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Egypt's Deadly Slide


With 12 dead and 86 wounded in Cairo on Tuesday, the highest casualty toll since July 8 when the army opened fire on Muslim Brotherhood protesters and killed 62, a quick return to normalcy for Egypt after Morsi is looking increasingly unlikely. The NY Times has the grim details:

The clashes, which flared in several Cairo neighborhoods and north of the city, offered further proof that the country’s warring political forces were content to let their feud play out in the streets. As Egypt’s new military-backed government has moved swiftly to assert its authority, Mr. Morsi’s movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, has refused, at least publicly, to abandon its determination to see him restored. […]

The latest fighting in Cairo was apparently set off by Mr. Morsi’s supporters, during a provocative march near the opposition stronghold in Tahrir Square. Other clashes were murkier, and on Tuesday, the Muslim Brotherhood accused the police of joining attacks on its supporters or providing cover for plainclothes thugs. At a news conference, medics displayed graphic pictures of victims with gunshot wounds. In a protest square near Cairo University for Mr. Morsi’s supporters, cars gutted by fire or with smashed windows marked the site of fighting that killed nine people.

“We want security!” a sobbing man yelled to friends who tried to console him. A mother and her two children, carrying suitcases, made their way out of the square.

Tourists and investors won’t be heading back while scenes like these are playing out. Time and money are running out before economic conditions for ordinary Egyptians lurch even further downward. Egypt’s new, government absolutely must find some way to restore stability and rebuild confidence, or things will get much, much uglier.

[Update: General Abdel-Fattah el Sisi called on his supporters to take to the streets for mass demonstrations after a car bomb went off in Cairo on Wednesday. “Egyptians must take to the streets on Friday to give me the mandate to face violence and terrorism,” he said.]

[Muslim Brotherhood protesters in Alexandria, July 22. Photo courtesy Getty Images.]

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  • wigwag

    “Time and money are running out before economic conditions for ordinary Egyptians lurch even further downward.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    I don’t know whether time is running out, but the money sure isn’t running out. Since the coup (or whatever it was) the money spigots have been on in full force. The Saudis and the Gulf Arabs, in a display of financial power that can only be described as awesome, have poured $12 billion into Egyptian coffers in just the past 30 days. This doesn’t even include all the free gasoline and kerosine that they’ve put at Egypt’s disposal. Given their resources, they can continue to do this for years.

    It’s a great scene really; the Saudis supporting secular Egytpians at the same time as President Obama and his Ambassador to Egypt lament the fall of the Muslim Brothers.

    What the Saudis have done is prove how irrelevant Obama, the West and the IMF have become. Thanks to the Saudis and Gulf Arabs, western aid looks like little more than a rounding error.

    It’s good to see that Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar is looking out for American interests even if President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are not.

    • rheddles

      And gas in the US headed to $4/gal. Every time the Suez Canal is at risk, oil goes to triple digits. So the Saudi incentive to reduce the risk is?

      • wigwag

        The Saudis hate the Muslim Brothers with the white hot passion of a thousand suns. They view the viability of the brothers as a direct threat to the Saudi Royal Family. Every Gulf Kingdom with the exception of Qatar agrees (and even Qatar may be coming around).

        Why do you think the Saudis and Gulf Arabs provided the Egyptians with billions of dollars of aid within hours of Morsi’ downfall?

    • bpuharic

      Uh…Obama et al have been noting the decline of a democratically elected government in Egypt.

      There aren’t a whole lot of options here. This is a Muslim state which, by definition, means it’s undemocratic. Sorry to break you into reality, but that’s the way it is.

      And by all means, let the Saudis spend their money propping up and spreading Wahabism. They’ve had great success given the neocon failure at nation building in Iraq.

      • wigwag

        Surprised though you may be to hear it, bpuharic, I don’t disagree with you. Given the tendency of everything President Obama touches in the realm of foreign policy to turn into you know what, I think it is far better for him to avert his eyes to the Egyptian imbroglio and do nothing. Better to leave the intervention to the adults on the international scene like Prince Bandar.

        As for your criticism of the neoconservatives; again you are right. You shouldn’t forget however that Obama’s liberal internationalists like Susan Rice and Samantha Power are little more than neoconservatives dressed in ruffles and frills.

        • bpuharic

          Rather odd, isn’t it, that the great neocon success of the Iraq war, which killed 4400 US troops and cost us over 2 trillion…haven’t been repeated by Obama.

          If that’s a success, thank god Obama’s a failure. We don’t need more Arlington funerals to show us how successful conservative foreign policy is.

          • wigwag

            If you will read my reply to you with a little care, you will see that I agree with you that the neocons are a disaster. It says very little about President Obama that the best defense can come up with for him is that he is not as bad as the neocons are.

            Didn’t he promise to be a transformative president.?

            Wasn’t he about hope and change?

            Do you remember his Cairo speech?

            Wasn’t President Obama going to repair the relations between the United States and the Muslim word?

            Shouldn’t we hold Obama to the standard he set for himself?

            How’s that all working out?

          • bpuharic

            Obama is a transformative president unless you think universal healthcare is something the US has always provided, and preventing a 2nd great depression was merely card tricks.

            Obama didn’t promise to ‘repair’ anything. He promised to reach out to the Muslim world. The fact it’s incapable of responding merely shows you to be the political huckster you are.

          • Samuel Moser

            BP your an idiot who just got completely schooled. You just called wigwag a politcal huckster when all your defense to his argument is Dem talking points? You have no answer to the well thought out and reasoned responses. Everyone not a Dem is a Neocon. Hence your just another emotional liberal bed wetter..with no counter argument.

          • bpuharic

            Given the fact the GOP is filled with right extremists, as objective evidence shows, “Dem” talking points are AKA ‘moderate politics’.

            You took a bunch of right wing talking points and SWORE!!!!!! Obama said that.

            Now go change your sheets.

  • teapartydoc

    With generals named Fatty Sissy it’s easy to see why Egypt’s military has such a sorry record.

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