Egypt is a mess. The so-called “Arab Spring” has withered. And anyone other than the Obama administration would call what has happened a “coup”. Whether or not you agree with what happened to the elected president of Egypt, by definition he was indeed displaced by a coup. Reality is indifferent to semantic nuance. It is what it is.
That said, Egypt, now ruled by the military, remains in turmoil. The ousted president has now been accused of murder and kidnapping among other serious charges. And at the moment both sides are gearing up for massive demonstrations and most people are expecting those to lead to violence and turmoil:
Thousands of pro-army demonstrators gathered on Friday morning in Tahrir Square, centre of two years of turmoil in Egypt, before the main rally, which was unlikely to peak until after the evening prayer marking the end of the day’s Ramadan fast.
“The Brothers stole our revolution,” said Salah Saleh, a horse trainer, voicing widespread criticism that Mursi and his allies refused to share out power when they took office, and then failed to tackle Egypt’s many economic and social woes.
“They came and sat on the throne and controlled everything.”
The Muslim Brotherhood is also planning and conducting demonstrations:
Many thousands of men, women and children joined Brotherhood supporters at their round-the-clock vigil in northeast Cairo.
“Our blood and our souls for Islam!” the crowds chanted, showing no sign of backing down in their stand-off, which has polarised the Arab world’s biggest state, long seen as crucial to the stability of the whole Middle East.
“It is either victory over the coup or martyrdom,” said senior Brotherhood politician Mohamed El-Beltagy, addressing the main pro-Mursi rally in the Egyptian capital.
So we have two very polarized and violence prone groups facing off at each other. The military is in charge and talking about “turning its guns” on those who are violent while the Muslim Brotherhood is claiming Egypt is heading toward civil war.
“I’m staying home all day, it’s too dangerous to work. I didn’t think things in Egypt could get this bad, but every day you hear about clashes and deaths,” said Shadi Mohamed, a 22-year-old taxi driver. “Egypt is a disaster.”
The administration’s reaction?
Signalling its displeasure at recent events, Washington said this week it had delayed delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Cairo and called on the Egyptian army to exercise “maximum restraint and caution” during Friday’s rallies.
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, however, said on Thursday the Obama administration did not intend to rule on whether Mursi’s overthrow constituted a coup, wording that would have triggered a cut-off of U.S. aid.
Wow, I’ll bet that stung. When you know that the US administration is moving heaven and earth to pretend that what you did isn’t what you did so they can keep giving you airplanes, how seriously do you take the delay of 4?
And there’s a new game that has begun among those who monitor foreign affairs. It was much like the game that those who watched the US Senate used to play. It’s called, “Where in the world is John Kerry?”
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