Tag Archives | Egypt

Egyptian Women Rally Against SCAF

Thousands of Egyptian women took to the streets Tuesday to protest their  brutal beatings and repression at the hands of the military council.  Historians had to look back almost a century to find any precedent for the rally for and by women in opposition to the SCAF governing council.

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Egyptian Violence & No US Response

So far, at least, I haven’t heard of any response from the US government regarding the and suppression by the SCAF, or military council, in Egypt.  Demonstrators at Tahrir Square now call for the military council to step down and let the newly elected (last round of voting in January) Parliament choose an interim civilian government to oversee the drafting of a new constitution.

The violence is some of the worst of the last year, as the video below shows.  And the state-run media, despite scenes like these, are claiming the demonstrators are rioting and killing each other (!).  Egyptian propagandists are creating the same ‘blame the demonstrators’ narrative that Mubarak tried to derail democratic demands.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, is not participating in the demonstrations but focusing on another strong showing in the third round of voting.  But both the Tahrir groups and the Brotherhood are demanding that a civilian government, not the military council, draft the new constitution.

The timing of the military crackdown is skillful.  Knowing that the Brotherhood would likely focus on elections, they have viciously confronted Tahrir groups temporarily isolated from allies.

Below is one of the most graphic, explicit videos to come out of Egypt since Mubarak thugs rode camels and horses through Tahrir Square last winter.

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The Violent Egyptian House of Mirrors

Deadly clashes erupted in Cairo and other cities over the last two days, leaving at least 10 people killed and hundreds injured.  Nevertheless, Kamal Ganzouri, the temporary PM picked by the military, insisted that there was no violence even as it continued outside his window.

A key tactic of the Egyptian military has been to play Egyptian against Egyptian first by attacking the Egyptian Coptic population and blaming it on supporters of the democratic movement, then by declaring election procedures aimed at spitting the secular democrats and moderate Muslims and yesterday,  by staging a pro-military demonstration Saturday morning.

Chaos is good for the military

And that’s what they want to show.  They want to confuse the situation and divide their opposition by appealing to the undeniable desire of the Egyptian public for normalcy after 9 months of upheaval.  But the military is going all-out, ignoring recommendations on how to end the violence made by a civilian advisory council it appointed within the last month.

It’s possible that the military has decided to switch tactics from compromising with the various pro-democracy factions fighting to clamping down on protesters and whipping up suspicion and division among them.

But it doesn’t come easily for the SCAF.  The military may have counted on violence right before elections to sow chaos into the multi-day, multi-provence process.  Instead, a determined population ensured the elections went smoothly.

Updates later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brotherhood Distances from Salafis

, the Muslim Brotherhood is expected to win 40% of the vote.  The shocker comes from the arch conservative Salafis who may win almost a quarter, followed by almost as many votes for the liberal, secular forces.

In case anyone hasn’t heard the Muslim Brotherhood promised a democratic, representative parliament, not only distancing itself from the Salafis but saying it had always thought it would form a coalition government with the liberal parties.  The Brotherhood renounced violence decades ago and does not want to impose Islamic law on the nation.

In another claim to its stake, the Brotherhood said:

…that Parliament should try to wrest the power to name a new prime minister from ’s interim military rulers — an assertion of authority that the military council has so far rebuffed. But on Thursday the party also reiterated, as it has throughout the campaign, that it hoped to form a unity government with the more liberal parties in Parliament. The elections, it said in another statement, “will most likely lead to a balanced Parliament that reflects the various components of the Egyptian public.”

A united front within Parliament between the highly organized Brotherhood and liberal allies would be a formidable challenge to the ruling military council, SCAF

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White House Calls for Egyptian Moves to Democracy

Over the weekend, the Obama Administration on the Egyptian military to move immediately to elections and civilian rule:

The United States strongly believes that the new Egyptian government must be empowered with real authority immediately. We believe that Egypt’s transition to democracy must continue, with elections proceeding expeditiously, and all necessary measures taken to ensure security and prevent intimidation. Most importantly, we believe that the full transfer of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, as soon as possible.

Although violence in Tahrir Square subsided over the last two days, the immediate path forward will be determined by how well parliamentary elections, scheduled to begin tomorrow, November 28, are carried out.

