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Cairo

Coming to Grips with Terrorism in Egypt a Year after the Raba’a Square Massacre

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Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 12 Issue: 17
September 5, 2014 10:36 AM Age: 10 days

Raba’a Square during the dispersal of Mursi supporter sit-ins (Source: Wikipedia user AMGS07)

Before the June 30, 2013 coup that overthrew Muhammad Mursi, Egypt’s first civilian elected president, terrorist operations in Egypt were far fewer in number and scale, focusing mainly on blowing up gas pipelines supplying Egyptian gas to neighboring Israel. However, after the violent crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters orchestrated by then-Defense Minister Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi in the summer of 2013, radicalism became viewed as the only means of expressing critical views of the political system.

This rise in terrorism enabled al-Sisi to strike fear amongst grassroots Egyptians and pose as a national savior despite excluding all peaceful ways of dissent and arguably provoking much of the violence that followed the Raba’a, Nahda and the Abu Zaabal massacres in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt blames Muslim Brotherhood for ‘expected’ electricity crisis

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Electricity outages have become a common occurrence in several Egyptian provinces.

By Hussein Qabani

CAIRO – Egyptian officials have blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for an “expected” electricity crisis, accusing the Islamist group of destroying several electric transmission towers.

“This is a government attempt to politicize economic ills,” Ahmed Abul Nour, an economics professor at the American University in Cairo, told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

Several Egyptian government officials have recently accused the Brotherhood, from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails, of destroying electric transmission towers.

Interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi had said that the Brotherhood “was targeting transmission towers in remote areas”.

“By doing this, darkness will blanket the whole country and affect hospitals, patients and factories,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Muslim Brotherhood shocks Egypt with presidential run

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 The Muslim Brotherhood‘s presidential nominee Khairat el-Shater is seen here in a Jan. 24, 2012 file photo. By Ayman Mohyeldin
NEWS ANALYSIS– CAIRO Few events have captured the attention of the global media like Egypt’s revolution. Culminating, like an earthquake, with the departure of Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011, the world was transfixed.

Since then, Egypt has gone through a series of political aftershocks. From the rise of Islam-centered ultra-conservative political parties to deadly street riots and the missteps of the country’s ruling generals, Egypt’s transition (or intransigence) has been the subject of intense speculation and analysis.Nothing, though, has piqued interest as much as the move by the Muslim Brotherhood to nominate a candidate for the country’s presidency.

Political U-turn

Things have come to full boil in the past few days. And what has emerged, according to analysts and commentators, is a rupture in trust between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian people. To say the Brotherhood has lost its base of support is inaccurate, but Egyptians across the political spectrum feel a sense of disappointment to come face to face with the duplicity of politics – common the world over and now seen and practiced openly in Egypt.

The culmination of this mood came on Saturday, when the Brotherhood, long a socio-charitable and religious organization, announced that it was nominating one of its own for Egypt’s top job, a move that sent shock waves through the nascent political establishment.

Why the shock? Well, for the past year, the Muslim Brotherhood has categorically denied it would field a presidential candidate and repeatedly has tried to assuage fears that it was seeking control of Egyptian political life.The signs, though, were there. Shortly after Mubarak’s ouster, the Brotherhood embarked on a process of “translating” its popular social support into mainstream politics. To do so, it launched a political party, called the Freedom and Justice Party, ostensibly aimed at putting a political face on a traditional image.

At the time,the Brotherhood was, at least in public, keen on showing that it was just a part of the quilt that makes up the Egyptian political fabric; it did not want to be too much in the background while at the same time it did not want to appear to be the quilt-maker.That image was crushed on Saturday, according to analysts and commentators, who say the move has exposed the movement’s true aspirations.

Notably, the decision to nominate a president didn’t happen at the Freedom and Justice Party’s headquarters – it took place at the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters. In addition, the announcement that Khairat el Shater was their presidential candidate was not made by the head of the political party (although he was present) but by the Brotherhood’s leader, Dr. Mohammed el Badie.Fueling fears

The decision by the Muslim Brotherhood to seek control of the executive branch highlights a potentially dangerous political reality that has many worried in Egypt.Already with control of the parliament and as the majority in the constitutional convention tasked with writing a new constitution, the Brotherhood is ubiquitous in Egypt’s political life. Add the presidency and they would control virtually the whole political system.

