CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces shot dead dozens of supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on Saturday, witnesses said, days after the army chief called for a popular mandate to wipe out "violence and terrorism".
Men in helmets and black police fatigues fired on crowds gathered before dawn on the fringes of a round-the-clock sit-in near a mosque in northeast Cairo, Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood said.
"They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill," said Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad. "The bullet wounds are in the head and chest."
A Muslim Brotherhood website said 120 people had been killed and some 4,500 injured. A Reuters reporter counted 36 bodies at one morgue, while health officials said there were a further 21 corspes in two nearby hospitals.
Activists rushed blood-spattered casualties into a makeshift hospital, some were carried in on planks or blankets. One ashen teenager was laid out on the floor, a bullet hole in his head.
Egypt's Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told reporters only 21 had died and denied police had opened fire, accusing the Brotherhood of exaggerating for political ends.
Ibrahim said local residents living close to the Rabaa al-Adawia mosque vigil had clashed with protesters in the early hours after they had blocked off a major road bridge. He said that police had used teargas to try to break up the fighting.
Well over 200 people have been killed in violence since the army toppled Mursi on July 3, following huge protests against his year in power. The army denies accusations it staged a coup, saying it intervened to prevent national chaos.
The Arab world's most populous state is battling economic woes and struggling with the transition to democracy two years after Hosni Mubarak was swept from power in the Arab Spring.
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians had poured onto the streets on Friday in response to a call by army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for nationwide demonstrations to give him backing to confront the weeks-long wave of violence.
His appeal was seen as a challenge to the Brotherhood, which organized its own rallies on Friday calling for the return of Mursi, who has been held in an undisclosed location since his ousting and faces a raft of charges, including murder.
Brotherhood leaders appealed for calm on Saturday, but activists at the Rabaa al-Adawia mosque vigil voiced fury.
"The people want the execution of Sisi," a cleric shouted to the crowd from a stage by the mosque. "The people want the execution of the butcher."
Interior Minister Ibrahim said the pro-Mursi sit-ins would "God willing, soon ... be dealt with" based on a decision by a public prosecutor, who is reviewing complaints from local residents unhappy with the huge encampment on their doorstep..........
There may be little the United States can do to end the savage bloodletting in Egypt, but at least our nation can be loyal to its ideals by bearing witness and telling the truth. In this, President Obama has failed.
A day after Egypt’s military-backed “interim” government slaughtered hundreds of protesters and assumed sweeping emergency powers, Obama still could not bring himself to call what is happening a coup d’etat. Speaking from Martha’s Vineyard, he described it as an “intervention.” In Cairo, meanwhile, authorities were still counting the bodies of those slain in Wednesday’s massacre.
As of this writing, the government has acknowledged 638 dead. The Muslim Brotherhood, whose protest encampments were targeted in the crackdown, claims there are more than 2,000 victims. There was no estimate of how many Brotherhood activists throughout Egypt have been rounded up.
Images of the brutal assault were shocking. Troops opened fire on unarmed demonstrators without warning. The interior minister’s claim that soldiers did not use live ammunition was the kind of bald-faced lie that only repressive governments think they can get away with; Western correspondents described seeing protesters cut down by sniper fire, as well as coming under fire themselves.
A Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed el-Beltagi, spoke defiantly to reporters shortly after learning that his 17-year-old daughter, Asmaa, was among the dead. An unidentified woman stood in front of a government bulldozer, blocking its way and protecting an injured young man, in a tableau reminiscent of the famous photograph from Tiananmen Square in which a man faced down a line of tanks.
I can think of many words to describe such scenes. “Intervention” is not one of them.
Obama announced that in response to the violence, he is canceling a planned U.S.-Egypt joint military exercise. This is supposed to send a message of disapproval to the generals while still retaining influence and leverage.
The same rationale keeps Obama from calling what has happened to Egypt by its proper name. Using the word “coup” would require the United States to cut off $1.3 billion in military aid — and thus surrender the usefulness of long-standing military-to-military relationships.
But it should be clear by now that this policy is chasing a mirage. Those back-channel connections with the Egyptian generals didn’t stop them from deposing President Mohamed Morsi, which the United States had warned against. Those old-boy relationships didn’t prevent Wednesday’s assault to clear the protest camps, which the United States had also warned against. When is the administration going to realize that Cairo isn’t listening?
