On Egypt’s turmoil

AL JAZEERA, August 14, 2013

A victim mourned

A victim mourned

The bloodbath in Egypt’s security crackdown against opponents of the military coup is truly catastrophic. Enough independent observers maintain that the crowds of protesters, including women and children, were largely peaceful, and the use of violence by the security forces was disproportionate. Egypt faces a lasting conflict with itself. The army’s repression is a shattering blow against a fledgling, and brief, democratic experiment. Muslim Brotherhood activists and other opponents of the military-backed government may feel that they have little choice except to go underground.

In a vast country so deeply split, the authorities will find it very difficult to establish total control that the military seeks. Civilian political figures cooperating with the army face isolation from sections of Egyptian society. The turmoil will be destabilising, and a serious setback against hopes for democratic change in the region. The conflict will inflame the anti-American feeling, and pose a particular challenge for the United States in the Middle East. President Obama cannot disown the Egyptian military. But Washington’s close links with the ruling military establishment in Cairo will provide further fuel to the resentment against America.

Others on the Al Jazeera panel were Mahmood Mamdani (Columbia University), John L. Esposito (Georgetown University), Phyllis Bennis (Institute of Policy Studies), Adel Iskander (Georgetown University), Mark LeVine (University of California, Irvine) and Richard Falk (Princeton University), Sarah Mousa (Georgetown University), Larbi Sadiki (Qatar University), Michael Hudson (NUS), Daniel Levy (ECFR) and Abdullah Al-Arian (Georgetown University). 


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