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Egypt in 5th Day of Tahrir Square.2

The Egyptian Supreme Council ‘s (SCAF) announcement that Presidential elections would be held in June, 2012, and mark the turn-over of military to civilian rule, was overruled by protesters in Tahrir Square.  In yet another twist to the complicated politics of Egypt in transition, the Muslim Brotherhood, which started the last surge of protests last Friday, has decided to sit out today’s protests.  It is willing to accept the SCAF promise of complete transition to civilian rule while other democratic factions, including the February 6th Movement and some liberal groups, want the turn-over to take place immediately.      Mohamed ElBaradei     former IAEA head and Nobel Laureate, offered to form a new national unity government if he was assured of the right to pick his own ministers.  SCAF has not yet responded.

As we’ve said many times on this blog, the Egyptian Revolution has been a powerful movement for reform of a decrepit, autocratic system.  But a true reform program has been choked by the SCAF, de facto rulers of Egypt now.  SCAF keeps postponing elections and the transfer of power and continues to arrest, jail and torture Egyptians under Mubarak’s emergency law.

Media reports say the growing number of demonstrators in Tahrir Square are a broad representation of Egyptian society, including the Youth Movement of the Muslim Brotherhood.  They obviously don’t accept the leadership and deals being made by the political elite whether Muslim or secular.

Where is the US?

The US has demanded an end to violence in Egypt, but it has been steadfastly supporting the work of the SCAF.

Where can all this go.  The only way to head off chaos is for the SCAF to step down and turn power over to a civilian government.  I don’t think Egyptians want to destroy SCAF but do want to put them in their place under civilian rule.  The people are demanding that civilians lead the constitutional writing process and prepare for elections.

Although it’s still unclear whether SCAF has bungled the transition due to incompetence and the pressure of fast-moving events or if it has carefully sewn the seeds of divisions which could tear apart Egyptian society.

Meanwhile, the US continues its cat-and-mouse game.  If ever there was a time for the US to clearly part with the Egyptian military it is now.  The old order is dissolving.  Just look at Tantawi on TV: he is a man out of his league.

Either the Administration stands solidly behind an immediate turn over to civilian control and work with the opposition parties or risks any relevance to a future Egyptian order.

 

 

 

 

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Egyptian Militry Backs Down

According to ,

Mohammed Morsi, the president of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), has issued a statement about the five-hour crisis meeting held between the ruling military council and a selection of presidential candidates and party officials. The FJP is the best-organised political force in Egypt.

The military council has accepted the resignation of the interim government and will form a government of “national salvation” but still hold parliamentary elections on time on Monday, Morsi said, according to the statement, which was published on the .

The council has also agreed to completely transfer power to a civilian authority by July, likely in the form of a presidential election, for which a draft law will be written, Morsi said.

As part of the agreement, the military will withdraw forces from Tahrir Square, confine them to protecting public building, compensate the families of the victims, and bring to trial their killers.

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Media Bias on Egyptian Violence

The Nightly News at NBC is a perfect example of unbalanced reporting – it’s not that they slanted the news toward a liberal or conservative narrative.  They slanted it toward cynicism by focusing on the violence at Tahrir Square over the last few days and under-reporting the reasons for that violence.

Any violence in Tahrir Square is a result of the military council’s refusal to move promtly towards fullfilling the democracy it claims to protect.  The last straw was the SCAF’s guidelines for a new constitution that earmarked military prerogatives over civilian rule.  That was exactly the model Mubarak used to control Egypt for 40 years. And this model would destroy any moves towards real democracy in Egypt.

The violence was in reaction to a police route of peaceful demonstrators demanding an end to military rule.  But at least the Western media echoes the fears of President Obama and others that things may get out of hand with elections in Egypt taking place over the next month.

The US government can’t straddle this issue.  If it doesn’t come full force in favor of the democratic demands of the reform movement, it sides with the resurfacing of the old regime.  Sec. Clinton can’t say the delay of elections by the military council if ‘appropriate’ and still claim the US is behind the protesters.

The American people were transfixed with the Egyptian Arab Spring, but now the news media makes it look like that Spring is going nowhere.  Once again, the Middle East is being profiled as irreparably violent and sectarian.

Expect the Obama Administration to go easy on the military council, SCAF, in fear of ‘democratic chaos’.  The chaos, however, will continue until the Egyptian people elect their own civilian government.

 

 

 

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