Even some supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood acknowledge that Morsi was not a very good president. As Obama noted Thursday, “His government was not inclusive and did not respect the views of all Egyptians.” It is likely that a majority wanted someone else in office who would take the country’s nascent democracy in a different direction.
But the way to oust elected leaders is with ballots, not bullets. How can the United States claim to stand for democracy and ignore this fundamental precept? How could Secretary of State John F. Kerry say, as he did earlier this month, that the Egyptian military was “in effect . . . restoring democracy” by seizing power and throwing the president in jail?
Since the most Westernized segments of Egyptian society were among Morsi’s opponents — and were calling for a coup — perhaps U.S. officials had some reason to hope that there would be a quick return to democracy and even that the next elected government would be more to the administration’s liking.
But such an outcome — which was never likely, history shows — would have required the interim government and its military strongman, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, to rule in the spirit of reconciliation. It would have required renewing the Muslim Brotherhood’s faith in the political process, which would have meant making accommodations and concessions.
Instead, the new government chose the iron fist.
With Wednesday’s carnage, the military — perhaps deliberately — has weakened Muslim Brotherhood moderates who favored giving democracy a chance, while strengthening extremists who advocate violence. When there are more church burnings, when there are more attacks on police stations and army outposts, the military will use such atrocities as excuses for ever more brutal repression.
U.S. officials can no longer harbor illusions about the nature of the Egyptian coup or the prospects for genuine democracy. Obama should speak the truth and cut off military aid.
“America cannot determine the future of Egypt,” the president said. Which means the least we can do is stand for what we believe.
BEFORE THE July 3 coup in Egypt, the Obama administration privately warned the armed forces against ousting the government of Mohamed Morsi, pointing to U.S. legislation that requires the cutoff of aid to any country where the army plays a “decisive role” in removing an elected government. Yet when the generals ignored the U.S. warnings, the White House responded by electing to disregard the law itself. After a prolonged and embarrassing delay, the State Department announced that it had chosen not to determine whether a coup had taken place, and Secretary of State John F. Kerry declared that Egypt’s military was “restoring democracy.”
Because of those decisions, the Obama administration is complicit in the new and horrifyingly bloody crackdown launched Wednesday by the de facto regime against tens of thousands of protesters who had camped out in two Cairo squares. At least 278 people were reported killed, including many women and children. Chaos erupted around Egypt as angry mobs stormed Christian churches, which went largely unprotected by security forces. The military imposed a state of emergency, essentially returning Egypt to the autocratic status quo that existed before the 2011 revolution.
This refusal to take a firm stand against massive violations of human rights is as self-defeating for the United States as it is unconscionable. Continued U.S. support for the Egyptian military is helping to push the country toward a new dictatorship rather than a restored democracy. Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, the coup leader, increasingly is styling himself as a national savior in the mode of such former dictators asGamal Abdel Nasser; Wednesday’s bloody assault represents his crushing of civilian moderates in the interim cabinet who had called for compromise with Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Appropriately, their leader, Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, resigned.
It is difficult to imagine how the assault on the Brotherhood, which won multiple elections and is still supported by millions of Egyptians, can be followed by a credible transition to democracy. More likely, it will lead Egypt toward still greater violence. It may be that outside powers cannot now change this tragic course of events. But if the United States wishes to have some chance to influence a country that has been its close ally for four decades, it must immediately change its policy toward the armed forces. That means the complete suspension of all aid and cooperation, coupled with the message that relations will resume when — and if — the generals end their campaign of repression and take tangible steps to restore democracy.
This refusal to take a firm stand against massive violations of human rights ...
The Egyptian defense minister has ordered the repair and reconstruction of all churches that suffered damage in the country’s violent demonstrations since the Egyptian military removed President Mohamed Morsi from power last month.
Defense minister Col. Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi intends to fix the damage to Coptic churches at Rabaa Adaweya and Nahda squares, according to a report by the Mid-East Christian News.
Dozens of churches were attacked and burned in riots after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities to demand the end of what they call military rule, following the removal of Morsi on July 3. Many of Morsi's supporters have voiced criticism at Egypt's Christian minority for largely supporting the military's decision to oust him from office.
“The Egyptian defense minister ordered the engineering department of the armed forces to swiftly repair all the affected churches, in recognition of the historical and national role played by our Coptic brothers,” read a statement that aired on Egyptian television.......
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/08/16/egyptian-military-chief-vows-to-rebuild-coptic-churches/#ixzz2c9wGCmBH
I hesitate to respond in a thread started by this poster but...no one else is talking about the events of Egypt.