Critics say such a move would allow the Brotherhood to steamroll its conservative agenda across Egypt. They compare the monopolization of power by a single party to the Mubarak-era rule of the National Democratic Party, which also controlled all three branches of government and thousands of local councils.Proponents say the democratic consolidation of power will allow the Brotherhood to implement change at a time when political fragmentation threatens to paralyze a country in transition. They say that with a single cohesive voice in control, Egypt could take the hard decisions needed to bring about speedy reform. Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt’s Never-Ending Revolution

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Moises Saman for The New York Times

Protesters gather in Cairo on Jan. 25, 2012, marking the first anniversary of the 2011 revolution.

By STEVEN A. COOK    Published: February 10, 2012

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

CAIRO is tense and polarized. Egypt’s military is groping for solutions to the many political and economic problems that have beset the country since the fall of the old government. Various political parties and groups are united in their opposition to military rule despite being divided among themselves. The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, is trying to remain above the fray and out of the line of fire by making deals with the army. And despite the promise of parliamentary elections and the prospect of a new constitution, the situation remains highly unstable.

One could be forgiven for thinking this is a description of early 2012, but it is actually an account of early 1954, when Gamal Abdel Nasser and his military colleagues, known as the Free Officers, first consolidated their power in Egypt. Read the rest of this entry »

Thousands of women protest over Cairo beatings

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December 21, 2011 – 10:16AM

Women protest in Cairo after the police brutality.Women protest in Cairo after the police brutality. Photo: Reuters

Thousands of woman marched through downtown Cairo on Tuesday evening to call for the end of military rule in an extraordinary expression of anger over images of soldiers beating, stripping and kicking a female demonstrator on the pavement of Tahrir Square.

“Drag me, strip me, my brothers’ blood will cover me!” they chanted. “Where is the field marshal?” they demanded, referring to Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the military council holding onto power here. “The girls of Egypt are here.”

The event may have been the biggest women’s demonstration in Egypt’s history, and the most significant since a 1919 march led by pioneering Egyptian feminist Huda Shaarawi to protest British rule. Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt – A Voter’s Lament

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Egypt‘s ruling generals may claim the ballot has been a success, but the revolutionaries of Tahrir Square know different.

BY MOHAMED EL DAHSHAN NOVEMBER 29, 2011

Egypt’s elections weren’t supposed to be this way.

Our first “post-revolution” (sigh…) elections were supposed to be free. The overwhelmingly young people who led the January and February uprising would lead the nation into a future of freedom and justice, a nation for all its citizens, equal before the law. People would work together to eradicate corruption, poverty, sexual harassment, discrimination, petty crime — traffic, even. The sky seemed to be the limit. Today is the Icarian crash landing.

I wasn’t supposed to hear a candidate talk about “courting the Christian lobby’s vote” or some acquaintances talk about voting for the Muslim Brotherhood because they want someone “who can stand up to the Christians who want to take over the country.”

These elections weren’t supposed to occur as we suffer under the military boot — one that even the most committed revolutionaries among us have no clear idea how to remove. One that has handpicked a 78-year old former Mubarak-era prime minister who, as I write, is reported to be mulling the re-appointment of a number of ministers who were in office when the January 25th revolution began.

They shouldn’t be taking place as families bury children who died over the course of the past week, when clashes with the army-backed police forces killed over 40 and injured more than 1,000 protesters who have demanded the end of the military rule and an immediate transfer of power to a civilian government. Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt’s liberals face squeeze ahead of parliamentary elections

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What now for Egypt‘s beleaguered liberals? Ahead of disputed parliamentary elections, the secular forces that featured so prominently during the first months of the revolution are struggling.

With one foot in the sphere of formal politics and the other in the politics of the street, they are failing to make headway in either direction. The liberals are being derided in Tahrir Square as having sold out to the supreme council of the armed forces (Scaf) by agreeing to participate in a flawed “transition” proceeding at a snail’s pace; and outgunned by the organisational firepower of the Islamist parties and remnants of Hosni Mubarak‘s old ruling NDP, both of which look set to sweep the board when voting stations open their doors on Monday.

“They are trying, and failing, to appeal to everyone, and as a result find themselves constantly hedging their bets on a revolution that very few of them understand and very few of them are fundamentally committed to,” said Khalid Abdalla, an actor and activist who will not be heading to the polls. “There’s an attempt among this section of the political class to try to find a balance between what the powers-that-be will accept and what the square will accept, but the reality is that those two things are completely irreconcilable.” Read the rest of this entry »