5,000 pursuing Islamic studies and the rest studying medicine.

At least 30 per cent of the medical students are government scholarship holders.

Egypt was dragged into political turmoil yet again when its first elected president Mohammed Morsi was removed from power by the military early this month.

This resulted in daily protests by supporters of Morsi and his party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

One of the Malaysian students, Mohd Radzi Ismail, who returned home recently, said to survive there, students needed to be “street smart". He said it was advisable to stay at home in the evenings to avoid exposure to danger.

Radzi, who studies Arabic Language at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, presented UUM students a slide show on the life of Malaysian students in Egypt.

Flares are fired as Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi clash with anti-Morsi protesters at Qasr Al Nil bridge, near Tahrir Square, Cairo, on Monday. Reuters pic

July 19, 2013

Egypt’s Mansour Gives Warning Ahead of Protests

by VOA News

 

Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour has pledged a “battle for security to the end" against those he says want to drive the country into chaos.

In a televised speech late Thursday, Mansour said Egypt is at a “decisive moment" and must be protected against those who are looking to bring “violence and bloodshed."

“I reaffirm to you all my commitment and the government’s commitment to restore security and stability in our country," Mansour said. “We will not be scared or alarmed, and we will not go easy on those who kill the innocent. We will fight a battle of security to the end, we will protect the revolution, we will build the nation and we will move forward without hesitation."

The speech came ahead of mass protests planned Friday by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who remains in secret military detention over two weeks after his removal. Anti-Morsi activists have also called for protests.

The army on Thursday warned the protesters to remain peaceful. A spokesman said those whoever resorts to violence will “endanger his life and will be treated with utmost decisiveness, within legal bounds."

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood does not recognize Mansour as president. It has refused to participate in a transition government or compete in upcoming elections to decide a new constitution, president and parliament.

Instead, the Islamist group hopes to keep up the pressure with constant sit-ins and protests against what it considers a military coup against Morsi, the country’s first freely elected leader.

Although most of the protests have remained peaceful, dozens of people have died during clashes between groups of protesters and with police.

Earlier this month, more than 50 pro-Morsi protesters and three security officers died during an incident outside a compound where the ousted president was believed to be held.

Human Rights Watch has told VOA that the general sense of lawlessness across Egypt has led to a sharp increase in sectarian attacks and human rights abuses across the country.

 2013/07/14 – 16:15 source: FNA   print

 
 Muslim Brotherhood Warns to Form Free Egyptian Army

Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimun) warned the Supreme Council of Armed Forces and the opposition political parties that it will form Egypt’s Free Army to restore its legal rights. 

 Muslim Brotherhood Warns to Form Free Egyptian Army

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – Muslim Brotherhood will form the Free Egyptian Army soon to take back its legitimate right, Muslim Brotherhood Chairman Mohammad Badie said on Sunday, the Arabic language webiste Annahar reported.
 
He said that Egyptians who support ousted President Mohammad Mursi are entitled to put their viewpoints into action to return their elected president.
 
Badie warned that Egypt will not witness tranquility and peace and the protests will continue until the materialization of the demands of Mursi’s advocates.
 
Egypt plunged into violence after the country’s army ousted President Mursi, suspended the constitution, and dissolved the parliament on July 3. The military overthrow followed days of mass protests against Mursi.
 
The army also declared chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, as interim president.
 
On Wednesday, the Egyptian Prosecutor General ordered the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leaders including the supreme leader of the group, Mohammed Badie, on charges of inciting violence.
 
Many people have been killed in violent clashes involving supporters and opponents of Mursi and security forces over the past few days, with more than 80 deaths reported on July 8 alone.

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD THREATENS CIVIL WAR IN EGYPT

On historic date marking start of Yom Kippur War against Israel, Islamists vow to retake control

Published: 4 days ago

 
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The following is an appeal from Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, director of Voice of the Copts, to the international community, in particular fellow Christians, to prevent the promised coming bloodshed in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood has made repeated public statements that on July 19th it will begin attacks against Egypt’s military compounds, military personnel, government buildings, and soft targets (houses, stores, and churches) in order to recover and secure their power over Egypt — then reinstate Mohammed Morsi as President.

 

Muslim Brotherhood official Al Baltaghy announced a few days ago from the Al Adawiya podium where supporters are still gathered demanding Morsi’s return, that Friday, Ramadan the 10th, will be the day to take back Egypt — exactly like the attempt made to liberate Sinai from Jewish occupation on this same Ramadan date back in 1973.

History is still being made in Israel today — don’t miss it. Subscribe to “Israel Today.”

From the same stage, Mohammed Hassan Hamaad, communications director of the Muslim Brotherhood, used the metaphor “second legitimate crossing,” referring to the West-East crossing of the Suez Canal by the Egyptian army on Ramadan decades earlier. Evoking history, Hamaad advocates aggression for success in returning Morsi to office. Al Baltaghy insisted, “We will not accept any kind of negotiation.”

Pathological lies from the Muslim Brotherhood leadership

Avoiding the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood leadership is entirely responsible for Egypt’s deterioration in the past year, which in turn led to their overthrow, Al Baltaghy stated, “Whoever created the mess [overthrow] will suffer the consequences.”

Foreign terrorists in Egypt ready to aid the Muslim Brotherhood

Right now, Egyptian military and police have taken custody of terrorists coming from Libya, Syria and Gaza — members of Hamas and Hezbollah arrested in many cities throughout Egypt, mostly in Cairo. Army personnel and police have confiscated their weaponry — machine guns, RPG anti-tank weapon systems, hand grenades and rockets — and Egyptian military uniforms for infiltration and to allow imposters to commit crimes and blame the army.

These facts are the substance to the statements made by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, showing their intentions are real and imminent.

Voice of the Copts appeals to world leaders

Please support the genuine cry of Egyptian people for democracy and freedom. Do not remain silent and watch Egypt become a bloody civil war like Libya and Syria. Send a strong message to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood that the free world will not tolerate religious supremacy and the violence it brings.

The collective will of Egypt’s outspoken population — free thinkers from all facets of Egyptian society — is the only avenue for Egypt. If 13 million voters chose Sharia by electing Morsi, many more stand in the streets today as proponents of Western freedoms.

2013-07-21

 
 
 

Egypt enters ‘stage similar to that of war’

 

Interim Prime Minister appeals for end to nation’s divisions, says tough measures might be needed to revive economy.

 

Middle East Online

 

‘Coming stage needs more harmony’

CAIRO – Experts begin work Sunday to amend a divisive constitution rammed through by ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, while his supporters called for intensified rallies in Cairo demanding his reinstatement.

