Egypt is sitting atop a most violent volcano ready to blow.
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s call for a demonstration on Friday to give him an open mandate to face terrorism is an invitation to a bloody civil war.
The Egyptian army wants to “correct” or “complete” the most important phase in its military coup. After ousting former leader Mohammed Morsi, it seems the army now wants to annihilate the Muslim Brotherhood group completely from the political scene.
By using its military legitimacy, paired with what its supporters call “the popular revolution legitimacy” of free and fair elections and the power of ballot boxes, this may just happen.
It is clear that the army sided with liberals and secularists, using them as a strong card to make its coup popular. It realised the urgent need to topple Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group by taking advantage of their major mistakes during their first year in power.
Several internal and external parties are supporting the Egyptian army to achieve this goal.With Tony Blair, a leading member of the neo-conservative refusing to describe the military coup as a coup, rather a popular revolution, and with Arab countries, who were against the Egyptian revolution that ousted Mubarak’s regime, offering USD 12 billion in financial aid to support General al-Sisi, signifies that there is a deep support for the army both on an Arab and international scale.
There is a great similarity between the Algerian army’s move to cancel the parliamentary elections, won by Islamists in 1991, and the Egyptian army’s move to topple an elected president and his party, under the title of fighting terrorism and violence.
We do not yet know if the Egyptian army has built a detention camp to include thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members, as the Algerian army once did.
I do not rule out, nor will I be surprised if millions of Egyptians support al-Sisi’s call to give him a mandate. Muslim Brotherhood’s call to take to the streets on Thursday evening to avoid clashes and confrontation was a wise move to avoid bloodshed.
But the question now is what will be the outcome post-protests – and this is the scenario the Egyptian army must prepare for.
There is no clear answer as of yet, but one thing is for certain – when the army refers to facing terrorism, it is not talking about the activities in Sinai, but rather “terrorism” at Rabaa el-Adaweya Square where Islamists are protesting.
Will I be surprised if the army uses tanks to break through the Square to end this sit-in, even if it will lead to the killing and wounding of hundreds, if not thousands? Not at all.
There is no doubt that Egypt is living in an unprecedented state of division. The army may have the support of millions for its demonstration, but one must remember that they do not have the support of everyone.
The absence of Al-Azhar sheikhs, Coptic popes and a number of leading political party members, such as founder of El Ghad party Ayman Nour and activist Amr Hamzawy, from the reconciliation process needs to be taken into consideration.
General al-Sisi, despite our respect for him, cannot compare his coup with the revolution of late president Gamal Abdel Nasser (second president of Egypt.)
Abdel Nasser, although we admit he made some mistakes, had an Egyptian, as well as Arab and international project behind him – one that aimed to liberate the whole region suffering from West colonialism, to face Israel and to strengthen relations with Africa and third world countries.
These main points behind his revolution were clear. But al-Sisi has neither an Arab nor Islamic project. His last speech included only facing terrorism, which makes it mysterious.
If he has other goals, he must announce them. He did not mention Israel at all, nor the closing of tunnels which are considered the lifeline for more than two million Palestinians, nor the imposed visas for Syrian refugees – but yet we are supposed to support him against Morsi.
I sincerely hope that the Egyptian army does not go as far as facing the Rabaa el-Adaweya sit-in; we must remember that despite different ideologies and beliefs, the pro-Morsi supporters are still Egyptians. Thus if we want to end bloodshed and aim for security and stability in Egypt, then it is vital the Islamists are included in the political scene.
All that we can now do is wait for the army’s next move.
The June 30 protest resulted in the ousting of president Morsi, his arrest and detainment to an undisclosed destination and the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood members – how many Morsi supporters will now be arrested next Saturday or Sunday, following Friday’s protests.
Yes, we are with the Egyptian army to protect the country’s national security as it is the pillar of Egypt and its unity.
But we are against its bias of one party against another in the political life, the ousting of an elected president who came into power supported by a popular will.
I pray for Egypt, its national unity and its people. The coming two days will be important to determine the future of Egypt.
This post has already been read 513 times!
Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters remain defiant at Cairo sit in after crackdown that left 120 killed and thousands more wounded in worst violence since Arab Spring
- WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Hundreds of thousands turned out across Egypt after Army calls for demonstrations ‘against terrorism’
- They clashed with supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi who also lined the streets yesterday
- Armed police launched dawn raid on Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators who have been staging sit in
- Morsi has been formally accused of conspiring with Palestinian group Hamas and of murdering prison officers
- The fighting is the country’s bloodiest incidence of violence since the army deposed Hosni Mubarak in 2011
- British Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on the country’s new rulers to halt violent attacks on protesters
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urges Egypt to ‘pull back from the brink’
PUBLISHED: 08:28 GMT, 28 July 2013 | UPDATED: 08:28 GMT, 28 July 2013
Thousands of supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi remained in a sit-in protest at a Cairo mosque this morning, after armed police shot dead more than 100 yesterday.