Oh come on. Gungasnake is one of the good guys.
As for our aid to Egypt, I'm pretty sure that it is tied solely to the question of whether Egypt adheres to their treaties with Israel
It’s not about Democracy: Top Ten Reasons Washington is Reluctant to cut off Egypt Aid
1. The US doesn’t give much aid to the Egyptian people per se. Only $250 mn a year out of $1.55 bn is civilian. The aid is to cement a relationship between the Egyptian officer corps and the Pentagon.
2. The military aid, $1.3 billion a year, is mostly in-kind, a grant of weaponry . It must be spent on US weapons manufacturers. It is US arms manufacturers like Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics (and their employees) who would suffer if it were cut off.
3. The Congress gave the Egyptian Generals a credit card to buy weapons, and they’ve run up $3 billion on it for F-16s and M1A1 tanks. If the US cancelled aid, the US government would still have to pick up that bill.
4. Even most of the civilian aid is required to be spent on US goods and materiel. It is corporate welfare for the US
5. The aid was given as a bribe to the Egyptian elite to make nice with Israel. Given the chaos in Sinai, and Egypt’s instability, Congress is more worried about that issue than at any time in 40 years.
6. The Israelis asked the US not to suspend the aid.
7. Congress even structured the economic aid to require some of it help joint Israeli-Egyptian enterprises in Egypt, so some of the aid to Egypt actually goes to . . . Israel.
8. It is not generally recognized, but the Egyptian military provides a security umbrella to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE against Iran (and sometimes Iraq). The Gulf oil states also have powerful Washington lobbies and want Egypt to continue as a Gurkha force. Children, can you say oil?
9. Many in Congress don’t actually disagree with the generals’ actions in overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party and driving it underground, since they agree it is a terrorist organization
10. Behind the scenes Egyptian military intelligence has helped the US track down Muslim extremists and in the Mubarak era ran black sites where they tortured suspected al-Qaeda for Washington. The US deep state would like to ramp that relationship back up.
Inside the field hospital in Mostafa Mahmoud mosque, doctors were resuscitating a man, shot in the head, whose eyes had burst out of their sockets from the pressure. Five bodies were laid out on top of each other in a makeshift morgue too small to hold all the dead. You could tell when the next casualty was coming in from the tsunami of screams and cries coming down the corridor. Chest wounds, head wounds; all from live ammo. 22 dead.
I spoke to people who saw armed Brotherhood yesterday. But does that justify what happened? Did the fact Hamas had rockets justify what happened during Operation Cast Lead in 2008? Then too an organized security force pummelled retribution on hundreds of civilians for the alleged crimes of a few. People justified that too, sided with authority. Collective punishment on dubious charges.
Worse still, on Wednesday night, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim thanked the police for showing “self-restraint.” He then vowed to return Egypt to the halcyon stability of the Mubarak era.
"I promise that as soon as conditions stabilize and the Egyptian street stabilizes, as soon as possible, security will be restored to this nation as if it was before January 25, and more," he said, according to Reuters.
It's an amazing statement. Of course Egypt could be said to have been more stable under Hosni Mubarak. Police states are good for stability. It's the word they've been writing in Lucida Handwriting on the “Egypt: Good for Business” brochure handed out at US State Department events for years. But for a government supposedly acting in the name of the 25 January revolution, this takes a special dose of doublethink. Sisi and the government are getting comfortable.
And so the old regime is back, this time with a new face, new tactics. Mubarak is in prison but the security state is back on the streets with impunity. You can argue Mohamed Morsy created this. But Egypt is back in the grip of fascism, and it's not the Brotherhood in power this time.
Police brutality was one of the driving forces of Jan25, now the so-called revolution cheers it on. It's time to admit that Jan25 has been claimed, counter-claimed and co-opted for so long, it has begun to eat itself. And it's Egypt's army and police who are responsible.
If Egypt wants to regain its revolution, its the security state it needs to take on. In the meantime, Egyptians will have to make do with an old regime making a comeback.
Like all terrorist organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood has only one commodity to trade in. Blood.
In the war of ideas for the future of Egypt, the Brotherhood had nothing to offer but the blood of its followers and victims. It has no new ideas. It has no record of accomplishments. It has no vision for the future except the same old corruption and authoritarianism cloaked in a deceptive Islamist garb.