Interim Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi appealed on Saturday for an end to the nation’s divisions and said tough measures might be needed to revive the economy.

Beblawi, an international liberal economist, called for dialogue between political parties, adding that security had to be restored to Egypt’s streets after weeks of mass protests."

“We are entering a stage similar to that of a war, to stop the bloodshed, restore economic activity and return security to the streets," Beblawi said.

“Egypt is more important to the world than we think and deserves more from us. The coming stage needs more harmony and reconciliation," he added.

Egypt’s caretaker cabinet has sought to forge ahead with an army “roadmap" for a political transition amid heightened tensions as Morsi’s Islamist supporters press on with the protests that have sparked bloody violence.

Foreign minister Nabil Fahmy launched a public relations campaign to boost the cabinet’s credibility abroad on Saturday, nearly three weeks after the military toppled Morsi.

On the domestic front, interim president Adly Mansour named a committee of four university professors and six judges to come up with a new constitution.

In the wake of the July 3 ouster of Morsi, Egypt’s new army-backed administration suspended the constitution that had been drawn up by an Islamist-dominated panel and adopted by referendum in December with a majority of 64 percent, but with a voter turnout of just 33 percent.

The experts will have 30 days to complete their task, after which their amendments will be brought before a 50-strong body representing different groups in Egyptian society, which will submit final changes to Mansour.

The caretaker president will then have 30 days to call a referendum on the new charter, paving the way for new elections.

Work also began in earnest at the weekend on boosting the new regime’s foreign relations.

Fahmy said on Saturday he would prioritise “defending the revolution abroad".

The ministry would “form a committee to follow what is published about the revolution abroad and to provide sound information," he told a news conference.

Morsi’s overthrow has received a mixed reception abroad.

The African Union has suspended Egypt’s membership, but some Gulf countries that distrusted Morsi have pledged billions of dollars in aid.

Britain has said it was revoking export licences for equipment used by Egypt’s military and police amid concerns it could be used against protesters.

Fahmy also took a more cautious tone towards the conflict in Syria than Morsi’s government did, saying Morsi’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with the war-torn country would be “re-examined".

Morsi had repeatedly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign.

“There is no intention of jihad in Syria," the former Egyptian ambassador to Washington said, in reference to calls for a holy war in Syria under Morsi’s presidency.

Fahmy was due to meet the new leader of Syria’s main opposition coalition, Ahmad Assi Jarba, on Sunday.

In a boost to the new administration, King Abdullah II of Jordan became the first foreign head of state to visit since the army ousted and detained Morsi.

King Abdullah pledged his support “for Egyptian national choices", a presidential statement said.

But Morsi’s supporters have flatly rejected the legitimacy of the interim cabinet.

They called for fresh rallies in the capital on Sunday to demand the reinstatement of Morsi, planning marches to several foreign embassies in Cairo, including that of the United States.

Supporters of Morsi, who was ousted after a single year of turbulent rule, have pressed demonstrations against the new cabinet, holding marches and protests across the country since his fall.

Thousands of Morsi loyalists have massed in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya square for about three weeks, calling for his reinstatement and denouncing General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief behind his overthrow.

They believe a sustained campaign of protests could persuade the military to restore him briefly ahead of any elections.

Although mostly peaceful, the pro-Morsi protests have resulted in deadly clashes, with the unrest claiming more than 100 lives in all, according to a tally.

Egypt risks civil war if Islamists shut out of power: AU

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Reuters 

July 18, 2013

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Egypt risks being engulfed in a civil war unless its newly installed interim government is expanded to include Islamists, the African Union warned on Thursday.

The bloc, headquartered in Addis Ababa, suspended Egypt this month after the military ousted President Mohamed Mursi on July 3 following huge street protests against his rule.

Alpha Oumar Konare, a former president of Mali appointed by the AU to lead a panel on Egypt, said the transitional authorities had not met what he said were their objectives of setting up a government that included all parties.

“The first risk (of excluding Islamists) … is making instability more acute. This instability can lead to a greater … risk of civil war, the risk of deepening violence on a daily basis," Konare told a news conference in the Ethiopian capital.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that Egypt may have avoided a civil war this month, saying this was one factor to weigh as Washington decides whether to cut most U.S. aid to Cairo, which it would be legally bound to do if it classified Mursi’s removal as a military coup.

The overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president cleared the way for this week’s installation of a new interim cabinet charged with restoring civilian rule and reviving the economy. It included no Islamists.

Thousands of Mursi’s supporters demonstrated outside the prime minister’s office and marched through Cairo on Wednesday to denounce the new military-backed administration and show that they had no intention of bowing to army dictates.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

Doing the bloody math in emerging civil war in Egypt

July 9, 2013 By  3 Comments

It appears that some members of the mainstream press are beginning to do the hard, bloody math in Egypt.

The math? This is why I have continued to point GetReligion readers toward that 2011 poll of Egyptian voters by the Pew Research Center.

You do the math and it’s hard to escape the fact that civil war, or a military government, will be impossible to avoid in this escalating conflict. In other words, the secular, Western-friendly Cairo elites who are so close to the major Western newsrooms do not represent the vast majority of the Egyptian people.

Yes, religious beliefs and practices are the key. Yes, conflicting versions of Sharia and Islam and the rights of religious minorities are at the heart of this. The other day, I stated the equation this way:

We are back to an old, old question: Is it possible, in a land in which the majority of voters hunger for Islamic law, to defend the rights of religious minorities and secular liberals without the help of a military that is willing to oppress and jail Islamists?

As is his style, the Canadian provocateur Mark Steyn bluntly raised the same issue, in the kind of language that used to considered liberal, but now is considered conservative:

In the 2011 parliamentary elections, three-quarters of the vote went to either the Muslim Brotherhood or their principal rivals, the Even More Muslim Brotherhood. So, statistically speaking, a fair few of the “broad-based coalition” joining the Coptic Christians and urban secularists out on the streets are former Morsi guys. Are they suddenly Swedish-style social democrats? Human Rights Watch reports that almost 100 women were subjected to violent sexual assault over four days in Tahrir Square, which suggests not.

So what does this look like in print in a major American newspaper?

I have been paying close attention to The Los Angeles Times, in recent weeks, so let’s hit the latest daily report in those cyber pages. Is anyone surprised that the military is firing live bullets and it is hard to figure out who attacked who first?

 

Stunned but not deterred by the violence, the Islamists quickly called for a national uprising.

“We are very patient. We Egyptians built the pyramids,” said Essam Erian, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing. “Do you know how many people died building the pyramids? How many died digging the Suez Canal?”

The two sides’ differing views of the violence were a chilling suggestion of what Egypt may yet endure. The military crackdown has been fierce and swift. But the army so far has been unable to patch together a coalition government to replace Morsi and the Brotherhood. Without it, critics say, the army resorted to excessive force — as it did two years ago when it stepped in after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

The army’s actions early Monday may also have nudged two Islamic adversaries — the Brotherhood and the ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party — closer together.

And here comes the hint at the hard numbers:

Nour, which won 25% of the vote in last year’s parliamentary elections, plays a pivotal role. It sided against the Brotherhood last week and joined a coalition of secular and religious parties in favor of ousting Morsi. But it balked at the naming of prominent secularist Mohamed ElBaradei as prime minister Saturday.

Facing increasing pressure from the Islamist camp after the killings, Nour withdrew from the negotiations on forming an interim government. The move is likely to consolidate Islamist forces and damage efforts to stabilize the country.

So 25 percent plus the majority Muslim Brotherhood equals?

So what should journalists be doing at this point? My advice is to think like human-rights liberals.

Of course, the military abuses against the Islamist majority must be covered. That is the breaking story, one front in what could be a civil war or, at the very least, a rising tide of suicide bombings.

But there may be other breaking stories linked to the other side of the equation — which is the treatment of oppressed religious minorities. If you know anything about modern Egypt, you know that when the military attacks radical Islamists, the radicals often attack Coptic Christians, Protestants, Jews, Westerners, etc.

So remember this name of a new minority-faith martyr — Father Mina Aloud Sharween (photo). Journalists need to think like classical liberals and look for the human-rights violations that are so often linked to life under military governments.

But in this case, there will be violations against religious minorities as well as the outraged majority. The military hits the Islamists, the Islamists hit the minorities that are linked — in the minds of many outraged Egyptians — with the West.

Let me state my question again:

Is it possible, in a land in which the majority of voters hunger for Islamic law, to defend the rights of religious minorities and secular liberals without the help of a military that is willing to oppress and jail Islamists?

Cover both sides of that equation.

Egypt bombing injured twelve, a step ahead into bloody civil war

By Eko Armunanto

Jul 23, 2013 – 32 mins ago in World
 
 
 
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Unknown assailants threw a bomb early Wednesday from a passing car in Mansoura, the capital of Dakhalia province, after a day of clashes between opponents and Islamist supporters of Egypt’s deposed president, Mohamed Mursi, killed nine people in Cairo.

 
At least 5 Egyptian police officers were among those injured, two security sources told Reuters. Muslim Brotherhood accuses the army of orchestrating a coup that has exposed deep political divisions in the Arab world’s most populous and influential nation. The Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing at the Muslim Brotherhood which has been at odds with Egypt’s leadership since the ouster of then President Mohamed Morsy, issued a state early Wednesday critical of the bombing.

 

“The Freedom and Justice Party condemns violence in all its forms including the bombing in Mansoura. Our agenda is peaceful and we do not accept any attacks," the party said in a statement.

 

Police officials exchanged gunfire with unidentified people inside a nearby abandoned building afterward. No further details were immediately available. Presidential spokesman Ahmad al-Muslimani released a statement calling the incident an act of terrorism.

 

“The Mansoura terrorist incident will not waver Egypt’s resolve," he said. “Egypt has triumphed in the war against terrorism before and will win again today."

 

The violence is the latest to hit the volatile Middle Eastern nation in recent months, said CNN, which began with mass protests opposing Morsy and then took a turn when military leaders forced him out of power. Dozens have been reported killed and thousands injured since his ouster, some of them in confrontations with authorities and others in clashes with those on the other side of the political spectrum.

 

Running street battles that began before dawn on Tuesday were among the most intense since the crisis began on July 3. Security officials said the fighting turned deadly after masked gunmen appeared and started shooting at the Morsi supporters with live ammunition and birdshot. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information, had no word on the identity of the gunmen.

 

Previous attacks in Sinai and Suez Canal by unidentified militants after what the Brotherhood calls “military coup" had led to a state of “high alert" earlier this week declared by General Osama Askar, the Commander of the Third Field Army based in Suez.

Friday, 12 Jul, 2013
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Egypt: Sinai unrest spiraling out of control

Army spokesman says terrorist attacks seek to undermine Egyptian national unit

Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi are seen through an Islamist flag as they chant slogans during a rally near the University of Cairo, Giza, Egypt, Friday, July 5, 2013.

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—The security situation in the Sinai Peninsula has deteriorated even further following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, with a series of terrorist attacks being carried out by suspected Islamist militants.

Egyptian army spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali stressed that “terrorists have escalated their planned operations against the police and armed forces in the Sinai over the last few days. Their aim is to spread chaos and undermine Egyptian national security.”

Unknown gunmen in northern Sinai attempted to assassinate the commander of the Second Field Army, Gen. Ahmed Wasfy, late Wednesday. A bystander was killed in an exchange of fire between the gunmen and the convoy guarding the senior military official. One of the assailants was reportedly captured, while the others escaped. Wasfy was not hurt in the clashes.

While Egyptian security officials reported on Friday that suspected Islamist militants attacked a police checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula, killing one officer. The attack happened south of the city of El-Arish, and saw militants reportedly firing a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at an armored car at the checkpoint, killing a 40-year-old Lieutenant Colonel. The attack also wounded a policeman who was taken to hospital and is reported to be in critical condition.

An Egyptian Central Security Forces (CSF) soldier was killed on Thursday, reportedly by smugglers. A security source in North Sinai revealed that the soldier was killed after smugglers shot him when he attempted to stop them south of the Rafah land crossing and Karm Abu Salem crossing.

Elsewhere, an Egyptian border guard and five soldiers were injured when a jeep they were riding in overturned while they were chasing a group of armed militants in central Sinai.

Egyptian authorities abruptly shut down the Rafah border crossing—the only border crossing not controlled by Israel—on July 5 in response to the intensification of unrest on the Sinai Peninsula following Mursi’s ouster. Egypt reopened the border crossing on Wednesday, July 10.

The Sinai Peninsula, near Egypt’s border with Israel, has suffered from a lack of security since the January 25 revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Criminal elements and others have sought to take advantage of the security vacuum on the strategically important peninsula to attack police stations and security convoys, and to escalate smuggling operations. Unrest on the Sinai Peninsula only intensified following Mursi’s ouster.

As soon as the military announced the Islamist president’s ouster and the transitional roadmap, Islamists took to the streets across the Sinai Peninsula to protest the “coup.” Armed Islamists also appeared on the scene to guard the protesters, some of whom were reportedly waving the black flags of the Tawhid wal Jihad group, which claims to be an Al-Qaeda affiliate.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood condemned the assassination attempt targeting Egypt’s Sinai military commander and rejected all acts of terrorism. In a statement released Thursday, the group said that the Muslim Brotherhood “does not depart from its principles, especially peaceful principles. This is not a matter of politics or activism, but is based on the principles of religion and legitimacy.”

The statement called for “the continuation of peaceful resistance against the bloody military coup” on the grounds of “constitutional legitimacy,” in reference to the ousted president Mohamed Mursi. “We are confident that the peaceful will of the people will prevail over force, oppression and injustice, attempts to obscure the facts, lies and fabrications, and military dictatorship,” the statement added.

Hussein Ibrahim, the general secretary of the Freedom and Justice Party—the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood—stressed that “The [Freedom and Justice] party strongly and categorically rejects any use of violence to express the rejection of the military coup.”

“Our peaceful resistance of the military coup . . . will be victorious in restoring freedom,” Ibrahim added.

23 July 2013

Egypt: Security forces abandon Coptic Christians during deadly attack in Luxor

On 5 July 2013, four Coptic Christian men were killed by local residents in the Nagah Hassan district of Dab’iya village, some 18 kilometres west of Luxor.

On 5 July 2013, four Coptic Christian men were killed by local residents in the Nagah Hassan district of Dab’iya village, some 18 kilometres west of Luxor.

© Amnesty International

It is outrageous that this attack was left to escalate unhindered in this way. Amnesty International has documented a series of cases in the past where Egypt’s security forces used unnecessary force or live fire during demonstrations, yet in this case they held back even though people’s lives were threatened

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme
Tue, 23/07/2013
 

Security forces stood by and failed to intervene during a brutal attack on Coptic Christians in Luxor, Amnesty International said in a briefing published today. During the sectarian violence, security forces left six besieged men –four of whom were then killed and one hospitalized – to the mercy of an angry crowd.

In an attack lasting 18 hours on 5 July, four Coptic Christian men were killed and four others were seriously injured. An angry mob armed with metal bars, knives, tree branches and hammers attacked Christian homes and businesses in Nagah Hassan, 18 km west of Luxor, after the dead body of a Muslim man was discovered near the homes of Christian families. Despite local residents’ and religious leaders’ repeated calls for help, security forces on the scene made only half-hearted attempts to end the violence and sufficient reinforcements failed to arrive.

“It is outrageous that this attack was left to escalate unhindered in this way. Amnesty International has documented a series of cases in the past where Egypt’s security forces used unnecessary force or live fire during demonstrations, yet in this case they held back even though people’s lives were threatened,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“A thorough, impartial and independent investigation must be conducted into the events in Luxor and the grossly inadequate response of the security forces to the attack.”

The violence began at 3am, shortly after the Muslim man was found dead in the vicinity of Christian homes. His family blamed the death on a local Coptic Christian. By mid-day more than 100 Christian homes had been attacked, with scores of them looted or torched. Local residents reported calling the police and army’s hotlines throughout the day in vain. Local religious leaders also approached other security officials.

“The attack went on for 18 hours, and there was not a door on which I did not knock: police, army, local leaders, the Central Security Forces, the Governorate. Nothing was done,” said Father Barsilious, a local priest from Dab’iya.

In one incident, security forces evacuated women and children trapped inside a house surrounded by an angry mob but left six men behind, apparently following demands from the crowd that the men remain. Four of the abandoned men were later stabbed and/or beaten to death and another required hospital treatment. Three other Christian men were hospitalized in separate violent incidents. One woman said she had begged police officers to save her sons who were left behind, but they ignored her pleas:

“I kissed the police officer’s hands and legs and begged him to protect my two sons and take them out… he completely ignored me and said he would only take women and children…. I buried my two sons in one day,” she said.

Other female relatives said they had given men their abayas (gowns) to try to disguise them as women so that they could escape.

Discrimination against Coptic Christians has been prevalent in Egypt for decades. Under President Hosni Mubarak at least 15 major attacks on Copts were documented. Sectarian violence continued under the Supreme Council of Armed Forces and following the election of President Mohamed Morsi. At least six attacks on Coptic churches or buildings took place in 2013 during the final months of deposed President Mohamed Morsi’s administration.

Investigations by the Luxor prosecution are ongoing. At least 18 men remain detained on charges of murder, attempted murder, destruction of property and ‘thuggery’, amid reports that some were beaten by security forces upon arrest.

“The continued sectarian violence in Egypt is an irremovable stain on the record of successive governments which have repeatedly failed to end attacks on minorities. Immediate steps must be taken to ensure the safety of Coptic Christians and other minorities,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“The latest attacks will test the new Egyptian authorities’ political will and their ability to break the pattern of inaction and injustice once and for all.”

Egypt Christians Under Attack After Mursi Ouster, HRW Say

By Ben Holland – Jul 23, 2013 5:10 PM GMT+0800

Christians in Egypt have been attacked several times since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, Human Rights Watch said, calling for a government investigation.

The worst incident occurred on July 5 when four Christians were beaten to death by a mob in a village near Luxor in southern Egypt, while police failed to intervene during 17 hours of violence, the New York-based group said in a report published today. It cited at least six attacks on Christians across the country since the military’s July 3 intervention.

“Authorities in Egypt should ensure that prosecutors promptly and impartially investigate allegations of sectarian violence,” HRW said. “Police officers who fail to act appropriately should be held to account.”

Christian and secular groups joined a wave of street protests that led up to Mursi’s overthrow by the army, calling for his removal on the grounds he was seeking to consolidate Islamist control of the country. Leading Christian clerics endorsed the army’s action.

Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood has refused to join the interim government installed by the military, and has held daily protests to demand his restoration. They have frequently escalated into violent clashes with Brotherhood opponents or security forces.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Holland in Istanbul at bholland1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

Divided Egypt Putting Christians in the Crosshairs

By Gary Lane

CBN News Senior International Reporter
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
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Protests and rallies are taking place in Egypt almost daily now, weeks after Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was removed from office.

Morsi supporters have taken to the streets, demanding the Muslim Brotherhood leader be reinstated to the presidency.

“I’m saying to Major General Sissi, you betrayed us and carried out the coup. But God will punish you if you are not implementing his rules," Morsi supporter Mohammed Abdul Mageed said.

Meanwhile, even larger numbers of anti-Muslim Brotherhood protestors also held rallies.

For more insight on Islam, check out Ibrahim’s blog on CBN News,Ibrahim: Islam Unveiled.

“I am representing the majority of the Egyptians," anti-Brotherhood demonstrator Manal Helmy said. “I am proving to the world that this is not a coup; it’s a real revolution and the military is doing what we asked them to do."

Newly appointed President Adli Mansour says all Egyptians must work together for peace. He issued a warning to those who threaten stability.

“We will firmly punish those who kill innocents," he warned.

As the death and injury tolls continue to rise, many wonder if rival factions are headed for a showdown.

“I foresee based on precedent, civil war," author Raymond Ibrahim predicted last April.
  
In his book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, Ibrahim says Christians will be targeted for attack and their very existence threatened.

Ibrahim talks more about his book and why Morsi’s ouster could prove perilous for Christians. on “The 700 Club," July 24. Check your local listings or check CBNNews.com after 10 a.m. ET for the interview.

Egypt militant attacks kill 5 in main northern Sinai city

Protesters in Cairo take to the streets to protest the deaths of 3 women

The Associated Press 

Posted: Jul 21, 2013 9:47 PM ET 

Last Updated: Jul 22, 2013 10:25 AM ET

   
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A supporter of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi chants slogans during a demonstration outside the Defence Ministry in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday. A supporter of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi chants slogans during a demonstration outside the Defence Ministry in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)

Co-ordinated day and nighttime attacks Sunday by emboldened militants in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula targeted different areas in the main city of el-Arish and a border town, killing one civilian and four security officers, according to officials.

The pace of attacks on the police and military in northern Sinai has intensified since the July 3 ouster of president Mohammed Morsi from power, but assaults have largely been confined to desolate desert areas of the region.

Sunday’s assault was significant in that it struck in the heart of el-Arish and killed a 32-year-old man driving his car in the most populated city in northern Sinai, which is also its provincial capital. The city is home to about 150,000 people.

For militants in Sinai, however, restoring Morsi is not the priority — they have said their goal is to drive out the military and the authority of the central government in order to create an “Islamic Emirate." Morsi’s ouster by the military, though, took away a leader seen as reining in security crackdowns.

The attacks Sunday highlighted the security crisis Egypt’s military-backed interim leaders face in restoring stability after more than two years of turmoil since the popular uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The northern part of Sinai has been the most lawless corner of the country since then. Police stations have been torched and security forces kicked out of tribal areas, where they were notorious for abuses against the powerful tribes of the region.

Gun battle at police station

In the nighttime attacks Sunday, security officials said militants fired automatic weapons at a police club, a police station and a security post outside a bank in the centre of el-Arish.

A 25-year-old woman walking in the street near the bank was struck by a bullet and seriously wounded. A soldier outside the bank was killed in the clash, officials said. The bank is on a main square in el-Arish.

Officials said a gun battle raged for several minutes between militants and security forces at the police station. A male driver was killed outside the station when a bullet hit him.

‘Anybody who will take to the streets in the future, the army will unleash their thugs against them.’—Nagah Thabit, housewife

Also at night, a police camp in the city of Rafah on the Egypt-Gaza border came under attack by militants, who fired rocket-propelled grenades at the building, wounding four civilians and six soldiers protecting the site.

Earlier in the day, three policemen were killed by sniper fire in another co-ordinated attack while guarding an administrative building, a TV station and the police station in el-Arish, according to a security official. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Sunday’s deaths push to 14 the number of policemen and soldiers killed in Sinai since Morsi’s ouster. At least four civilians have been killed, including one woman and two Christians.

Also, a Christian ambulance worker was stabbed and wounded Sunday in northern Sinai when a man spotted a tattoo of a cross on his wrist, a trademark of many Coptic Christians in Egypt, security officials said.

Constitutional amendments

In Cairo, military-backed civilian leaders forged ahead with a fast-track transition plan aimed at bringing the country back to democratic rule.

A panel tasked with amending Egypt’s constitution began its work Sunday in the face of opposition from Morsi’s supporters who denounce the military coup that overthrew the Islamist leader and reject the new political order that has replaced him.

The new 10-member-panel of legal experts and senior judges met for the first time to begin drawing up proposed amendments to the constitution. The panel has 30 days to do so. A second 50-member committee then will have 60 days to review those amendments before citizens vote on the new constitution in a referendum.

The drafting of the constitution that will be amended was one of the most divisive issues of Morsi’s one and only year in office.

His Muslim Brotherhood and their Islamist allies have vowed to stage daily rallies until he is reinstated, saying his ouster was unconstitutional. They rallied outside military buildings in Cairo and the southern cities of Luxor and Assiut on Sunday.

U.S. meddling in affairs

Protesters in Cairo took to the streets to also protest the deaths of three women killed by unidentified assailants at a Brotherhood rally in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura Friday. Egypt’s prosecutor general opened an investigation and top figures of the new leadership have condemned the killings.

“What happened in Mansoura will happen again in the future," said 35-year-old housewife Nagah Thabit, who was among the protesters out on the streets in support of Morsi on Sunday. “Anybody who will take to the streets in the future, the army will unleash their thugs against them."

Members of all political factions in Egypt accuse the United States of meddling in the country’s affairs, usually on behalf of their rivals.

Since overthrowing Morsi, security forces have launched a crackdown against the Brotherhood and some of their staunchest supporters. Prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for the group’s leaders for allegedly instigating violence. Morsi himself has been held incommunicado since July 3.

The prosecutor general’s office said he has not yet been charged, according to a state TV broadcast Sunday evening.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood scoffs at reconciliation

The Muslim Brotherhood remains defiant, convening parliamentary bodies dissolved by the Egyptian military weeks ago.

By , Correspondent / July 23, 2013

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans and close the roads during a protest in downtown Cairo, Monday, July 22, 2013.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Enlarge

 

CAIRO

Behind the mosque that has become the focal point of the Muslim Brotherhood’s protests, members of a dissolved parliamentary body convened yesterday to do business. 

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The speaker sat at a table covered with blue cloth, next to an Egyptian flag and underneath a banner reading “Shura Council,” the name of the upper house of parliament that held legislative power under formerPresident Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted by the military on July 3. Former legislators crammed into crowded rows and adopted resolutions rejectingEgypt‘s military coup and the decisions of the interim government.

The symbolic session took place as the new interim government forged ahead. The Ministry of Supply is importing wheat to shore up Egypt’s dwindling supply for subsidized bread and the committee formed by the interim president to draft amendments to the constitution began its work Sunday.

As the military and Muslim Brotherhood square off, violence is rising. Nine people died overnight in clashes, most in Cairo. About 100 people have died since Morsi was ousted on July 3.  

Brotherhood leaders say they will continue to protest until Morsi is reinstated – even if only long enough to call early presidential elections. Until then, they will not recognize or participate in the political process, they insist.

“Our long term strategy is patience. We are not in a hurry,” says Amr Darrag, a senior Brotherhood member and a minister in Morsi’s government. “What else can we do? Do we wait till we are all put in jail and our parties are shut down and we are completely removed from political life?”

