Video: Egyptian soldiers go berserk on protesters, beat women senseless

Pure mob insanity, so frenzied that even the taboo about female modesty goes out the window as a woman is stripped nearly to the waist while a soldier stomps on her stomach. That comes at 55 seconds in; at 1:25 a couple appears to come forward to help the injured woman, and then 20 seconds later the soldiers start beating the hell out of them. This has been going on for four days now, with the Egyptian military holding a press conference this afternoon alleging they’ve uncovered a plot to burn down the Egyptian parliament. Is that their version of the Reichstag Fire — a lie designed to create a pretext for a power grab? Maybe, but do note that other landmark Egyptian buildings have already burned this week.

You know who this benefits? Ahem:

The Muslim Brotherhood party secured 39 percent of the vote, while the Salafi Al Nour party won 31 percent of the vote in the second stage of Egypt’s landmark post-Mubarak elections, according to unofficial results published on the website of Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper on Sunday…

Islamist parties won some 70 percent of the total vote, a similar result to the first stage of elections, which took place on November 28…

The elections took place in nine provinces, in Islamiyya, Suez and Giza. The gap between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Al Nour [i.e. Salafist] party shrank in this round of voting, with the Brotherhood winning 49 percent of the vote, and Al Nour won 20 percent in the previous round.

The Salafists — the hardcore Islamists who want Saudi-style shari’a ASAP — are actually gaining against the Erdogan-style “modern” Islamists of the Brotherhood as the election progresses. That’s not a total surprise given that this round of voting was held in less educated areas than the first round, but the MB’s brand and organizational abilities were supposed to make it a runaway winner in the elections, far ahead of the brand new, poorly organized Nour. Instead, they’re now running less than 10 points ahead. Which brings us back to the clip: As stuff like this circulates and erodes the military’s esteem, the new Islamist majority in parliament will gain legitimacy by comparison. The more political capital they can build now as champions of the people, the more leverage they’ll have with the military when/if they finally form a government. The trick for the MB is to challenge the military in order to impress voters without challenging them so boldly that the military starts to give them the Mubarak treatment. Result: They’ve been holding back from protesting themselves but they did issue a harsh condemnation today which WaPo describes as “a fundamental shift in rhetoric and an end to the tense marriage of convenience between the military council and the Islamist party.” I wonder if they would have done it at all if not for the popular disgust generated by this vid.