Blood covered the floor of makeshift field hospitals set up to treat the wounded after the dawn attack by security forces, amid claims that thousands more were wounded in the crackdown.
As news of the bloodbath spread, Egyptian authorities last night faced international condemnation. British Foreign Secretary William Hague called on ‘all sides to refrain from violence’ while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Arab ally to ‘pull back from the brink’.
Scroll down for videos
Solemn: Muslim brotherhood supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi pray on the body of protester killed by Egyptian security forces near Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque
Lives lost: Blood and clothes are seen on the floor of a field hospital around bodies. while doctors treat Morsi supporters, after they were injured during a crackdown by security forces at Nasr City, where they protesters have held a weeks-long sit-in
Uncowed: Scenes after the violence yesterday. Thousands of supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi remained in a sit-in protest at a Cairo mosque this morning
Memorial: Flowers, a garment and bricks mark the spot where a Muslim Brotherhood supporter was killed by Egyptian security forces yesterday. The crackdown has prompted condemnation from Egypt’s Western allies
It is the worst violence in the country since the Arab spring revolution two years ago overthrew longtime military-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Bodies wrapped in white sheets were laid on the floor of a Brotherhood morgue, their names scrawled on the shrouds. Coffins containing bodies of those killed were carried through demonstrations as anger simmered at the government’s violence.
William Hague last night condemned the Egyptian authorities over the bloodbath, carried out by state security forces just before pre-dawn prayers.
‘I am deeply concerned by recent events in Egypt and condemn the use of force against protesters which has led to the loss of lives. I call on all sides to refrain from violence,’ he said.
‘Now is the time for dialogue, not confrontation.’
U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by telephone with Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the July 3 military overthrow of Mr Morsi and whose face has appeared on posters across the teeming capital, Cairo.
And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to two senior members of Egypt’s army-installed interim cabinet, expressing his ‘deep concern.’
‘This is a pivotal moment for Egypt,’ he said in a statement. ‘The United States … calls on all of Egypt’s leaders across the political spectrum to act immediately to help their country take a step back from the brink.’
Anguish: Up to 120 people are reported dead in Cairo after defiant supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi were protesting his removal from power
Battleground: Central Cairo looked like a warzone as residents walked home around the makeshift road blocks
Clashes: Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted president Mohamed Morsi fighting with opponents to Morsi in the distance
Another round of violence: Flowers are placed next to a trail of blood at the scene of clashes in Cairo yesterday
Deadly violence: The bodies of killed supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in a field hospital at Rabaa Adawiya mosque following clashes with security forces in Cairo
Makeshift morgue: The Muslim Brotherhood are putting the death toll at around 120 people
Grief: Relatives mourning outside a field hospital at Rabaa Adawiya mosque on Saturday
Followers: This image released by the Egyptian army of Friday evening’s pro-army rally shows the strength of support for the security forces and against the ousted president Morsi
Demonstration: Hundreds of thousands took to the streets as supporters of the army heeded a call to rally
Support: Demonstrations like this pro-army gathering in Tahrir Square on Friday night were met with counter-protests by Morsi followers
The mass shooting represents the worst violence seen in Egypt since the fall Mubarak, the country’s longstanding military- and Western-backed dictator, two years ago in the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings.
The security forces are accused of attacking protesters who had moved out of a mosque and were blocking a main road in east Cairo.
The military-backed government had earlier vowed to sweep away what it called ‘terrorists’.
One doctor said makeshift field hospitals had been swamped with casualties, with at least 38 dead and many more injured. Others put the death toll in the hundreds, while television footage showed corpses covered in white shrouds amid pools of blood.
‘They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill,’ said the Muslim Brotherhood’s spokesman Gehad El-Haddad.
But the interior ministry insisted only tear gas had been used, adding that 14 policemen and 37 soldiers had also been injured.
However, Al Jazeera Egypt reported that some 4,500 may have been injured in the early morning violence.
Military-backed authorities were feeling emboldened after millions turned out for nationwide rallies on Friday called by the army chief.
A leading figure of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed el-Beltagy, blamed the violence on army chief General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s call for rallies on Friday.
Hundreds of thousands of people came onto the streets after army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who played a central role in overthrowing the president, called for Egyptians to rally to give him a mandate to tackle ‘violence and terrorism’.
Support: A Egyptian man waves national flags as an army helicopter flies over supporters of the army in Tahrir Square
Show of strength: Supporters of the army gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday
Lights: Hundreds of laser lights were shone into the sky by demonstrators in Tahrir Square who rallied to show support for the army
Reporters at the scene said firing could still be heard hours after the troubles started.
‘They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill,’ said pro-Morsi Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad.
The deaths occurred hours after supporters and opponents of Morsi staged mass rival rallies across the country.