The outcome of any interaction with the Brotherhood could have been predicted from its motto; “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
In the streets of Egyptian cities, Muslim Brotherhood activists achieved their highest hope. They died in their Jihad against the liberal opposition and the military, fighting against human rights for women and Christians, against multi-party rule, freedom of speech, museums, libraries and the future in the way that the armies of Allah have died for over a thousand years.
Some died trying to kill Egyptian soldiers and police officers. Others were killed by their own people in order to maximize the death toll and spread shock and horror through the international community.
Like their Hamas outlet in Gaza, like their Syrian brigades who have wrecked entire cities and filled them with corpses, and like Al Qaeda, whose leaders have always been Muslim Brotherhood members; the Brotherhood does not care whose blood it spills.
When your highest hope is dying for Allah, then everything else is a detail. The Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders, men like Morsi and Khairat el-Shater, are far less eager to die for Allah. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s mad genocidal preacher, is still hiding out in Qatar and spewing calls for violence from under the skirts of the equally cowardly Qatari Emir, who finances the Brotherhood’s wave of death and terror in the region while living it up in his palaces.
In his final speech, Morsi boasted of his willingness to sacrifice his blood for power. The Brotherhood’s preacher of hate, Qaradawi, urged Jihadists from around the world to come and be martyred in Egypt.
For the wealthy titans of the Brotherhood, their followers are pawns to be disposed of, human shields for their political ambitions. The Muslim Brotherhood spent their blood generously during the clashes with Egyptian police the same way that Hamas and Hezbollah spill the blood of their own people.
What it bought with their blood is the outrage of the world. Terrorist organizations are one-trick ponies. They unleash horrifying violence, blame it on the brutality of the authorities and wait for the world to step in and apply pressure on whatever government they are trying to overthrow.
The Brotherhood’s leaders knew that. Their speeches amping up their followers for a deadly struggle created the tension that exploded into brutal violence.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders followed the oldest traditions of Islam by offering their followers paradise and atonement in exchange for unleashing their darkest passions. That the unleashing should have ended in hundreds of deaths is not at all unprecedented in the many wars and conflicts of Islam.
What any normal person would consider a massacre, the Muslim Brotherhood considers an opportunity.
The Muslim Brotherhood used the blood of its followers as currency to buy international outrage that will be used to pressure Egypt into releasing Brotherhood leaders like Morsi and and Khairat el-Shater. It wanted the clashes to be as ugly and bloody as possible. It wanted to outrage the world because it knew that was the speediest way of getting its leaders out of their prison cells and back into power.
These murderous tactics would be useless if the United States and Europe weren’t full of useful idiots and fellow travelers, in and out of the media, gasping at the carnage and demanding an immediate halt to the violence. There is only one way to halt the violence and that is to crush the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt has only had peace by suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood. It will only have peace when the Muslim Brotherhood is suppressed once again. The last two years have shown that there can be no peace with the Muslim Brotherhood.
In or out of power, the Brotherhood is murderous, intolerant and ruthlessly bent on absolute power.
Responding to the carnage with new calls for an end to foreign aid is an explicit form of collaboration in the Muslim Brotherhood’s atrocities and the surest way to ensure that they will be repeated. Egypt may deserve to lose its foreign aid, but issuing such calls now is handing a victory to the world’s worst terrorist organization and giving it every incentive to up the body count next time around.
The calls for Brotherhood participation in an Egyptian government are senseless insanity. Is there room for a movement that seeks nothing but death in the ranks of any government? Should murderous madness on such a scale really be the currency that purchases power? Should the burners of churches and the torturers of peaceful protesters be rewarded with power a second time?
Western governments fear escalation in Egypt. And that fear is the secret weapon of every terrorist group. The terrorist groups always escalate, spending their currency of blood cheaply to break the will of their enemies. The only way to break that cycle is to out-escalate them by showing that their currency of blood is worthless because the people and governments they are terrorizing will not be bent under its terrible weight.
Wars aren’t won through de-escalation, but through escalation. America lost in Afghanistan because it wasn’t willing to fight harder and bloodier than the Taliban. The Egyptian government has shown that it is willing to match the Muslim Brotherhood’s ruthlessness without backing down.
To reward the courage of the Egyptian soldiers and police who fought the Muslim Brotherhood in the streets by forcing their government to stand down and surrender to the terrorists who nearly turned Egypt into a second Iran is an unmitigated crime. It is a crime whose consequences will not only be felt by the women and Christians of Egypt, but by all of us.
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In Egypt there is an interesting choice. Do you protect Christians, or do you protect Democracy?