Clinging to Morsi

Egypt’s military – the force behind all presidents since 1952 except Morsi – stepped in to remove Egypt’s first freely-elected leader after millions, frustrated over Morsi’s autocratic ruling style and failure to solve Egypt’s many crises, took to the streets on June 30 to call for early presidential elections.

Army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi suspended the constitution and appointed the head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, as interim president. Mr. Mansour formed a cabinet and released a constitutional declaration laying out a timeline for a transition back to elected leaders, stipulating that after the constitution is amended, parliamentary and presidential elections will be held.

Meanwhile, authorities arrested top leaders of the Brotherhood and issued arrest warrants for others. Hundreds of low-level Brotherhood members have also been arrested, though some have been released. On July 8, military and police fired on a crowd of pro-Morsi demonstrators, killing 54.

Brotherhood leaders have remained defiant, staging large protests throughout Egypt and maintaining a sit-in at Rabaa El Adawiya mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City neighborhood. Publicly, they say they refuse any negotiations to end the standoff until the military agrees to reinstate Morsi, at which point, they say, “everything” will be up for negotiation.

“The solution has to abide by the democratic standards, has to restore legitimacy, and after that we will be open to discuss anything and we can accept anything that would save the country, but under the umbrella of legitimacy not under the umbrella of a military coup,” says Dr. Darrag, the Brotherhood member and former government minister.

“We are not saying that the president should come and should finish his term. We are saying that he should come back as a symbol of legitimacy and then anything can be discussed.”  The Brothers also insist that their movement is growing, as more Egyptians join the protests against the military’s coup d’etat. “There are millions in the streets and they are increasing. And everyone has to acknowledge this,” says Darrag.

Any hope for reconciliation?

Yet outside Rabaa el Adawiya square many Egyptians in Cairo refer to Brotherhood members as “terrorists” and say there is no need for the group to participate in public life. 

Khalil Al Anani, an expert on the Brotherhood at Durham University in Britain who is currently in Cairo, says a negotiated solution to bring Egypt’s most organized group back into political life would be possible if there was an incentive, but that Brotherhood leaders only feel threatened so far. 

“If they found that the military is really genuine in offering them assurances about their future, they would accept to negotiate,” says Anani. “However, they believe the military is intending to uproot them, and eradicate them. .. that’s why the MB doesn’t trust the military so far. If the Brotherhood feels that there are genuine guarantees about their future, they would negotiate even if Morsi would not be reinstated.”

Brotherhood leaders are now under growing pressure from members to hold firm. Many of the protesters at the sit-in say they will not leave until Morsi is restored to the presidency and say they are prepared to sacrifice their lives for that goal.

Morsi himself has been detained and incommunicado since July 3. His family decried the illegal detention yesterday in a press conference, saying he had not been heard from since the military took him into custody along with this top aides. The military says he is being held for his own safety and refuses to disclose his location. 

In a speech delivered last night, interim president Mansour called for reconciliation and an end to hate and division. “Now is the time to build our nation,” he said.

Presidential advisor Mostafa Higazy said Mansour would begin a process of reconciliation and transitional justice on Wednesday, and that the president had invited Brotherhood leaders to participate, but also said Brotherhood leaders must be held accountable for their crimes.

He said some, including Brotherhood leaders, have incited violence from the protest in Rabaa El Adawia.

“People calling for killing, people calling for terror, people calling for intimidating and maybe attacking military establishments — and at the end of the day you can’t say those are not legally punishable actions,” he said.

 2013-07-23

 
 
 

Brotherhood seeks to sabotage Egypt transition with more blood on streets

 

As violence billows, interim president appeals for ‘new page in book of history of nation, without rancour, hatred and confrontation.’

 

Middle East Online

 

Unrest claims more than 100 lives in all

CAIRO – Clashes between supporters and opponents of the deposed Islamist president left 10 people dead as pressure grew on Egypt’s new leaders to release Mohamed Morsi from detention.

The deadly clashes which also wounded dozens broke out on Monday, raged through the night and were continuing on Tuesday, a day after Morsi’s family vowed to sue the military over his ouster.

At least six people were killed early Tuesday when opponents of Morsi attacked supporters of the deposed president who were staging a sit-in near Cairo University, state media reported.

Morsi’s family told a news conference on Monday they will take legal action against the military for having “kidnapped" the elected president after he was deposed in a military-led coup on July 3.

Egypt’s new leadership says Morsi is in a “safe" place for his own good.

Calls for Morsi to be released have also been issued by the United States, Germany, the United Nations and the European Union which, on Monday, again called for the Islamist leader to be freed.

“It is now of utmost importance that Egypt embarks on a transition, allowing a transfer of power to a civilian-led and democratically elected government," EU foreign ministers said in a statement.

They listed demands, including “the release of all political detainees, including Mohamed Morsi" — reiterating remarks EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton made last week in Cairo.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement has also vowed to sustain protests until his reinstatement and refuse to recognise the interim government installed by the military ahead of new elections early next year.

Tuesday’s violence came a day after Morsi’s supporters marched on the US embassy, setting off a gunfight with opponents in the nearby Tahrir Square that killed one protester.

Later in Qalyub, north of Cairo, street battles killed three people, one of them run over by a train as he tried to escape the violence.

As violence billowed, interim president Adly Mansour appealed in a late Monday speech for a “new page in the book of the history of the nation, without rancour, hatred and confrontation."

But Morsi’s detention, and subsequent arrests of senior Brotherhood leaders, have hardened his supporters against dealing with the new regime.

His daughter Shaimaa Mohamed Morsi told reporters on Monday that the family would sue army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and also take legal action outside Egypt.

“We are taking local and international legal measures against Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the leader of the bloody military coup, and his putschist group," she said.

Morsi’s son Osama said the family had not heard from him since his overthrow. “None of us has had any contact with our father since the afternoon of the coup on July 3," he told reporters.

Earlier this month the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, summoned Egypt’s ambassador to Geneva and wrote the new authorities in Cairo demanding explanations over Morsi’s arrest.

Her spokesman said Pillay specifically requested a list of people arrested in connection with the events of July 3 and beyond, and if they are still in custody and on what legal basis.

Members of the now dissolved upper house of parliament, which had been dominated by Islamists, held a defiant meeting in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.

Chanting “Sisi killer," and anti-police slogans, demonstrators also hung pictures of the ousted president on the gates of the public prosecutor’s office on Monday.

Although mostly peaceful, the pro-Morsi protests have resulted in deadly clashes, with the unrest claiming more than 100 lives in all, according to a tally.

In the bloodiest single incident, at least 53 people died, mostly Morsi supporters, during clashes with soldiers outside the elite military barracks where they believed Morsi was being held.

Violence has also swept the restive Sinai Peninsula, where militants have stepped up deadly attacks on security forces since Morsi’s ouster, including one on Monday that killed a police officer and a civilian.

Egypt: National Salvation Front – Brotherhood Practices Are Criminal

23 JULY 2013

The National Salvation Front has asked the authorities to protect peaceful protesters, but take the necessary legal action against armed attacks and criminal acts.

The NSF condemned what it described as the Muslim Brotherhood’s continuous attacks on peaceful protesters in Cairo and other governorates for the past three weeks and urged the authorities to prosecute the perpetrators.

It added that the reaction of President Mohamed Mursi’s supporters to his ouster has been well outside of the law and described their actions as “criminal", urging that they be brought to justice.

It reaffirmed however its keenness on the right to protest and assemble peacefully.

The front, which was formed under the administration of Islamist president Mursi, groups forces that were opposed to his government.

Muslim Brotherhood militants stage attacks in Egypt (Video)

Political Buzz newsletter

Muslim Brotherhood militants are staging attacks today against rallies for pro-democracy supporters in several locations near Alexandria, Egypt, as reported by Mohamed Y. Saad Zaghloul, who is a representative of the Democratic Front Party, a party that is part of acoalition of 22 secular parties involved in the political process in Egypt.

 
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Zaghloul said Muslim Brotherhood (MB) forces are shooting at member of the coalition in Douqi, Mansorah, Mohandesin, and Alexandria. During the interview for this story, he said, “An attack on the police GHQ in Alexandria is taking place as we speak. They are attacking the city police commissioner.”

 A picture of Mohamed Morsi is viewed at a pro-Morsi rally near where over 50 were purported to have been killed yesterday by members of the Egyptian military and police in early morning clashes on July 9, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt.
A picture of Mohamed Morsi is viewed at a pro-Morsi rally near where over 50 were purported to have been killed yesterday by members of the Egyptian military and police in early morning clashes on July 9, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt.
Photo credit:  
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Zaghloul issued a statement about the attacks, “The brotherhood in a (escalation) of violence against the people of Egypt has attacked peaceful rallies, pedestrians, and law enforcement officers in three different cities simultaneously and we urge the international community and all fellow human beings to stop the atrocities being committed against my people by the brotherhood.”

Zaghloul reports he has, “Seen law enforcement officers held at gun point and detained as hostages by the MB by eye witness statement.”

He also reported, that he had, “received news that the Cairo police commissioner was kidnaped and held hostage by the MB.There are attacks on various police stations and the residents have started to ask for help.”

Zaghloul described his background in politics in Egypt, saying, “When it comes to campaign management I am a professional so I have done work with multiple secular candidates such as El Baradei, Bothaina Kamel, and Hamdeen Sabahi. My first choice was Baradei but he decided not to run in a less than transparent political process that even people who ran the election committee now describe it as an unfair election forced on them by the MB/Hamas pressure and threats.”

He holds the title of President of the DFP Youth Organization with the Democratic Front Party.

Update as of 11:26 EST: Zaghloul reports, “Reports of Rocket attacks in the Sinai targeting law enforcement facilities and multiple precincts." It is believed Hamas is likely party behind these rocket attacks. Also, 16 dead and 60 injured across Egypt during the first hour of the attacks.

Why the Muslim Brotherhood can’t back down

By Fawaz Gerges, Special to CNN
July 22, 2013 — Updated 1635 GMT (0035 HKT)
Thousands of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi demonstrate for his reinstatement on July 17, 2013 in Cairo.
Thousands of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi demonstrate for his reinstatement on July 17, 2013 in Cairo.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gerges says there is a real danger of further polarization and escalation in Egypt
  • The interim authority has obtained de facto legitimation and recognition, he says
  • He argues there will be no institutionalization of democracy without the Brotherhood
 

Editor’s note: Fawaz A. Gerges a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics where he directs the Middle East Centre. His most recent book is “The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda."

(CNN) — More than a week after the Egyptian military ousted the Islamist-led presidency of Mohamed Morsy, the Muslim Brothers, from which Morsy hails, continue to mobilize their followers on the streets and demand the reinstatement of Morsy.

Far from backing down, the Islamist organization has pledged to resist what it has called a “fascist coup," and has rejected any dialogue with the transitional government that does not restore the popularly elected Morsy.

Opinion: Egypt’s secularists repeating Islamists’ mistakes

For the military, the Brotherhood’s demand is a non-starter, and both camps and their supporters face a deadlock that can now only be broken through either a political compromise or an all-out confrontation.

Fawaz Gerges
Fawaz Gerges

There is a real danger of further polarization and escalation in Egypt, where the writing is already on the wall with the arrest of Morsy and the demonization of the Brotherhood by the Egyptian media and elements of the secular-leaning opposition.

Analysis: Will Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood survive?

The interim authorities are clamping down on the Brothers, accusing senior leaders of inciting violence while arresting eight of its top figures, including the group’s most influential leader, Khairat al-Shater, and the former speaker of parliament. Prosecutors have also issued another arrest warrant for the Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, and four others.

Human rights organizations have criticized the government’s clampdown on the Brotherhood’s television channel and others channels sympathetic to the group, as well as the deaths of dozens of protesters in recent weeks.

 

Egypt dangerously divided

 

Dueling demonstrations in Egypt

 

Egypt’s future

 

Protests, tensions fill Cairo’s streets

CNN Explains: What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

The Muslim Brothers cannot politically afford to climb down because that would be an acknowledgment of their defeat and probably cause cleavages within their social base. So instead they will continue to peacefully resist and flex their muscle and exert pressure on the country’s interim rulers. The goal is to force the military-led authority to come to terms with the Muslim Brothers and stop persecuting them. “The goal of our peaceful mass rallies and peaceful sit-ins in squares across Egypt is to force the coup plotters to reverse their action," Essam el-Erian, acting head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said on his Facebook page.

If history is our guide, in the short and midterm, Islamist leaders will prioritize unity and solidarity of the organization. The Muslim Brothers have already begun to mobilize tens thousands of followers, a task made easier by a strongly-held belief that the Islamists are defending constitutional legitimacy against military putschists.

Opinion: Overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood leader ‘has international reverberations’

As one of the most powerfully organized social and political movements in Egypt and the region, the Brotherhood can rely on its power base, which represents between 20 to 30 percent of the electorate, to remain a force to be reckoned with either at the ballot box or in the streets. In the eyes of the Brotherhood leadership, conceding defeat would harm the base and fracture it. The advantages of resistance outweigh any potential disadvantages; the 85-year old Islamist organization is better equipped to endure repression by the post-Mubarak military than internal dissention and fragmentation.

It is worth remembering that mainstream Islamists of the Brotherhood variety have survived decades of persecution, incarceration, and exile by military-led authoritarian regimes — and they will most likely weather the latest coup that has swept away Morsy.

Despite concerted efforts in the last six decades by secular strongmen like the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to weaken and isolate their religious rivals, the Islamists’ close-knit networks and “asabiya" (group loyalty) have allowed them to withstand the brutal onslaught of secular authorities and grow their organization.

 

Future for anti-Morsy movement

 

Egypt’s economic road ahead

 

U.S. diplomats in Egypt amid protests

 

Egypt: What now?

Opinion: Egyptians are fed up with Morsy

In my interviews with the Islamist rank-and-file over the past 20 years in Egypt and elsewhere, it has become clear to me that religious activists are nourished on a belief in the movement’s divine victory and they are willing to endure sacrifice, hardship, and loss to bring about that desired end. But the decades of persecution that drove the Islamists underground left deep scars on their psychology and imagination — and as a result, they often view wider society as intrinsically hostile to their cause. The Egyptian military’s ouster of Morsy will reinforce this siege mentality and the sense of victimhood and injustice among the Muslim Brothers and their followers.

The likelihood of the Brotherhood taking up arms against the military like their Algerian counterparts in the early 1990s is minimal. The most influential Islamist group in the Arab world renounced the use of force and violence in the late 1960s and early 1970s. One of the lessons learned by the Brothers from their experience underground from the 1940s until the late 1960s is that violence is counterproductive and endangers the very survival of the movement. In particular, the old guard, including Badie, who have a vivid institutional memory of the underground years, won’t fall into the trap of militarily confronting the state; they would not risk it all.

The real potential danger is that individual members could join extremist groups in the Sinai desert and elsewhere to exact vengeance against Egypt’s security forces. If the political deadlock continues, the Brotherhood might not be able or willing to control some of its followers, a recipe for creeping armed clashes with the security apparatus.

The longer the Muslim Brothers continue their protests and resistance, the more likely the military is to intensify its crackdown against them. At this stage, it is unconceivable that the military would reinstate Morsy as his supporters demand — far from it, in fact. In his first address, as an interim president last week, Adly Mansour, previously head of the constitutional court, warned against stoking unrest and promised to fight those he said wanted to destabilize the state. His warning is designed to convey a message to the Brotherhood by the military.

“We are going through a critical stage and some want us to move towards chaos, and we want to move towards stability. Some want a bloody path," Mansour said in a televised address. “We will fight a battle for security until the end."

The interim governing body is rapidly shaping up with a newly-formed cabinet and a roadmap for drafting a constitution and then holding presidential and parliamentary elections. The interim authority has obtained de facto legitimation and recognition at home and abroad. The Islamists are pitted against an influential alliance composed of a substantive segment of Egyptians, together with the military, the police and entrenched elements of the old regime. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Egypt’s new foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, and expressed hopes that the transitional period of government would be successful, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry.

Neither the Obama administration nor the European Union has taken the military to task for toppling Morsy. The Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, have already pledged $12 billion in financial and material aid, a substantial package that gives the transitional authority breathing space to get its economic house in order.

There is a race against time between escalation and a political dialogue, and neither the military nor Morsy’s supporters are disposed to compromise. While the military is emboldened and in charge, the Muslim Brothers have their backs against the wall.

Regardless of the outcome, this titanic and seemingly intractable struggle undermines Egypt’s fragile democratic experiment because there is a real danger that once again the Islamists will be suppressed and excluded from the country’s political space.

This does not bode well for Egypt’s democratic transition because there will be no institutionalization of democracy without the Brotherhood, the biggest and oldest mainstream religiously based Islamist movement in the Middle East.

 

Egypt bombing targets police

Explosion outside security headquarters in Mansoura city follows three days of street battles in which 11 people have died

Morsi opponents during a street clash in Cairo

Morsi opponents during a street clash in Cairo. Photograph: Rex Features

A bomb blast has caused up to 20 casualties at the security headquarters of Mansoura city in Egypt, authorities have said. The apparent direct attack on police in the capital of Dakahliya province came after three days of street clashes in which 11 people died as supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohamed Morsi continued to battle it out.

Most of the deaths took place in pre-dawn street battles near a pro-Morsi protest camp as the country remained mired in turmoil three weeks after the military overthrew the Islamist leader.

The Associated Press, quoting security officials, said 19 people were wounded – 13 police and six civilians – when the bomb outside the Mansoura security directorate exploded after midnight.

Reuters said one person was killed and up to 17 wounded and that the bomb had been thrown from a passing car.

The city had been bustling with people because of the Islamic month of Ramadan.

Police officials exchanged gunfire with unidentified people inside a nearby abandoned building afterward. No further details were immediately available.

Presidential spokesman Ahmad al-Muslimani released a statement calling the incident an act of terrorism. “The Mansoura terrorist incident will not waver Egypt’s resolve," he said. “Egypt has triumphed in the war against terrorism before and will win again today."

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party condemned the attack in a statement posted on the group’s website and vowed to hold peaceful protests, saying the movement would not be dragged into violence.

Running street battles that began before dawn on Tuesday have been among the most intense since the crisis began on 3 July. Wednesday’s bomb raised the spectre of indiscriminate attacks targeting security forces and going beyond traditional targets in northern Sinai.

Morsi’s continued detention is fuelling anger among his supporters. Egypt’s first freely elected leader has been held incommunicado and without charge.

Clashes broke out after Morsi supporters began marching from their sit-in outside the main campus of Cairo University to a nearby mosque. The protesters blocked roads, causing traffic jams and angering residents.

Security officials said the fighting turned deadly after masked gunmen appeared and started shooting at the Morsi supporters with live ammunition and birdshot. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release the information, had no word on the identity of the gunmen.

The Muslim Brotherhood blamed the killings on “thugs" sponsored by the interior ministry, a charge the Islamist group often uses to dismiss the notion that it is at odds with other segments of the population.

Khaled el-Khateeb, who heads the health ministry’s emergency and intensive care department, said six people were killed near the pro-Morsi sit-in. The security officials put the casualty toll at seven killed and 11 injured.

Morsi’s ouster followed massive street protests by millions of Egyptians. His supporters are calling for his reinstatement and insist they will not join the military-backed political process until then.

In a separate development, two rights groups – Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – urged Egyptian authorities to investigate a spate of attacks against Christians following Morsi’s ouster and bring their perpetrators to account. At least six Christians have been killed and scores injured in at least six provinces since 3 July.

 

 

 

 

 

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