Ragab Nayel Ali, one of the pro-Morsi protesters, said security forces fired first with tear gas and birdshot.
‘Protesters replied by hurling rocks and started building walls,’ said Ali, who was injured in an accident as he ferried wounded on his motorcycle from the fighting to a field hospital.
Clash: Security forces fired rounds of teargas at pro-Morsi supporters at a vigil in Cairo
Barricade: Supporters of the deposed president throw stones from behind a makeshift wall as they take cover from the police during clashes in Cairo
Explosion: Fireworks are set off near police and pro-army protesters by supporters of Morsi
Warzone: The streets of Cairo descended into chaos as supporters of the army clashed with pro-Morsi demonstrators
Confusion: Security forces said they had fired teargas at pro-Morsi supporters but denied shooting at them
Aftermath: Supporters of President Morsi lay flowers near a puddle of blood, while a woman cries outside a field hospital in the Nasr area of the city
Destruction: Stones and flowers are laid next to a trail of blood that has splattered across a tiled floor during the clashes in the early hours of Saturday
The fighting is the country’s bloodiest incidence of violence since the army deposed Mohammed Morsi earlier this month.
But Muslim Brotherhood supporters also staged mass counter-rallies, demanding the reinstatement of Morsi, who was placed under investigation on Friday for a raft of crimes, including murder.
More than 200 people have died in violence since the overthrow of Morsi, including at least nine on Friday, most of them Brotherhood supporters.
Mr Haddad said the latest deaths came after police started firing repeated rounds of teargas around 3am at protesters who had spilled out of the main area of the Rabaa sit-in.
‘Through the smog of the gas, the bullets started flying,’ he said.
Security: A military helicopter patrols the skies above Tahrir Square where hundreds of thousands of supporters of the army gathered on Friday
Flares: Fireworks were let off above the crowds at the presidential palace in Cairo
Split: Both the army and the ousted president have thousands of supporters in Egypt
Conflict: Police stand back as teargas is fired into a crowd in Cairo in the early hours of Saturday morning
He claimed ‘special police forces in black uniforms’ were firing live rounds and that snipers shot from the roofs of a university, buildings in the area, and a bridge.
State news agency MENA quoted an unnamed security source as saying that only teargas was used to disperse protesters. He said no firearms were used.
Mr Haddad said the pro-Morsi supporters had used rocks to try to defend themselves.
On the podium outside the Rabaa mosque, a speaker urged people to retreat from the gunfire, but Mr Haddad said ‘men stayed to defend themselves because women and children are inside the sit-in’.
Accusations: The clashes came as Morsi was accused of crimes including murder
Distress: An injured supporter of Morsi kneels on the ground after clashes with riot police in the capital
Injuries: A supporter of the ousted president is rushed to a field hospital in the Nasr area of Cairo
Attack: A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood claimed hundreds of people were injured when security forces shot at them in the early hours on Saturday
Treatment: At least 70 people are thought to have died, while scores of the injured were rushed to a field hospital
Makeshift: An injured man is rushed through the crowds to a field hospital on the back of a moped
Help: A pro-Morsi supporter is treated in a field hospital following clashes between security forces and demonstrators
Senior Brotherhood politician Saad el-Hosseini said: ‘I have been trying to make the youth withdraw for five hours. I can’t. They are saying have paid with their blood and they do not want to retreat.’
Egypt’s army-installed interior minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, said on Friday that the month-old Cairo vigils by Morsi supporters would be ‘brought to an end, soon and in a legal manner’, state-run al Ahram news website reported.
Yesterday the country’s new rulers accused Morsi of conspiring with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and plotting to attack police stations, army officers and prisons during the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak.
During the 2011 struggles, he had escaped from a prison and has now been accused of the ‘premeditated killing of officers, soldiers and prisoners’.
Ousted: Former president Mohammed Morsi has been formally accused of a raft of crimes and is expected to be charged
Backing: Supporters of Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi take part in a demonstration in the city of Alexandria, where at least five people died
The announcement by prosecutors of the investigation against Morsi is likely to pave the way to a formal indictment and eventually a trial.
It was the first news of his legal status since he was deposed by the military on July 3. Since then, the Islamist leader has been held incommunicado in a secret location.
Besides Morsi, five other senior figures from the group have been detained. Hassan Mohammed, a 30-year old teacher who came from southern Egypt to join the pro-Morsi rally, remained steadfast.
‘Even if we are going to die, me and my family, we won’t leave this place before our president comes back. Even if it takes seven years. We are ready to be martyrs in the name of religion and the nation,’ he said.
Share or comment on this article
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2380276/Thousands-Muslim-Brotherhood-supporters-remain-defiant-Cairo-sit-crackdown-left-120-killed-thousands-wounded-worst-violence-Arab-Spring.html#ixzz2aLGtIFFv
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook