Lessons To Be Learned After North Africa and the Global Political Aftermath
Millions March in Egyptian Protests
One year after the inauguration of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, millions of Egyptians marched in city streets and squares across the country, calling for Morsi to resign. Hundreds of thousands of Morsi supporters held competing demonstrations, in some cases, clashing with opponents. Two years after people power toppled the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's young democracy remains crippled by bitter divisions, as many of those responsible for Mubarak's downfall have been shut out of Morsi's administration. Fears of violence remain high, with Morsi's Islamist supporters vowing to defend him -- 16 have been killed already. Egypt's powerful armed forces gave Morsi an ultimatum today, demanding he share power, urging the nation's feuding politicians to agree on an inclusive roadmap for the country's future within 48 hours, or the military would take unspecified actions.
A military helicopter is illuminated by green laser lights from below, as it flies above Tahrir Square while a huge crowd of protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans against him and Brotherhood members, in Cairo, on June 30, 2013. Egyptians poured onto the streets on Sunday, swelling crowds that numbered into the millions, calling on Islamist President Mohamed Morsi to resign.(Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi protest outside the presidential palace, in Cairo, on June 30, 2013.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #
Egyptian protesters shout slogans and wave national flags during a demonstration against Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in Tahrir Square in Cairo, on July 1, 2013. (AP Photo/ Amr Nabil) #
Anti-Morsi protesters (bottom) and residents of an area in Sidi Gaber, clash in a side street off a main street where a massive anti-Morsi protest is taking place, in Alexandria, Egypt, on June 30, 2013. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih) #
An injured protester is carried from the site of clashes between supporters and opponents of Egypt's Islamist president in Alexandria, on June 28, 2013. (AP Photo) #
Supporters of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi rally in Nasser City, Cairo, on June 30, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of opponents of Egypt's Islamist president poured out onto the streets in Cairo and across much of the nation Sunday, launching an all-out push to force Mohammed Morsi from office on the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. Fears of violence were high, with Morsi's Islamist supporters vowing to defend him. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #
Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi hold a rally in Nasser City, Cairo, on June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #
A supporter of President Mohammed Morsi demonstrates his fighting skills during a rally in Nasser City, Cairo, on June 30, 2013.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #
Supporters of President Mohammed Morsi stand in formation with sticks as they prepare to protect the presidential palace in Nasser City, Cairo, on June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Virginie Nguyen Hoang) #
Supporters of President Mohammed Morsi pose for a photograph in their improvised protective equipment as they prepare to protect the presidential palace in Nasser City, Cairo, on June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Virginie Nguyen Hoang) #
Opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi march towards the presidential palace in Cairo, on June 30, 2013.(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) #
A girl, with colors of the Egyptian flag and the word "leave" painted on her face, attends a protest against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in front of El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo, on June 30, 2013. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
Egyptian opposition protesters chant during a demonstration in Tahrir Square as part of the "Tamarod" campaign, on June 30, 2013 in Cairo. The Tamarod campaign, organized by a coalition of opposition political groups, aims to bring down the government of President Morsi through country-wide demonstrations. (Ed Giles/Getty Images) #
Egyptian protesters chant slogans against President Mohammed Morsi during a rally in Tahrir Square, on June 30, 2013.(AP Photo/Manu Brabo) #
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square during a demonstration against President Mohammed Morsi, on June 30, 2013.(AP Photo/ Manu Brabo) #
An opponent of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, with his face painted with the colors of the Egyptian flag, stands outside the presidential palace in Cairo, on July 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #
Opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi pray during a protest calling for his ouster at Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square, on June 30, 2013. (Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Egyptian flag flies above protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, during a protest at Tahrir Square, on June 30, 2013.(Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) #
Egyptian anti-President Mohammed Morsi protesters sit on lamp poles as one holds a national flag in Tahrir Square, on June 30, 2013. Cairo Tower is seen in the background. (AP Photo/ Amr Nabil) #
Egyptian protesters wave their hands and hold national flags during anti-President Mohammed Morsi demonstration in Tahrir Square, on June 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil) #
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi gather during a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Cairo, on June 30, 2013.(Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) #
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi gather during a demonstration in Tahrir Square, on June 30, 2013.(Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) #
Opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi protest outside the presidential palace in Cairo, on June 30, 2013.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #
Laser lights are directed at a military helicopter flying over the presidential palace by Egyptian protestors in Cairo, as hundreds of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators gather during a protest calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, on June 30, 2013.(Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images) #
Egyptian protestors shine laser lights on a military helicopter flying over the presidential palace in Cairo, on June 30, 2013, as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gather during a protest calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.(Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images) #
Opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi look at a military helicopter lit up by protesters' laser pointers as it flies over the presidential palace, in Cairo, on June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi set off fireworks during a protest in Tahrir Square, on June 30, 2013.(Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) #
An Egyptian protester mocks President Mohammed Morsi as tens of thousands of Egyptians flock the streets outside the presidential palace protesting against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, on June 30, 2013. (Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images) #
Opponents of President Mohammed Morsi light fireworks at a protest outside the presidential palace, in Cairo, on June 30, 2013.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #
Egyptians opposed to President Mohamed Morsi set fire to the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in the Moqattam district during clashes in Cairo, on June 30, 2013. (AFP/Getty Images) #
Protesters opposing President Mohamed Mursi hold the metal signage of the national headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood after attacking it in Cairo's Moqattam district, on June 30, 2013. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
A protester opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi throws Molotov cocktails at the national headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, on June 30, 2013. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
A man inside the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters throws objects towards anti-government protesters throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails and fireworks at the building in Cairo's Moqattam district, on June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Brian Rohan) #
A protester who opposes Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi runs after a Molotov cocktails burn him during an attack on the national headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, on June 30, 2013. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
Smoke rises over the skyline of Cairo, on th morning of July 1, 2013. Four Egyptian ministers resigned from the government on Monday, a cabinet official said, a day after protesters poured onto streets to demand President Mohamed Morsi resign.(Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
Protesters ransack the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo, on July 1, 2013. Protesters stormed and ransacked the headquarters of President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group early Monday, in an attack that could spark more violence as demonstrators gear up for a second day of mass rallies aimed at forcing the Islamist leader from power. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #
Egyptian men inspect the burnt headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, on July 1, 2013 after it was set ablaze by opposition demonstrators overnight. (Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Egyptian man shows spent bullet casings outside the burnt headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, on July 1, 2013.(Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images) #
Protesters, opposing President Mohammed Morsi, pray during a protest demanding that Morsi resign in Tahrir Square, on July 1, 2013.(Reuters/Suhaib Salem) #
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi take part in a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo, on July 1, 2013.(Reuters/Suhaib Salem)
Egypt in chaos: 10 dead as protesters marching in support of ousted president Morsi are met by tanks and Muslim Brotherhood's top leader is arrested
PUBLISHED: 19:04 EST, 4 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:18 EST, 5 July 2013
The deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood has been arrested as tens of thousands of tens of thousands of former President Mohamed Morsi’s supporters tried to march towards the military barracks in Cairo where he is being held by the military that overthrew him.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said Khairat el-Shater, considered the most powerful man in the organisation, has been arrested.
At least 10 people were killed today as clashes raged from day to night with military armored vehicles racing across a Nile River bridge in a counter assault on Morsi's supporters.
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Egyptian opponents of ousted President Morsi surround an armoured vehicle on a bridge leading to Tahrir Square this evening
Opponents of ousted President Morsi holding a poster depicting Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi
Supporters of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi march in protest of his removal
Khayrat al-Shater has reportedly been arrested today after thousands demonstrated in support of Morsi
Spokesman Hani Abdel-Latif says el-Shater and his brother were arrested late Friday from an apartment in eastern Cairo on allegations of inciting violence against protesters in recent days.
El-Shater, a wealthy businessman, is the deputy of the Brotherhood's supreme leader, but has long been considered the group's most powerful decision-maker. He was the group's original candidate for the presidency but was disqualified for a past prison sentence. Mohammed Morsi ran in his place and became Egypt's first freely elected president.
Morsi supporters demonstrated in cities across the country today with stone-throwing, firecrackers and gunfire on what his Muslim Brotherhood called a 'Friday of rage' against what they describe as a military coup that toppled Egypt's first elected leader a year after he took office.
Mayhem nationwide left at least 10 people dead and 210 wounded as Morsi supporters vowed to reverse the military's removal of the country's first freely elected president. Among the dead were four killed when troops opened fire on a peaceful march by Islamists on the Republican Guard headquarters.
Mohammed Badie said: 'God make Morsi victorious and bring him back to the palace. We are his soldiers we defend him with our lives.'
Badie addressed the military, saying it was a matter of honor for it to abide by its pledge of loyalty to the president, in what appeared to be an attempt to pull it away from its leadership that removed Morsi. 'Your leader is Morsi ... Return to the people of Egypt. Your bullets are not to be fired on your sons and your own people.'
After nightfall, moments after Badie's speech, a large crowed of Islamists surged across 6th October Bridge over the Nile toward Tahrir Square, where a giant crowd of Morsi's opponents had been massed all day. Battles broke out there at near the neighboring state TV building with gunfire and stone throwing and burning car barricade at an exit ramp.
Nighttime clashes raged with stone-throwing, firecrackers and gunfire, and military armored vehicles raced across a Nile River bridge
A woman prays with supporters of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during Friday prayers
'They are firing at us, sons of dogs, where is the army,' one Morsi opponent shouted, as another was brought to medics with his jeans soaked in blood from wounds in his legs. Army troops deployed on another Nile bridge leading into Tahrir, sealing it off with barbed wire and armored vehicles.
Later at least seven armored personnel carriers moved across the bridge, chasing away the Morsi supporters. Young civilians jumped onto the roofs of the APCs, shouting insults at the Islamists and chanting, 'The people and army are one hand.'
Earlier today in Cairo, a crowd of Islamists surged across a bridge over the Nile River after nightfall and clashed with Morsi opponents near Tahrir Square and outside the state TV building. One witness reports gunfire and stone throwing.
A witness said he saw several people fall to the ground, wounded by shotgun pellets. Security sources said at least three demonstrators were killed when security forces opened fire.
Supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi rush to help a man who was shot during a gun battle outside the Cairo headquarters of the Republican Guard
Violence: The body of a Morsi supporter is seen on the ground after he was shot dead, allegedly by police, during the clashes in Cairo on Friday
Violence: Shots were fired during a gathering of supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo after backers of Morsi staged huge protests in the capital and across the country
Egyptian protesters carry the an injured supporter of ousted President Mohamed Morsi after he was shot during the clashes next the headquarters of the Republican Guard, in Cairo
A second spring: Fighting between supporters of Islamist leader Morsi and opponents have raised fears of deadly street violence in Egypt
Injured: BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen was hit' by a couple of shotgun pellets.' Her tweeted: 'Am fine and heading out'
Thousands of Islamists also took to the streets of Alexandria and Assiut to protest against the army's ouster of Morsi and reject a planned interim government backed by their liberal opponents.
In the Suez city of Ismailia, soldiers fired into the air as Morsi supporters tried to break into the governor's office. The Islamists retreated and there were no casualties, security sources said.
Egypt's liberal coalition issued an 'urgent call' for its supporters to take to the streets in response to Islamist protests, raising the risk of clashes between the rival groups.
In Damanhour, capital of the Beheira province in the Nile Delta, 21 people were wounded in violence between the factions.
Ehab el-Ghoneimy, manager of the Damanhour general hospital said three people had been wounded with live bullets, others were wounded with birdshot, rocks, or had been hit with rods.
Hoda Ghaneya, a leading female figure in the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) political arm, said she and two of her sons accompanying her at a Cairo rally after Friday prayers were ready to sacrifice themselves to the cause.
'We will die not as a sacrifice for Mursi, but so the Egyptian people recover their freedom,' she said near the Rabaa Adaweya mosque in a Cairo suburb that has been the centre of Islamist protests in the last few days.
A state of emergency has been declared in Suez and South Sinai provinces after gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades at army checkpoints guarding an airport and attacked a police station.
One soldier was killed and two wounded as Islamist allies of Egypt's ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, called on people to retaliate today to express outrage at the coup.
Dozens of people were wounded in clashes in Mursi's Nile Delta home city on Thursday, raising fears of more of the violence in which several dozen have died in the past month.
The planned protests have the slogan 'Friday of Rejection'. Outside the Rabaa Adaweya mosque in a Cairo suburb, where Morsi supporters have gathered over the last week, the army deployed extra armoured vehicles several hundred metres from makeshift barricades.
Thousands of people milled around the area, while a group of about 50 men shouted pro-Morsi slogans.
'Down, down with military rule!' they chanted. 'We call for jihad in the whole country.'
In the skies above the teeming city, the airforce staged fly-pasts, with jets leaving red, white and black smoke streams - representing the Egyptian flag - behind them in a show of force the military has employed frequently since Morsi's ouster.
A military source said: 'We will continue to secure the places of protest with troops, and jets if necessary, to make sure the pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators don't confront each other. We will let them demonstrate and go where they want.'
Egypt's military moved swiftly against top Muslim Brotherhood figures, targeting the backbone of support for Morsi.
In the most dramatic step, authorities arrested the group's revered leader from a seaside villa and flew him by helicopter to detention in the capital.
Egyptian Republican Guards forces stand guard behind barbed wire outside the headquarters of the Republican Guard. At least six have been killed
Fellow protesters place an Egyptian flag on the body of a protester shot dead during clashes in Cairo as supporters for the ousted Islamist leader came out in force
Supporters of the ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi shout protest - security forces shot dead at least three Muslim Brotherhood supporters today
Preparation: Opponents of Egypt's ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi place barbed wires to secure an entrance to Tahrir Square from a possible attack by Morsi supporters
Aggression: Muslim Brotherhood supporters shout religious and political slogans during a protest near Cairo University
Open fire: A witness said he saw several people fall to the ground, wounded by shotgun pellets. Security sources said at least three demonstrators were killed when security forces opened fire
Chaos: An explosion startles Morsi supporters who momentarily stop throwing stones at police officers nearby, during a protest in Cairo University
Armed: A Morsi supporter stands on guard holding a stick and a home-made shield prepared for clashes with police
As the Egyptian military rounded up top figures of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, protests spread on the streets of Cairo with fatal resutls as police and supporters clashed
A Morsi supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood holds a picture bearing the slogan 'No alternative for the legitimacy' during a protest near Cairo University
The other side: Protesters on the opposing side - against former President Mohamed Morsi - perform Friday prayers at Tahrir square in Cairo as violence spread in the other camp
Fighting back: In another part of Cairo, Morsi opponents secured the entrance to Tahrir Square after Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood called for a wave of protests Friday
New day: A poster of ousted President Mohamed Morsi is hanged on barbed wire as Republican Guards forces keep watch outside the headquarters of the Republican Guard, in Cairo
Making their mark: Egyptian army helicopters, with the national flag hanging from them, fly over Cairo today. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has called for mass rallies this afternoon to protest the army's overthrow of Mohamed Morsi
Tension: Egyptian soldiers stand guard on top of an armoured vehicle at the border between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip. A state of emergency has been declared in Suez and South Sinai provinces after gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades at army checkpoints
Tension: Supporters of the overthrown President Morsi pray - one soldier was killed and two wounded as Islamist allies of Egypt's ousted president, called on people to retaliate today to express outrage at the coup
Celebrations: An Egyptian protester flashes v signs for military aircraft forming a heart shape trails in the sky over Tahrir Square today
Show: In the skies above the teeming city, the airforce staged fly-pasts, with jets leaving red, white and black smoke streams - representing the Egyptian flag - behind them in a show of force the military has employed frequently since Morsi's ouster
Revolt: A protester, who supports former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, chants slogans during a rally near Cairo University after Friday prayers in Cairo
Reporting: BBC's Jeremy Bowen tweets from the Cairo protests
With a top judge newly sworn in as interim president to replace Mr Morsi, the crackdown poses an immediate test to the new army-backed leadership's promises to guide Egypt to democracy - how to include the 83-year-old fundamentalist group.
Hosni Mubarak and previous authoritarian regimes banned the group and after his fall, the newly-legalised Brotherhood shot to power in elections, with veteran member Mr Morsi becoming the country's first freely-elected president.
Now the group is reeling under a huge backlash from a public that says the Brotherhood and its Islamist allies abused their electoral mandate. The military forced Mr Morsi out on Wednesday after millions of Egyptians turned out in four days of protests demanding he be removed.
Adly Mansour, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, with which Mr Morsi had repeated confrontations, was sworn in as interim president.
In his inaugural speech, broadcast nationwide, he said the anti-Morsi protests that began June 30 had 'corrected the path of the glorious revolution of January 25', referring to the 2011 uprising that toppled Mubarak.
He also praised the army, police, media and judiciary for standing against the Brotherhood.
He also used his inauguration to hold out an olive branch to the Brotherhood and promised elections – without indicating when they would be.
‘The Muslim Brotherhood are part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation as nobody will be excluded, and if they respond to the invitation, they will be welcomed,’ said the senior judge. Promising to safeguard ‘the spirit of the revolution’ that removed Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011, he said he would ‘put an end to the idea of worshipping the leader’.
GRAPHIC content. Injuries as Egyptian army shoots dead at least three supporters
In support: Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members and ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi supporters rally in his support at Raba Al Adaawyia mosque in Cairo
Rally: Social networking sites and mosques are being used to rally support for the democratically elected president who has been put under house arrest
Gathering: Thousands of the democratically elected president's supporters gather at Raba Al Adaawyia mosque
Celebration: Meanwhile, people continue to dance and cheer in Tahrir Square, following the ousting of Mohammed Morsi
Skyline: A helicopter fly-past over protesters against ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, in Tahrir Square
Furious over what it calls a military coup against democracy, the Brotherhood said it would not work with the new leadership. It and harder-line Islamist allies called for a wave of protests today, dubbing it the 'Friday of Rage' and vowing to escalate if the military did not back down.
There are widespread fears of Islamist violence in retaliation for Mr Morsi's removal and already some former militant extremists have vowed to fight.
Brotherhood officials urged their followers to keep their protests peaceful. 'We declare our complete rejection of the military coup staged against the elected president and the will of the nation,' it said in a statement, read by senior cleric Abdel-Rahman el-Barr to a crowd outside the Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo.
'We refuse to participate in any activities with the usurping authorities.'
The Rabia al-Adawiya protesters plan to march to the Ministry of Defence today.
A military statement last night appeared to signal a wider wave of arrests was not in the offing. A spokesman, Col Ahmed Mohammed Ali, said in a Facebook posting that that the army and security forces would not take 'any exceptional or arbitrary measures' against any political group.
Presence: The Egyptian Army line up across the road near the Presidential Palace, one day after the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi
Celebration: Egyptian military jets fly in formation over Cairo as the head of Egypt's constitution court Adli Mansour is sworn in as the interim head of state
Gathering: Egyptian soldiers secure the area around Nasser City, where Muslim Brotherhood supporters have gathered to support ousted president Mohammed Morsi, in Cairo
Many of the Brotherhood's opponents want senior figures prosecuted for what they say were crimes committed during Mr Morsi's rule, just as Mubarak was prosecuted for protester deaths during the 2011 uprising. In the past year, dozens were killed in clashes with Brotherhood supporters and security forces.
But the swift moves raise perceptions of a revenge campaign against the Brotherhood.
The National Salvation Front, the top opposition political group during Mr Morsi's presidency and a key member of the coalition that worked with the military in his removal, criticiced the moves, saying: 'We totally reject excluding any party, particularly political Islamic groups.'
The Front has proposed one of its top leaders, Mohammed ElBaradei, to become prime minister of the interim cabinet, a post that will hold strong powers since Mr Mansour's presidency post is considered symbolic. Mr ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace laureate who once headed the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, is considered Egypt's top reform advocate.
'Reconciliation is the name of the game, including the Muslim Brotherhood. We need to be inclusive,' Munir Fakhry Abdel-Nour, a leading member of the group, said. 'The detentions are a mistake.'
He said the arrests appeared to be prompted by security officials' fears over possible calls for violence by Brotherhood leaders.
Mr Morsi has been detained in an unknown location since Wednesday night and at least a dozen of his top aides and advisers have been under what is described as 'house arrest', though their locations are also unknown.
Besides the Brotherhood's top leader, General Guide Mohammed Badie, security officials have also arrested his predecessor Mahdi Akef and one of his two deputies, Rashad Bayoumi, as well as Saad el-Katatni, head of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, and ultra-conservative Salafi figure Hazem Abu Ismail, who has a considerable street following.
VIDEO: Forces open fire on Cairo crowd killing three, wounding many
Standing guard: Members of the Egyptian military at a roadblock in the Cairo district of Giza the morning after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power
On alert: Troops and armoured vehicles were deployed in the streets of Cairo and elsewhere to surround Islamist rallies over fears of a violent reaction to the coup
Time for change: People dance and cheer in Cairo's Tahrir Square at news that President Morsi has been held under house arrest
Detained: Supreme leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie (left) has been arrested over the killing of eight protesters during the uprising which toppled President Morsi (right), security officials revealed today
Weeding them out: Arrest warrants have been issued for 300 members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood party
Authorities have also issued a wanted list for more than 200 Brotherhood members and leaders of other Islamist groups. Among them is Khairat el-Shater, another deputy of the general guide who is widely considered the most powerful figure in the Brotherhood.
The arrest of Gen Badie was a dramatic step, since even Mubarak and his predecessors had been reluctant to move against the group's top leader. The ranks of Brotherhood members across the country swear a strict oath of unquestioning allegiance to the general guide, vowing to 'hear and obey'. It has been decades since any Brotherhood general guide was put in prison.
Gen Badie and Mr el-Shater were widely believed by the opposition to be the real power in Egypt during Mr Morsi's tenure. Gen Badie was arrested late on Wednesday from a villa where he had been staying in the Mediterranean coastal city of Marsa Matrouh and flown by helicopter to Cairo, security officials said.
ELECTION TO REJECTION: WHY MORSI WAS THROWN OUT AFTER JUST A YEAR... AND WHAT HAPPENS NOW
Why was President Morsi ousted?
When Mohamed Morsi became Egypt's first freely elected president in June 2012 after the removal of dictator Hosni Mubarak, he promised to lead a government 'for all Egyptians'.
But critics argue he has failed to deliver during a turbulent year in office which has seen increasing polarisation in the country.
Opponents blame him for allowing Islamists to dominate the political scene by concentrating too much power in the hands of his Muslim Brotherhood movement.
He is also accused of mishandling the economy and going back on his pledge to protect rights and social justice.
His opponents say the mass turnout on the streets over the past few days showed the nation had now truly turned against him.
How did it end?
The protests prompted the military to impose an ultimatum on July 1 ordering him to satisfy the public's demands for fresh elections or it would impose its own 'roadmap' within 48 hours to end the crisis.
But president Morsi showed no signs of backing down, so last night, the military carried out its threat.
He is now being held under house arrest along with 12 of his aides, while warrants are out for 300 of his Brotherhood men.
What happens next?
The Egyptian military is not hanging around in implementing its 'roadmap' for the country.
What was unveiled by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in full uniform, flanked by politicians, officers and clergy, was a plan to wipe clear a slate of messy democratic reforms enacted since Mubarak fell.
The constitution was suspended and within hours of President Morsi's downfall, thesenior judge in Egypt's supreme constitutional court, Adly Mansour, pictured, was sworn in as interim president earlier today.
A technocratic interim government will be formed, along with a panel for national reconciliation and the constitution will be reviewed.
As yet there is no timetable for new elections.
Liberal chief negotiator Mohamed ElBaradei, a former U.N. nuclear agency chief, said the plan would 'continue the revolution' of 2011.
Many hope they can have more electoral success than last year, when the Brotherhood's organisation dominated the vote.
What isn't certain, however, is whether the party will take part or whether they will even want to.
Morsi won 5.7million votes in the first round of his elections and 13.2million in the second, while the Brotherhood secured more than 10million in the parliamentary elections.
So they may argue why they should bother being involved in the process if they cannot win by democratic means.
In any case, its own ability to fight back democratically may be limited by the arrests of its leaders.
They face accusations of inciting violence, while Morsi may also face charges after his opponents accused him this week of fomenting 'civil war' by defying Sisi's ultimatum.
Social media continued to function normally, however, with both the former president’s aides and the opposition using Twitter and Facebook to provide updates. ‘Egypt remains online. So far no repeat of 2011,’ said internet monitoring company Renesys, referring to Mubarak’s censorship two years ago.
The Brotherhood announced it would boycott the new military-sponsored political process and called on its supporter to restrain themselves and not use violence.
'We declare our uncompromising rejection of the military coup staged against the elected president and the will of the nation and refuse to participate in any activist with the usurping authorities,' said the statement, which the group's mufti Abdel-Rahman el-Barr read to the Morsi's supporters staging a days-long sit-in in Cairo.
The arrest came as the chief justice of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court was sworn in as the nation's interim president, taking over hours after the military ousted the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
Meanwhile, the World Bank hopes to continue its programmes in Egypt following the military ousting of the country's first democratically elected leader, bank president Jim Yong Kim told reporters during a visit to Chile.
The bank, which Kim said has a $4.7 billion loan programme for Egypt, is still trying to understand the situation in the country, he added.
'Our hope is that we'll be able to continue with our programs to provide essential services and essential support," said Kim, flanked by Chile's president and finance minister.
We really urge everyone to stay calm and to have a dialogue, and to move as quickly as possible to having real elections,' he added.
Celebrations took place across Egypt on Wednesday night after the head of Egypt's armed forces issued a declaration suspending the constitution and appointing the head of the constitutional court as interim head of state.
Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood party, said Morsi was under house arrest at a Presidential Guard facility where he had been residing, while 12 of his aides were also being held.
Earlier, the chief justice Adli Mansour took the oath of office at the Nile-side Constitutional Court in a ceremony broadcast live on state television.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said he assured U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a telephone call on Thursday that the overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi had not been a military coup.
The definition of what happened in Egypt yesterday is important because the military overthrow of an elected leader would generally trigger economic sanctions and could entail cutting of vital U.S. aid to Egypt.
'The American side is a strategic partner for Egypt and the welfare of Egypt is important to them,' said Amr, a career diplomat who tendered his resignation to Mursi on Tuesday but who remains in charge of Egypt's foreign ministry - at least until a new interim technocratic government is named.
'I hope that they read the situation in the right way, that this is not a military coup in any way. This was actually the overwhelming will of the people.'
Mr Morsi was Egypt's first democratically elected president but was overthrown by the military yesterday after just one year in office.
The military, in a statement read by army chief General Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi on Wednesday night, also suspended the Islamist-drafted constitution and called for new elections. Mr Morsi has denounced the action as a 'full coup' by the generals.
Millions of anti-Morsi protesters around the country erupted in celebrations after the televised announcement by the army chief.
Fireworks burst over crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where men and women danced, shouting, 'God is great' and 'Long live Egypt.'
But clashes erupted in several provincial cities when Islamists opened fire on police, with at least 14 people killed, security officials said.
Fervour: Opponents of ousted President Morsi gather outside the Supreme Constitutional Court where Adly Mansour, the chief of Egypt's highest court, was sworn in as interim president
Egyptians flash the victory sign and wave Egypt's flags as an army helicopter flies by, one day after the announcement of a presidential handover
Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi gathered to protest near Rabaa Adawiya mosque, in Cairo, Egypt, today as Adli Mansour, the chief of Egypt's highest court, was sworn in as Egypt's interim president
As protestors cheered the news, Adly Mansour, chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, was sworn in as the interim head of state the day after Morsi was placed under house arrest by the Egyptian military and the Constitution was suspended.
Despite the celebrations and even with an interim leader now in place, Egypt remains on an uncertain course following Mr Morsi's ousting, and the possibility of further confrontation still looms
Lighting the way ahead: Protesters out in force in Cairo's Tahrir Square as the country's armed forces move in to depose Morsi following days of unrest
Fireworks light the sky as opponents of President Mohammed Morsi celebrate in Tahrir Square
Egyptian Armed Forces Commander in Chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi called for presidential and parliamentary elections along with a panel to review the constitution
Elated: Egyptian cheer and wave after the announcement by the head of the armed forces, General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi of the coup
Overjoyed: Millions of anti-Morsi protesters around the country erupted in celebrations after the televised announcement by the army chief on Wednesday evening
Even with an interim leader now in place, Egypt remains on an uncertain course following Mr Morsi's ousting, and the possibility of further confrontation still looms.
Beyond the fears over violence, some protesters are concerned whether an army-installed administration can lead to real democracy.
British foreign secretary William Hague said he had sent a rapid deployment team of diplomats to reinforce the embassy in Cairo who would be able to give additional support to British nationals and prepare for any possible evacuation if the situation deteriorated.
Mr Hague said the military coup in Egypt sets a 'dangerous precedent' for the country's future.
Taking to the streets: Opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi celebrate near the Presidential palace
Up in arms: Thousands of Pro-Morsi protesters take part in a protest in Raba'a Al-Adaweya square. Morsi said he is still the legitimate president of Egypt in a statement broadcast by pan-Arab Al Jazeera news channel
Still has their backing: Thousands of Pro-Morsi protesters take part in a demonstration in Raba'a Al-Adaweya square in Cairo, Egypt
Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, he said the British government did not support the deposing of President Morsi. 'We don't support military intervention as a way of resolving disputes,' he said.
'There's a dangerous precedent to do that. If one president can be deposed, then so can another in the future. But it's happened, so we have to recognise the situation will move on.
OBAMA TREADS CAREFULLY ON EGYPT AS HE FACES PROTESTS HIMSELF
President Barack Obama has found himself in an delicate position over his response to the crisis in Egypt.
In a carefully worded statement yesterday, he said he was 'deeply concerned' by the military's move to topple the government and suspend Egypt's constitution.
He also urged Egypt's military to hand back control to a democratic, civilian government without delay.
But he stopped short of calling the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi a coup.
The classification is an important one as his administration will be forced to decide whether it must suspend the $1.5 billion a year it provides to Egypt in military and economic assistance that is considered a critical U.S. national security priority.
Under U.S. law, the government must stop foreign aid to any nation whose elected leader is ousted in a coup d'etat, opening the door to the possibility of yet more unrest.
According to the IPS news agency, U.S. officials are also very concerned about the possibility of a violent protest against the coup by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which remains Egypt's most organised institution after the military.
Obama has also faced a wave of protests himself, with placards claiming the U.S. president 'allied himself with terrorists' and 'Obama supports terrorism' being displayed in Cairo over the last few days.
Many Egyptians are unhappy at U.S. foreign policy in their country and the fact Washington supported former dictator Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in January 2011 in a similar uprising.
The Obama administration may also now have to fend off further accusations from Republicans at home who argue that the president's handling of the Arab Spring has been a failure.
'We have to work with whoever is in authority in Egypt for the safety of British citizens - there are so many British companies over there.'
'We make our views clear. This is a military intervention but it's a popular intervention there's no doubt about that. We have to recognise there was enormous dissatisfaction with the government. Stability in the long term comes from democracy.'
It comes as President Barack Obama urged Egypt's military to hand back control to a democratic, civilian government without delay, but stopped short of calling the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi a coup.
Obama said he was 'deeply concerned' by the military's move to topple Morsi's government and suspend Egypt's constitution.
He said he was ordering the U.S. government to assess what the military's actions meant for U.S. foreign aid to Egypt.
Under U.S. law, the government must suspend foreign aid to any nation whose elected leader is ousted in a coup d'etat.
The U.S. provides $1.5 billion a year to Egypt in military and economic assistance that is considered a critical U.S. national security priority.
'I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsi and his supporters,' Obama said.
Two U.S. officials have said Egyptian defence leaders, who ousted the president, have assured the U.S. that they are not interested in a long-term rule.
The official says the leaders, in calls with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pledged to put a civilian government in place quickly.
U.S. officials also say the Egyptian military has said it will take steps to ensure the safety of Americans in Egypt, including the diplomatic mission.
'During this uncertain period, we expect the military to ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials in civilian courts,' he said.
Four people have been killed in clashes between Morsi supporters and security forces in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh after the president was ousted by the army, Governor Badr Tantawi has said.
Meanwhile, a statement on the Egyptian president's office's Twitter account has quoted Mohammed Morsi as calling military measures 'a full coup'.
And it has been reported Egypt's descent into even deeper political turmoil will almost certainly put a multi-billion dollar international bailout on hold and lead to an even more painful economic crisis with worsening fuel shortages and higher prices on basic goods.
TWO YEARS OF TURMOIL AND TRANSITION: A TIMELINE OF EVENTS FROM MORSI'S ELECTION TO REJECTION
Key events from when the Arab Spring began to the current protests:
Jan. 25-Feb. 11, 2011 - Egyptians stage nationwide demonstrations against the rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who led the country for nearly three decades.
The 18-day 'revolution,' launched by secular and leftist youth, draws in a wide spectrum, including the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. Hundreds of protesters are killed as Mubarak and his allies try to crush the uprising.
Feb. 11 - Mubarak steps down and turns power over to the military. Two days later, the body of top generals, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, dissolves parliament and suspends the constitution, meeting two key demands of protesters.
June 16-17 - Egyptians vote in the presidential runoff between Morsi and Shafiq. The generals issue a 'constitutional declaration' giving themselves sweeping authorities and limiting the powers of the next president. Morsi emerges as the victor, with 51.7 percent of the vote.
June 30 - Morsi takes his formal oath of office before the Supreme Constitutional Court, a day after reading a symbolic oath in Cairo's Tahrir Square, birthplace of the revolution.
Aug. 12 - In a bold move, Morsi orders the retirement of the top Mubarak-era leadership of the military and cancels the military's last constitutional decree, taking back the powers that the generals gave themselves. The move was seen as way to curb the military's role in political affairs but it also gave Morsi the power to legislate in the absence of parliament.
Nov. 22 - Morsi unilaterally decrees greater authorities for himself, giving his decisions immunity from judicial review and barring the courts from dissolving the constituent assembly and the upper house of parliament. The move came just ahead of court decisions that could have dissolved the bodies. The move sparks days of protests, with clashes between Morsi's supporters and opponents. At one point, some 200,000 people rally in Tahrir Square, with some of the first chants for Morsi to 'leave.'
Dec. 4 - More than 100,000 protesters march on the presidential palace, demanding the cancellation of the referendum and the writing of a new constitution. The next day, Islamists attack a peaceful anti-Morsi sit-in outside the palace, sparking all-out street battles that leave at least 10 dead. Days later, Morsi rescinds his initial decrees, but maintains the date of the referendum.
Jan. 25, 2013 - Hundreds of thousands hold protests in Tahrir Square and nationwide against Morsi on the 2-year anniversary of the start of the revolt against Mubarak, and clashes erupt in many places.
Jan. 26 - Residents of the city of Port Said stage protests, angered by a court ruling convicting and sentencing to death a group of local soccer fans for a 2012 stadium riot. Police crack down hard in Port Said, killing more than 40 protesters, and in outrage the city and others nearby go into near revolt. Much of the anger is focused at Morsi, who praised the police for their crackdown.
Feb.-March - Protests continue in Port Said and other cities for weeks, with dozens more dying in clashes, and some police units around the country go on strike. Brotherhood youth and their opponents fight in the streets outside the group's main Cairo headquarters.
June 23 - A mob beats to death four Egyptian Shiites in their home in a village on the edge of Cairo. Morsi condemns the attack, but critics blame virulent anti-Shiite rhetoric by his hard-line Islamist allies, fueled by Syria's civil war. A week earlier, Morsi shared a stage with hard-line clerics at a rally, sitting silently as they denounced Shiites as 'filthy.'
June 30 -- Millions of Egyptians take to the streets in Cairo and other cities calling for Morsi to step down in a massive display of anger and frustration with the Islamist leader. The demonstrations are largely peaceful, although 16 people, half of them in clashes outside the Muslim Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters, are killed in protest-related violence nationwide. Organisers vow to keep up the protests until Morsi resigns.
July 1 - Demonstrations continue and Egypt's military issues an ultimatum for the two sides to come to a resolution within 48 hours or it will impose its own solution.#
July 2 - A night of clashes outside Cairo University sees at least 16 people killed, with unofficial sources saying that more than 23 people died.
July 3 - Egyptian media reports that President Morsi will either be sacked or forced to stand down as the army's deadline for a resolution approaches.
July 3, 6pm - The head of the Egyptian army, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declares on national TV that Morsi has been ousted from power, prompting a wave of celebrations across the country.
July 4 - Judge in Egypt's supreme court, Adly Mansour, sworn in as interim president in Cairo.
Opponents of Morsi hold protest rallies in Cairo on July 3, 2013.
By Gordon Duff and Press TV
“Morsi’s rule was a game, little more, in fact, no more than the selling of a totalitarian regime built on suppression of freedom of thought and expression and the careful grooming of extremism and slavish adherence to what had been intended to be a highly secretive plot, one so complex, so convoluted that discovery was impossible.”
“GAME OVER” is what the massive laser light show in Tahrir Square in Egypt’s capital of Cairo is announcing to the cheering throngs.
The sign is more right than some in Egypt, than all in the West, can begin to understand.
Morsi’s rule was a game, little more, in fact, no more than the selling of a totalitarian regime built on suppression of freedom of thought and expression and the careful grooming of extremism and slavish adherence to what had been intended to be a highly secretive plot, one so complex, so convoluted that discovery was impossible.
The great game, Morsi trying to buy Egypt’s place at the table with the new “Masters of the Universe,” the coalition of Turkey’s resurgent Ottoman dreams, rumored to exist only in Erdogan’s diseased brain, Netanyahu’s endless quest to prove to mankind that depravity knows no bounds, but we only begin.
It goes much further, much deeper, layer upon layer, a grand design clearly intended to end all human moral considerations, replacing them with a new “relativism,” all thinly veiled hucksterism peddled by half-baked carnival conmen.
The con, selling “The Clash of Civilizations” as a “cover and deception” plan , covering the truth, deceiving any seeking enlightenment, meant to obscure the simple reality that a group of secret societies, some many centuries old, men serving an unseen master best described as “Satanic,” believe they have been chosen to oversee the end of humanity.
Insane as it sounds, the list of those seeking membership is endless. I don’t really think this is much of a secret anymore. No rational person could believe otherwise as we are drowning, in some cases literally, in evidence.
Only a fool would fail to see the patterns. Calling them predators is too generous. Our “elites” are more akin to a nasty strain of syphilis. You know the names, Morsi was simply trying to get on the list. Let’s be honest, I don’t think Morsi really made it.
Well, with “Game Over,” one thing is for sure, the people of Egypt and their army weren’t as easily fooled as the American people were after 9/11.
Most agree that the turning point for the army was Morsi’s call for war against Syria. Those still harboring illusions as to Morsi, excusing his behavior as “unbalanced” or “insane,” simply weren’t paying attention.
The American media had no trouble either, saw no inconsistencies in his betrayal of the Palestinians, his systematic sabotage of Egypt’s economy, his curious political alignments, neocons in America, Likudists in Israel and Al Qaeda in Syria.
Americans have gained a delightful “moral flexibility,” an ability to rationalize, to betray, to deceive and be deceived and they seem to love it.
The Egyptian people saw, the army saw. Maybe it is simply that the West has so conditioned itself with absurdity and obfuscation that questioning anything, no matter how fanciful, seems, in itself, a pointless act. Perhaps I am giving too much credit.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out
The ugliness Morsi brought with him, his slavishness to Israel, his soullessness, rode roughshod over Egypt’s people like a pharaoh’s curse.
Yet, as the dust settles, we know it isn’t really over, not yet. “Morsi 2.0” is waiting in the wings.
Morsi was “Mubarak 2.0.” The “Masters of the Universe” aren’t going to give up on destroying Egypt, not so easily.
We can expect the car bombs, the favorite of Mossad’s false-flag ‘bag of tricks.’ Sectarian violence, Tel Aviv hopes, will derail Egypt’s second try for real independence. Consider this a prediction.
Did you get your “talking points” today?
Across the world, the bloggers and pundits are scrambling to save Morsi, their handlers frantically emailing and faxing “talking points.” Coffers will open, cash payments for articles, even for slavish comment board spamming, an Israeli psyops practice carefully tracked by Jim W. Dean of Veterans Today.
As late as this morning, dozens of owned or rented “influencers” were attacking the Muslim Brotherhood as part of the worldwide Islamic conspiracy against all mankind.
Now, as thronging millions march through Egypt’s streets, celebrating the overthrow of a government that makes North Korea look like Iceland, those same “shills,” there is no other word that applies, have turned 180 degrees and are parroting the Talumdic gang’s talking points:
What kind of constitution allowed Morsi to imprison students for unfavorable “tweets?”
Then again, how many opponents did the Muslim Brotherhood “disappear?”
Consider this another prediction.
Morsi was the Lynchpin to Israel’s strategy. Morsi wasn’t just another “pretty face,” no indeed! This was, and is, a world-class thug.
Taking a lead from the Bush, Blair, Netanyahu playbook, Morsi tried to create a feeling of victimization and hysteria, first unleashing an imaginary jihad on Syria, Egypt’s historical ally and one-time partner in the short-lived United Arab Republic.
His second ploy was a threat of war against Ethiopia based on half-baked rumors that their huge hydroelectric dam would interfere with the flow of the Nile.
The real role of Morsi was to isolate Egypt, turn it into the laughing stock of the Middle East, castrate its military and create base of operations for certain foreign intelligence agencies.
The events of today are not to be underestimated, they are monumental. Least of all, it can be shown that a real taste for freedom can’t be quelled with repackaged tyranny, except maybe in western nations like Canada, Germany, France and, just maybe, the United States.
Could the “developed nations” be the new political and intellectual “third world?”
As for the importance of Egypt as a slave satellite of Greater Israel, enough can’t be said. One needs only to look to Libya.
After the fall of Gaddafi, more a murder than a fall, actually, there has been a total news blackout on Libya. A carefully coordinated disinformation campaign, the “pro/anti-Zionists” of the left, 99% of whom have always been useless oxygen wasters, along with their “imperialist/bankster” warmongering friends, the other side of the same counterfeit coin, have sought to rob the Libyan people of credit for a very real sacrifice.
Toward that end, our media-mogul fact-twisting friends have sought to erase Gaddafi’s history, not just as a CIA asset and host to 20 years of P2 Gladio terrorism in Europe, but of his long military partnership with Israel, the evidence of which stoked Libyan fires for weeks.
Libya, with its vast oil and petrochemical wealth, has to be reined in. Morsi was part of that effort, holding down one flank, supporting the anti-government militias while conveying jihadists to do Israel’s dirty work in Syria.
In the process, a new generation of Al Qaeda terrorists will spread a generation of suffering, down through Africa, up into Europe and, of course, assuring Libya will suffer the fate of Iraq, war without end.
Tonight, Morsi no longer sits at that table. Egypt’s security services have been looking at foreign workers, language teachers, tourists who have lingered a bit too long.
Hundreds of young and helpful Israelis, many with “other” passports, have poured into Egypt to assist their blood enemy.
Egyptian Protest, 25 January 2011
According to some estimates, as many as 50,000 protesters turned out in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other Egyptian cities. The protests were met with the usual brutality: beating protesters, firing tear gas and using water cannons to attempt to disperse the protesters. As images and videos started emerging out of Egypt, “television footage showed demonstrators chasing police down side streets. One protester climbed into a fire engine and drove it away.” Late on the night of the protests, rumours and unconfirmed reports were spreading that the first lady of Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak, may have fled Egypt to London, following on the heels of rumours that Mubarak’s son, and presumed successor, had also fled to London.
The Egyptian army was today patrolling the streets of Cairo after deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of the country's Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi.
Seven people have been killed and almost 500 injured as the tension which has building since the President assumed near total powers over the country threatens to erupt.
Supporters of Mr Morsi attacked his opponents who had gathered to protest outside the presidential palace overnight.
Moving in: An Egyptian Army tank deploys near the presidential palace to secure the site after overnight clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi
Peaceful: Egyptian Army generals have promised that they have moved in to keep the peace between rival groups who have clashed outside the presidential palace
Making a grab for power: An Egyptian army tank is seen behind barbed wire securing the perimeter of the presidential palace in Cairo
Firebombs and stones were thrown in the bloodiest outbreak since last year's uprising that toppled authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Armoured troop carriers have deployed and soldiers unfurled barbed wire to protect the palace and help police pacify what has become a chaotic battleground.
With at least seven tanks at the palace corners, backed by about 10 armoured troop carriers and 20 police trucks, the two sides mostly shouted slogans at each other from a distance.
But the commander of the Republican Guard said his intention was to separate the opposing sides, not to repress them.
'The armed forces, and at the forefront of them the Republican Guard, will not be used as a tool to oppress the demonstrators,' General Mohamed Zaki told the state news agency.
President Morsi, who has been silent during the turbulence of the last few days, will address the nation later today, according to an adviser.
The military played a crucial role in ending Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule by taking over from him to manage a transitional period, but it has stayed out of the latest crisis until now.
Crisis: Tension has been building ever since President Morsi passed measures giving him almost total control over Egypt on November 22
Deadly: Seven people have died and hundreds more have been injured amid violent clashes in Cairo
Faith and force: Army soldiers install barbed wire, as supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi pray in the background
It is the first time rival groups have fought openly in the streets after thousands of Mr Morsi's Islamist supporters descended on an area near the presidential palace where 300 opponents were staging a sit-in.
State television quoted the health ministry as saying five people were killed and 446 were injured as mobs battled outside the presidential complex in the Heliopolis district of the capital.
The fighting erupted late yesterday when members of Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood chased the protesters away from their base outside the palace's main gate and tore down their tents.
After a brief lull, hundreds of opponents arrived and began throwing firebombs at the president's backers, who responded with rocks.
Tanks: The Egyptian Army has moved in but promised not to repress demonstrators on either side
Appeal for unity: The United States and Britain have called for restraint and an 'inclusive' political process
The crowds swelled and the clashes continued well after nightfall, spreading from the immediate vicinity of the palace to residential streets nearby.
Hundreds of riot police could not stop the fighting as officers fired tear gas in a bid to disperse Mr Morsi's opponents.
Violence: A supporter of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chants slogans during clashes with opponents outside the presidential palace in Cairo yesterday
Battle: Supporters of President Morsi attack an opponent during the confrontation outside the palace
Volunteers ferried the wounded on motorcycles to waiting ambulances, which rushed them to hospitals.
By dawn, the violence had calmed, but both sides appeared to be digging in for a long struggle, with the opposition vowing more protests later today and rejecting any dialogue unless the charter is rescinded.
Mr Morsi is pressing relentlessly forward with plans for a December 15 constitutional referendum to pass the new charter.
The scale and intensity of the fighting marked a milestone in Egypt's divide between the ultra-conservative Muslim Brotherhood and liberals, leftists and Christians.
The violence spread to other parts of the country yesterday. Anti-Morsi protesters stormed and set ablaze the Brotherhood offices in Suez and Ismailia, east of Cairo, and there were clashes in the industrial city of Mahallah and the province of Menoufiyah in the Nile Delta north of the capital.
There were rival demonstrations outside the Brotherhood's headquarters in the Cairo suburb of Moqatam, and in Alexandria security officials said senior Brotherhood official Sobhi Saleh was taken to hospital after being severely beaten by Morsi opponents.
VIDEO: Muslim Brotherhood say senior member of group attacked in Alexandra
Explosive: Last night's clashes were the bloodiest since last year's uprising which toppled ruler Hosni Mubarak
'No different': Opponents of President Morsi say his rule as leader of the Muslim Brotherhood will be 'no different' from Hosni Mubarak
Mr Saleh, a former MP, played a key role in drafting the disputed constitution.
Compounding Morsi's woes, four of his advisers resigned yesterday, joining two other members of his 17-member advisory panel who have abandoned him since the crisis began.
The opposition is demanding he rescind the decrees giving him nearly unrestricted powers and shelve the controversial draft constitution, which the president's Islamist allies rushed through last week in an all-night session shown live on state TV.
Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading opposition reform advocate, said late yesterday that Mr Morsi's rule was 'no different' to Mubarak's.
'In fact, it is perhaps even worse,' the Nobel Peace Prize laureate told a news conference after he accused the president's supporters of a 'vicious and deliberate' attack on peaceful demonstrators outside the palace.
'Cancel the constitutional declarations, postpone the referendum, stop the bloodshed, and enter a direct dialogue with the national forces,' he wrote on his Twitter account, addressing Mr Morsi.
The Supreme Guide of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, to which Mr Morsi belonged before he was narrowly elected president in June, has appealed for unity.
Divisions among Egyptians 'only serve the nation's enemies', Mohamed Badie said in a statement.
Opposition activist Hamdi Ghassan said protesters would arrive from other parts of Cairo later in the day, accusing Mr Morsi's supporters of bringing in people from the countryside to boost their presence.
Mr Morsi's opponents accuse him of seeking to create a new 'dictatorship' with his November 22 decree.
The president has defended the move as necessary to prevent courts still full of judges appointed by Mubarak from derailing a constitution vital for Egypt's political transition.
Around the palace, traffic was moving through streets strewn with rocks thrown during violence in which petrol bombs and guns were also used. Hundreds of Morsi supporters were still in the area, many wrapped in blankets and some reading the Koran.
Tension: Supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood party throw stones at opposition protesters
Protest: Opponents of president Morsi chant anti Muslim Brotherhood slogans
'We came here to support President Mursi and his decisions. He is the elected president of Egypt,' said demonstrator Emad Abou Salem, 40. 'He has legitimacy and nobody else does.'
Mr Morsi's opponents say the Muslim Brotherhood, the group that propelled the president to power in a June election, is behind the violence. The Brotherhood says the opposition is to blame and that six of the dead were Mr Morsi supporters.
The United States, worried about the stability of an Arab state which has a peace deal with Israel and which receives $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid, urged dialogue. Britain also called for restraint and an 'inclusive' political process.
Egyptian Vice President Mahmoud Mekky proposed 'personal ideas' for a negotiated way out yesterday, saying amendments to disputed articles in the constitution could be agreed with the opposition. A written agreement could then go to parliament, to be elected after this month's referendum on the constitution.
But the opposition stuck by its demand for Mr Morsi to cancel the November 22 decree and postpone the referendum before any dialogue.
Protests spread to other cities, and offices of the Muslim Brotherhood's political party in Ismailia and Suez were torched.
But Mr Mursi has shown no sign of buckling under pressure from protesters, confident that the Islamists, who have dominated both elections since Mubarak was overthrown, can win the referendum and the parliamentary election to follow.
As well as relying on his Brotherhood power base, Mr Morsi may also draw on a popular yearning for stability and economic revival after almost two years of political turmoil.
Opposition coordinator Mohamed ElBaradei said yesterday the street action and the polarisation of society were pushing Egypt into violence and 'could draw us to something worse'.
The Egyptian pound plunged 4 per cent today to its lowest level in eight years, after previously firming on hopes that a $4.8 billion IMF loan would stabilise the economy. The Egyptian stock market fell 4.4 per cent after it opened.
Tensions in Cairo continue to escalate by the hour. Protesters are dying in the streets and the presidential palace is under siege with a new wall of being built around it.
The recently purged army, quiet until now, enters the fray with a strong suggestion that the major political opponents compromise their differences.
Morsi retracts most of his recent decree, but pushes forward with the December 15th referendum vote. Opposition groups reject the early date on the rushed through constitution, threatening to boycott the vote.
The battle lines are formed…for a new constitution to bloom, or to spell it’s dome.
Where there is endless talk and media over America’s pending fiscal cliff, Egypt now has the spotlight facing its revolutionary cliff. How did we get here, from there? Some retrospection is needed to interpret these historical events in this largest Arab county.
The April 6th Movement.
The Muslim Brotherhood did not plan or start the current revolution. In fact, they really did not even show up for a while until they saw that victory was possible with the Army not crushing the protesters.
The were followers then, but became the leaders in the end.
I still remember like it was yesterday…the angry young Egyptian lady who made the video challenging Egyptian men, shaming them really, into attending more rallies in Tahrir Square to prevent the police from abusing the women.
But as so often happens in revolutions, those that got them going are often quickly shoved aside by the more experienced and entrenched late comers.
The Muslim Brotherhood
Will the constitutional majority vote only, versus a two thirds one, sentence Egypt to many years of internal conflict?
Although they were late comers to the Revolution they helped tip the scales. They deserve much credit for their many years of suffering and suppression under Mubarak and his police thugs.
They earned their revolutionary stripes the hard way, in the torture room, the jails, in exile, and with their broken families. No one would have denied them their well earned seat at the table.
But there is a big problem with the Brotherhood that is threatening the whole revolution. And that is the elections were rigged in their favor. I don’t mean not rigged exactly in the traditional way.
When I heard that all polling stations had a judges at them, I was envious that America did not use this method. It is needed.
What I mean by rigged is that they had no opposition that could hold a candle to their organization experience. Any major democratic political player will tell you what a do or die factor that is. The myriad of fragmented smaller parties that formed, most of them all novices, were really in no position to stop the Brotherhood steamroller, and that is what happened.
This put the Brotherhood in the driver’s seat for writing the new constitution, which in effect was going to nail the coffin shut on the Mubarak regime by replacing it with an Islamist one, and some would say a radical one at that.
Enter the Egyptian Courts
Mubarak in better times – for him, anyway
The Mubarak holdoutsin the judiciary were in a blocking position to prevent a Brotherhood routing of all the other party interests.
Groups like the April 6th Movement and El Baredi’s National Salvation Front found themselves depending on Mubarak hold overs to protect their having any real participation in drafting their first Constitution.
But what other option did they have, knowing that if successful that a big bill would come due in the future. Did Morsi get word from his intelligence people that the courts were going to rule the Constitutional Assembly illegal?
I believe so, and that caused him to pre-empt them with his November 22 decree, the main issue being the courts could not disband the Assembly or veto any of his actions? Why else would he risk a constitutional crises before there was a constitution?
While Morsi was doing the best he could to sell his motivation for the presidential power grab being only to protect the revolution, he looked out the window to see himself being targeted as that threat. He had, in a way, stepped into Mubarak’s shoes, which was not a good move.
The Muslim Brotherhood had come full circle, so to speak, from latecomers to the April 6th movement, to be having the presidential place ringed with tanks and the Republican Guards and surrounded by sit in demonstrators.
But one visual image stands out the most, of the military building up a new concrete block wall of around the palace. A new revolution had come to Morsi’s front door.
The Army Finally Speaks Out
Will the Army play a key constitutional role now to save themselves being drawn into future conflicts?
The Egyptian military had been purged of the old Mubarak cronies and replaced with younger blood. They were expected to remain on the sidelines.
But they too, sensed that something had gone astray. They found themselves back in the streets with the rocks and tear gas, fighting the Egyptian people again.
As the factional street fighting days kept getting worse, they decided to put some cards on the table when Morsi still insisted on going ahead with the referendum vote this coming Saturday.
They described his decision as ‘shocking’ and that it would worsen the current crisis. That is soldier speak for ‘we will not allow one side to railroad the other.’
Of, course a follow up statement was made that that the army had no plans of retaking control of the country. I interpreted that to mean, ‘not taking control at this time’.
Pouring fuel on the fire
Will major bloodshed be averted by having a broadly representative constitution, or a ‘special interest’ one?
The Muslim Brotherhoodhas overplayed their hand. Morsi seems to be going for broke now on the December 15th vote.
If the opposition parties boycott the referendum, or worse…use street tactics to block it from taking place, there could be a direct confrontation with the army which will probably be deployed to protect the polling stations. That also could be the catastrophe the Army was referring to.
The state media has also been abused in this unfortunate process. The well known state broadcaster Essam El Amir resigned recently due to the unprecedented interference by Morsi’s government.
He claimed it had been calling on an almost ‘hourly’ basis wanting to know what political guests were going to be on TV and how much time there were going to be given. Amir described it as much worse than the Mubarak days, and he could no longer take orders to suppress media access to the opposition parties. This man is a real democrat.
I suspect that any trust the Brotherhood might have had has taken a blow that could be irreversible. I think that is why Morse may be gambling it all on winning the referendum, so he can declare the people have put their stamp of approval on the Islamic constitution.
But where he would be making a fatal error is that the main purpose of a constitution is to not let 51% take rights away from the 49%. And the way the constitution was drafted, Morsi’s decree, and his insisting on a quick vote are all evidence of what could be described as a Muslim Brotherhood constitutional coup.
I fear for what the result of that could be. I really do. What an irony it would be if the military is forced back into power again due to the Brotherhood ‘s refusing to let the opposition parties have real participation in a constitution that will govern not only their lives but those of their descendants.
BEFORE: Are We Witnessing the Start of a Global Revolution?
For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive... The resulting global political activism is generating a surge in the quest for personal dignity, cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world painfully scarred by memories of centuries-long alien colonial or imperial domination... The worldwide yearning for human dignity is the central challenge inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening... That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing... The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches...
The youth of the Third World are particularly restless and resentful. The demographic revolution they embody is thus a political time-bomb, as well... Their potential revolutionary spearhead is likely to emerge from among the scores of millions of students concentrated in the often intellectually dubious "tertiary level" educational institutions of developing countries. Depending on the definition of the tertiary educational level, there are currently worldwide between 80 and 130 million "college" students. Typically originating from the socially insecure lower middle class and inflamed by a sense of social outrage, these millions of students are revolutionaries-in-waiting, already semi-mobilized in large congregations, connected by the Internet and pre-positioned for a replay on a larger scale of what transpired years earlier in Mexico City or in Tiananmen Square. Their physical energy and emotional frustration is just waiting to be triggered by a cause, or a faith, or a hatred...
[The] major world powers, new and old, also face a novel reality: while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low. To put it bluntly: in earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people.
- Zbigniew Brzezinski
Former U.S. National Security Advisor
Co-Founder of the Trilateral Commission
Member, Board of Trustees, Center for Strategic and International Studies
An uprising in Tunisia led to the overthrow of the country’s 23-year long dictatorship of President Ben Ali. A new ‘transitional’ government was formed, but the protests continued demanding a totally new government without the relics of the previous tyranny. Protests in Algeria have continued for weeks, as rage mounts against rising food prices, corruption and state oppression. Protests in Jordan forced the King to call on the military to surround cities with tanks and set up checkpoints. Tens of thousands of protesters marched on Cairo demanding an end to the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Thousands of activists, opposition leaders and students rallied in the capitol of Yemen against the corrupt dictatorship of President Saleh, in power since 1978. Saleh has been, with U.S. military assistance, attempting to crush a rebel movement in the north and a massive secessionist movement growing in the south, called the “Southern Movement.” Protests in Bolivia against rising food prices forced the populist government of Evo Morales to backtrack on plans to cut subsidies. Chile erupted in protests as demonstrators railed against rising fuel prices. Anti-government demonstrations broke out in Albania, resulting in the deaths of several protesters.
It seems as if the world is entering the beginnings of a new revolutionary era: the era of the ‘Global Political Awakening.’ While this ‘awakening’ is materializing in different regions, different nations and under different circumstances, it is being largely influenced by global conditions. The global domination by the major Western powers, principally the United States, over the past 65 years, and more broadly, centuries, is reaching a turning point. The people of the world are restless, resentful, and enraged. Change, it seems, is in the air. As the above quotes from Brzezinski indicate, this development on the world scene is the most radical and potentially dangerous threat to global power structures and empire. It is not a threat simply to the nations in which the protests arise or seek change, but perhaps to a greater degree, it is a threat to the imperial Western powers, international institutions, multinational corporations and banks that prop up, arm, support and profit from these oppressive regimes around the world. Thus, America and the West are faced with a monumental strategic challenge: what can be done to stem the Global Political Awakening? Zbigniew Brzezinski is one of the chief architects of American foreign policy, and arguably one of the intellectual pioneers of the system of globalization. Thus, his warnings about the 'Global Political Awakening' are directly in reference to its nature as a threat to the prevailing global hierarchy. As such, we must view the 'Awakening' as the greatest hope for humanity. Certainly, there will be mainy failures, problems, and regressions; but the 'Awakening' has begun, it is underway, and it cannot be so easily co-opted or controlled as many might assume.
It appears that both of these strategies are being simultaneously imposed in the Arab world: enforcing and supporting state oppression and building ties with civil society organizations. The problem for the West, however, is that they have not had the ability to yet establish strong and dependent ties with civil society groups in much of the region, as ironically, the oppressive regimes they propped up were and are unsurprisingly resistant to such measures. In this sense, we must not cast aside these protests and uprisings as being instigated by the West, but rather that they emerged organically, and the West is subsequently attempting to co-opt and control the emerging movements.
The Tunisian Spark
A July 2009 diplomatic cable from America’s Embassy in Tunisia reported that, “many Tunisians are frustrated by the lack of political freedom and angered by First Family corruption, high unemployment and regional inequities. Extremism poses a continuing threat,” and that, “the risks to the regime’s long-term stability are increasing.”
On Friday, 14 January 2011, the U.S.-supported 23-year long dictatorship of Tunisian president Ben Ali ended. For several weeks prior to this, the Tunisian people had risen in protest against rising food prices, stoked on by an immense and growing dissatisfaction with the political repression, and prodded by the WikiLeaks cables confirming the popular Tunisian perception of gross corruption on the part of the ruling family. The spark, it seems, was when a 26-year old unemployed youth set himself on fire in protest on December 17.
With the wave of protests sparked by the death of the 26-year old who set himself on fire on December 17, the government of Tunisia responded by cracking down on the protesters. Estimates vary, but roughly 100 people were killed in the clashes. Half of Tunisia’s 10 million people are under the age of 25, meaning that they have never known a life in Tunisia outside of living under this one dictator. Since Independence from the French empire in 1956, Tunisia has had only two leaders: Habib Bourguiba and Ben Ali. The Tunisian people were rising up against a great many things: an oppressive dictatorship which has employed extensive information and internet censorship, rising food prices and inflation, a corrupt ruling family, lack of jobs for the educated youth, and a general sense and experience of exploitation, subjugation and disrespect for human dignity.
Following the ouster of Ben Ali, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi assumed presidential power and declared a “transitional government.” Yet, this just spurred more protests demanding his resignation and the resignation of the entire government. Significantly, the trade union movement had a large mobilizing role in the protests, with a lawyers union being particularly active during the initial protests.
France’s President Sarkozy has even had to admit that, “he had underestimated the anger of the Tunisian people and the protest movement that ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.” During the first few weeks of protests in Tunisia, several French government officials were publicly supporting the dictatorship, with the French Foreign Minister saying that France would lend its police “knowhow” to help Ben Ali in maintaining order.
Days before the ouster of Ben Ali, Hillary Clinton gave an interview in which she explained how America was worried “about the unrest and the instability,” and that, “we are not taking sides, but we are saying we hope that there can be a peaceful resolution. And I hope that the Tunisian Government can bring that about.” Clinton further lamented, “One of my biggest concerns in this entire region are the many young people without economic opportunities in their home countries.” Her concern, of course, does not spur from any humanitarian considerations, but rather from inherent imperial considerations: it is simply harder to control a region of the world erupting in activism, uprisings and revolution.
The Spark Lights a Flame
Tunisia has raised the bar for the people across the Arab world to demand justice, democracy, accountability, economic stability, and freedom. Just as Tunisia’s protests were in full-swing, Algeria was experiencing mass protests, rising up largely as a result of the increasing international food prices, but also in reaction to many of the concerns of the Tunisian protesters, such as democratic accountability, corruption and freedom. A former Algerian diplomat told Al-Jazeera in early January that, “It is a revolt, and probably a revolution, of an oppressed people who have, for 50 years, been waiting for housing, employment, and a proper and decent life in a very rich country.”
In mid-January, similar protests erupted in Jordan, as thousands took to the streets to protest against rising food prices and unemployment, chanting anti-government slogans. Jordan’s King Abdullah II had “set up a special task force in his palace that included military and intelligence officials to try to prevent the unrest from escalating further,” which had tanks surrounding major cities, with barriers and checkpoints established.
In Yemen, the poorest nation in the Arab world, engulfed in a U.S. sponsored war against its own people, ruled by a dictator who has been in power since 1978, thousands of people protested against the government, demanding the dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. In the capitol city of Sanaa, thousands of students, activists and opposition groups chanted slogans such as, “Get out get out, Ali. Join your friend Ben Ali.” Yemen has been experiencing much turmoil in recent years, with a rebel movement in the North fighting against the government, formed in 2004; as well as a massive secessionist movement in the south, called the “Southern Movement,” fighting for liberation since 2007. As the Financial Times explained:
Many Yemen observers consider the anger and secessionist sentiment now erupting in the south to be a greater threat to the country’s stability than its better publicised struggle with al-Qaeda, and the deteriorating economy is making the tension worse.
Unemployment, particularly among the young, is soaring. Even the government statistics office in Aden puts it at nearly 40 per cent among men aged 20 to 24.
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom stressed concern over the revolutionary sentiments within the Arab world, saying that, “I fear that we now stand before a new and very critical phase in the Arab world.” He fears Tunisia would “set a precedent that could be repeated in other countries, possibly affecting directly the stability of our system.” Israel’s leadership fears democracy in the Arab world, as they have a security alliance with the major Arab nations, who, along with Israel itself, are American proxy states in the region. Israel maintains civil – if not quiet – relationships with the Arab monarchs and dictators. While the Arab states publicly criticize Israel, behind closed doors they are forced to quietly accept Israel’s militarism and war-mongering, lest they stand up against the superpower, America. Yet, public opinion in the Arab world is extremely anti-Israel, anti-American and pro-Iran.
In July of 2010, the results of a major international poll were released regarding public opinion in the Arab world, polling from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Among some of the notable findings: while Obama was well received upon entering the Presidency, with 51% expressing optimism about U.S. policy in the region in the Spring of 2009, by Summer 2010, 16% were expressing optimism. In 2009, 29% of those polled said a nuclear-armed Iran would be positive for the region; in 2010, that spiked to 57%, reflecting a very different stance from that of their governments.
While America, Israel and the leaders of the Arab nations claim that Iran is the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Middle East, the Arab people do not agree. In an open question asking which two countries pose the greatest threat to the region, 88% responded with Israel, 77% with America, and 10% with Iran.
At the Arab economic summit shortly following the ousting of Ben Ali in Tunisia, who was for the first time absent from the meetings, the Tunisian uprising hung heavy in the air. Arab League leader Amr Moussa said in his opening remarks at the summit, “The Tunisian revolution is not far from us,” and that, “the Arab citizen entered an unprecedented state of anger and frustration,” noting that "the Arab soul is broken by poverty, unemployment and general recession.” The significance of this ‘threat’ to the Arab leaders cannot be understated. Out of roughly 352 million Arabs, 190 million are under the age of 24, with nearly three-quarters of them unemployed. Often, “the education these young people receive doesn't do them any good because there are no jobs in the fields they trained for.”
There was even an article in the Israeli intellectual newspaper, Ha’aretz, which posited that, “Israel may be on the eve of revolution.” Explaining, the author wrote that:
Israeli civil society organizations have amassed considerable power over the years; not only the so-called leftist organizations, but ones dealing with issues like poverty, workers' rights and violence against women and children. All of them were created in order to fill the gaps left by the state, which for its part was all too happy to continue walking away from problems that someone else was there to take on. The neglect is so great that Israel's third sector - NGOs, charities and volunteer organizations - is among the biggest in the world. As such, it has quite a bit of power.
Now the Israeli Knesset and cabinet want that power back; yet, posits the author, they “have chosen to ignore the reasons these groups became powerful,” namely:
The source of their power is the vacuum, the criminal policies of Israel's governments over the last 40 years. The source of their power is a government that is evading its duties to care for all of its citizens and to end the occupation, and a Knesset that supports the government instead of putting it in its place.
The Israeli Knesset opened investigations into the funding of Israeli human rights organizations in a political maneuver against them. However, as one article in Ha’aretz by an Israeli professor explained, these groups actually – inadvertently – play a role in “entrenching the occupation.” As the author explained:
Even if the leftist groups' intention is to ensure upholding Palestinian rights, though, the unintentional result of their activity is preserving the occupation. Moderating and restraining the army's activity gives it a more human and legal facade. Reducing the pressure of international organizations, alongside moderating the Palestinian population's resistance potential, enable the army to continue to maintain this control model over a prolonged period of time.
Thus, if the Israeli Knesset succeeds in getting rid of these powerful NGOs, they sow the seeds for the pressure valve in the occupied territories to be removed. The potential for massive internal protests within Israel from the left, as well as the possibility of another Intifada – uprising – in the occupied territories themselves would seem dramatically increased. Israel and the West have expressed how much distaste they hold for democracy in the region. When Gaza held a democratic election in 2006 and elected Hamas, which was viewed as the ‘wrong’ choice by Israel and America, Israel imposed a ruthless blockade of Gaza. Richard Falk, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Inquiry Commission for the Palestinian territories, wrote an article for Al Jazeera in which he explained that the blockade:
unlawfully restricted to subsistence levels, or below, the flow of food, medicine, and fuel. This blockade continues to this day, leaving the entire Gazan population locked within the world's largest open-air prison, and victimized by one of the cruelest forms of belligerent occupation in the history of warfare.
The situation in the occupied territories is made increasingly tense with the recent leaking of the “Palestinian Papers,” which consist of two decades of secret Israeli-Palestinian accords, revealing the weak negotiating position of the Palestinian Authority. The documents consist largely of major concessions the Palestinian Authority was willing to make “on the issues of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, territorial concessions, and the recognition of Israel.” Among the leaks, Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to concede nearly all of East Jerusalem to Israel. Further, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (favoured by Israel and America over Hamas), was personally informed by a senior Israeli official the night before Operation Cast Lead, the December 2008 and January 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza, resulting in the deaths of over 1,000 Palestinians: “Israeli and Palestinian officials reportedly discussed targeted assassinations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists in Gaza.”
Hamas has subsequently called on Palestinian refugees to protest over the concessions regarding the ‘right of return’ for refugees, of which the negotiators conceded to allowing only 100,000 of 5 million to return to Israel. A former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Egypt lamented that, “The concern will be that this might cause further problems in moving forward.” However, while being blamed for possibly preventing the “peace process” from moving forward, what the papers reveal is that the “peace process” itself is a joke. The Palestinian Authority’s power is derivative of the power Israel allows it to have, and was propped up as a method of dealing with an internal Palestinian elite, thus doing what all colonial powers have done. The papers, then, reveal how the so-called Palestinian ‘Authority’ does not truly speak or work for the interests of the Palestinian people. And while this certainly will divide the PA from Hamas, they were already deeply divided as it was. Certainly, this will pose problems for the “peace process,” but that’s assuming it is a ‘peaceful’ process in the first part.
Is Egypt on the Edge of Revolution?
Unrest is even spreading to Egypt, personal playground of U.S.-supported and armed dictator, Hosni Mubarak, in power since 1981. Egypt is the main U.S. ally in North Africa, and has for centuries been one of the most important imperial jewels first for the Ottomans, then the British, and later for the Americans. With a population of 80 million, 60% of which are under the age of 30, who make up 90% of Egypt’s unemployed, the conditions are ripe for a repeat in Egypt of what happened in Tunisia.
On January 25, 2011, Egypt experienced its “day of wrath,” in which tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to protest against rising food prices, corruption, and the oppression of living under a 30-year dictatorship. The demonstrations were organized through the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. When the protests emerged, the government closed access to these social media sites, just as the Tunisian government did in the early days of the protests that led to the collapse of the dictatorship. As one commentator wrote in the Guardian:
Egypt is not Tunisia. It’s much bigger. Eighty million people, compared with 10 million. Geographically, politically, strategically, it's in a different league – the Arab world's natural leader and its most populous nation. But many of the grievances on the street are the same. Tunis and Cairo differ only in size. If Egypt explodes, the explosion will be much bigger, too.
In Egypt, “an ad hoc coalition of students, unemployed youths, industrial workers, intellectuals, football fans and women, connected by social media such as Twitter and Facebook, instigated a series of fast-moving, rapidly shifting demos across half a dozen or more Egyptian cities.” The police responded with violence, and three protesters were killed. With tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets, Egypt saw the largest protests in decades, if not under the entire 30-year reign of President Mubarak. Is Egypt on the verge of revolution? It seems too soon to tell. Egypt, it must be remembered, is the second major recipient of U.S. military assistance in the world (following Israel), and thus, its police state and military apparatus are far more advanced and secure than Tunisia’s. Clearly, however, something is stirring. As Hilary Clinton said on the night of the protests, “Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.” In other words: “We continue to support tyranny and dictatorship over democracy and liberation.” So what else is new?
Are We Headed for a Global Revolution?
During the first phase of the global economic crisis in December of 2008, the IMF warned governments of the prospect of “violent unrest on the streets.” The head of the IMF warned that, “violent protests could break out in countries worldwide if the financial system was not restructured to benefit everyone rather than a small elite.”
In January of 2009, Obama’s then-Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the greatest threat to the National Security of the U.S. was not terrorism, but the global economic crisis:
I’d like to begin with the global economic crisis, because it already looms as the most serious one in decades, if not in centuries ... Economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they are prolonged for a one- or two-year period... And instability can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have on law and order, which can spill out in dangerous ways into the international community.
In 2007, a British Defence Ministry report was released assessing global trends in the world over the next 30 years. In assessing “Global Inequality”, the report stated that over the next 30 years:
[T]he gap between rich and poor will probably increase and absolute poverty will remain a global challenge... Disparities in wealth and advantage will therefore become more obvious, with their associated grievances and resentments, even among the growing numbers of people who are likely to be materially more prosperous than their parents and grandparents. Absolute poverty and comparative disadvantage will fuel perceptions of injustice among those whose expectations are not met, increasing tension and instability, both within and between societies and resulting in expressions of violence such as disorder, criminality, terrorism and insurgency. They may also lead to the resurgence of not only anti-capitalist ideologies, possibly linked to religious, anarchist or nihilist movements, but also to populism and the revival of Marxism.
Further, the report warned of the dangers to the established powers of a revolution emerging from the disgruntled middle classes:
The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx. The globalization of labour markets and reducing levels of national welfare provision and employment could reduce peoples’ attachment to particular states. The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and the failure of pension provision begins to bite. Faced by these twin challenges, the world’s middle-classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.
We have now reached the point where the global economic crisis has continued beyond the two-year mark. The social repercussions are starting to be felt – globally – as a result of the crisis and the coordinated responses to it. Since the global economic crisis hit the ‘Third World’ the hardest, the social and political ramifications will be felt there first. In the context of the current record-breaking hikes in the cost of food, food riots will spread around the world as they did in 2007 and 2008, just prior to the outbreak of the economic crisis. This time, however, things are much worse economically, much more desperate socially, and much more oppressive politically.
This rising discontent will spread from the developing world to the comfort of our own homes in the West. Once the harsh realization sets in that the economy is not in ‘recovery,’ but rather in a Depression, and once our governments in the West continue on their path of closing down the democratic façade and continue dismantling rights and freedoms, increasing surveillance and ‘control,’ while pushing increasingly militaristic and war-mongering foreign policies around the world (mostly in an effort to quell or crush the global awakening being experienced around the world), we in the West will come to realize that ‘We are all Tunisians.’
In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr., said in his famous speech “Beyond Vietnam”:
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
This was Part 1 of "North Africa and the Global Political Awakening," focusing on the emergence of the protest movements primarily in North Africa and the Arab world, but placing it in the context of a wider 'Global Awakening.'
When the Arab Spring spread to Egypt on Jan. 25, culminating in the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak 17 days later, it brought an electrifying sense of achievement and — as travelers and tour operators know all too well — an unwelcome side effect: the crippling of Egypt’s tourism industry, the country’s major source of revenue and jobs. A total of 14.8 million tourists came to Egypt last year, feeding $13 billion into the economy. But the number of visitors fell by 80 percent in the first month after the revolution, and the industry will probably finish this year down 25 percent, according to the tourism ministry. That is a loss of more than $3 billion.
Horse drivers take a rest at the end of the day at the stable next to the pyramids in Giza. More than eight months after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled, the euphoria of EgyptÅs political spring has surrendered to a season of discontent and despair, driven largely by a caretaker government that either refuses or fails to take action against a failing economy. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
Men work in the hand cloth market of the Islamic section of Cairo. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
People walk on the roof of the Mosque of Al-Muayyad in Cairo. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
Locals sit on a row of stairs in an area of Cairo usually popular with tourists, in Egypt. More than eight months after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled, the euphoria of EgyptÅs political spring has surrendered to a season of discontent and despair, driven largely by a caretaker government that either refuses or fails to take action against a failing economy. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
A pair of women walk through the clothes market in a usually popular tourist area of Cairo. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
Children play soccer near a usually popular tourist area of Cairo. A total of 14.8 million tourists came to Egypt last year, feeding $13 billion into the economy. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
A shopkeeper cleans the sidewalk in a popular tourist area of Cairo. The number of visitors fell by 80 percent in the first month after the revolution(Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
A group of tourists gather by the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt. The tourism industry will probably finish this year down 25 percent, according to the tourism ministry. That is a loss of more than $3 billion.(Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
A camel driver waits for a tourist who might want to rent his camel, as he sits below the Great Pyramid of Giza. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times)#
Souvenir sellers wait for customers below the Great Pyramid of Giza, in Egypt. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
Shop keepers wait for costumers at Cairo's most visited market, Khan Al-Khalili, in Egypt. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
A man sits in the Islamic section of Cairo. More than eight months after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled, the euphoria of EgyptÅs political spring has surrendered to a season of discontent and despair, driven largely by a caretaker government that either refuses or fails to take action against a failing economy. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
Local police wait in their bus at Cairo's most visited market, Khan Al-Khalili, in Egypt. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
A man sits on a step in the Islamic section of Cairo. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
Wasfi Al-Agriti, who works renting and driving horses to tourists, points to horses eating trash, he says because the workers can't afford to feed them, in Cairo. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times) #
Syeed Fathy, a camel owner and tourist guide, takes a rest after a long day with out having any tourist to rent his camels, in Giza, Egypt. More than eight months after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled, the euphoria of EgyptÅs political spring has surrendered to a season of discontent and despair, driven largely by a caretaker government that either refuses or fails to take action against a failing economy. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times)
Egypt's Unfinished Revolution: Two Years Later
Twenty-four months have passed since the start of the uprising that led to the overthrow of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. In that time, much has changed, but many of the most vocal revolutionaries are not yet satisfied. President Mohamed Morsi, who assumed office last summer, has frustrated the opposition within the new government. Morsi has sought to expand his powers by decree and has been accused of heavily favoring the wishes of his own political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is promoting a new Islamist constitution for Egypt. In the midst of all this, many of the same activists who set things in motion in 2011 took to the streets again this past weekend, feeling that their voices had been drowned out once again. At least 50 are now reported to have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and government (and pro-government) groups, and a state of emergency has been declared in three provinces.
Riot policemen beat a protester opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, during clashes along Qasr Al Nil bridge, which leads to Tahrir Square in Cairo, on January 28, 2013. Monday was the fifth day of violence in Egypt that has killed 50 people and prompted the Islamist president to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to end a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world's biggest nation. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Thousands of Egyptian protesters gather in Tahrir Square, Cairo, on January 25, 2013. Two years after Egypt's revolution began, the country's schism was on display as the mainly liberal and secular opposition held rallies saying the goals of the pro-democracy uprising have not been met and denouncing Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #
A young protester takes part in a protest near Tahrir Square to call for the fall of Islamist President on January 24, 2012 in Cairo.(Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images) #
Egyptian protesters clash with riot police near Tahrir Square, Cairo, on January 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #
Protesters flee from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes after protesters removed a concrete barrier at Qasr al-Aini Street near Tahrir Square in Cairo, on January 24, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) #
Protesters flee from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes near Tahrir Square, on January 24, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) #
Protesters help an injured protester bleeding after he was hit by a rubber bullet during clashes in Alexandria, on January 25, 2013. Youths fought Egyptian police in Cairo and Alexandria on Friday on the second anniversary of the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak and brought the election of an Islamist president who protesters accuse of riding roughshod over the new democracy. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih) #
A protester on the wall towards riot police along Sheikh Rihan street near Tahrir Square in Cairo, on January 25, 2013. Opponents of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square to revive the demands of a revolution they say has been betrayed by Islamists.(Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
An Egyptian protester talks to riot police during a protest in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, on January 25, 2013.(AP Photo/Amr Nabil) #
A protester against President Mohamed Mursi shows expended shotgun cartridges that he said were fired by riot police during clashes along Qasr Al Nil bridge, which leads to Tahrir Square in Cairo, on January 27, 2013. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
A man works on graffiti representing the Muslim Brotherhood along Mohamed Mahmoud street near Tahrir Square in Cairo, on January 24, 2013. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
Protesters against Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi stand in front of fire that they set during clashes near Tahrir Square, on January 27, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) #
An Egyptian protester waves his national flag in Cairo's Tahrir square on January 25, 2013. Protesters stormed a regional government headquarters and clashed with police as mass rallies shook Egypt on the second anniversary of a revolt that ousted Hosni Mubarak and brought Islamists to power. (Mahmoud Khaled/AFP/Getty Images) #
Protesters clash with security forces near Tahrir Square in Cairo, on January 27, 2013. (AP/Virginie Nguyen Hoang) #
Riot police set fire to tents pitched by anti-Morsi demonstrators at Tahrir Square, on January 25, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) #
Egyptian protesters sit at school desks taken from a nearby vandalized school during clashes with riot police near Tahrir Square, on January 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #
Thousands of Egyptian protesters gather in Tahrir Square, Cairo, on January 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #
An Egyptian protester gestures towards riot police during a demonstration in Cairo's Tahrir Square on January 26, 2013.(Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images) #
A riot police officer looks on during clashes between protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and riot police with other Egyptians fighting alongside them, along Qasr Al Nil bridge, in Cairo, on January 27, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany) #
An Egyptian protester evacuates an injured boy during clashes near Tahrir Square, on January 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #
A protester tries to stop a policeman from firing tear gas during clashes in Alexandria, on January 25, 2013. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih) #
Egyptians say funeral prayers in a mosque for three people who died in demonstrations marking the second anniversary of the January, 25, 2011, Egyptian revolution in Suez, Egypt, on January 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahmed Abd El-Latef, Shorouk Newspaper) #
A protester opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi holds a homemade gun during clashes with riot police, along Qasr Al Nil bridge, in Cairo, on January 27, 2013. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
Egyptian protesters tear down a cement wall built to prevent them from reaching parliament and the Cabinet building near Tahrir Square, on January 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Tallal) #
An Egyptian protester standing on the railing running along the Nile River promenade in central Cairo flashes the V-sign for victory during protests near the Egyptian capital's landmark Tahrir Square on January 27, 2013. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images) #
Riot police run towards protesters opposing Egyptian President Morsi during clashes, along Qasr Al Nil bridge, which leads to Tahrir Square, on January 28, 2013. Monday was the fifth day of violence in Egypt that has killed 50 people and prompted the Islamist president to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to end a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world's biggest nation. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
Skirmishes break out between protesters and security forces, unseen, near Tahrir Square, on January 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #
A riot police officer gestures a during clashes with protesters throwing stones at him along Sheikh Rihan street near Tahrir Square, on January 25, 2013. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
Photographers cower as protesters throw stones towards riot police along Sheikh Rihan street near Tahrir Square, on January 25, 2013.(Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
Protesters flee from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo, on January 27, 2013.(Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
Police take cover as protesters throw stones at them during clashes in Alexandria, on January 25, 2013. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih) #
Egyptian protesters throw stones at riot police, not seen, during clashes near Tahrir Square, on January 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #
Egyptian riot police detain a protester opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during clashes near Tahrir Square, on January 28, 2013.(Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #
A riot policeman watches as a thrown firebomb explodes on the wall below him, on a building overlooking demonstrators, near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, on January 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)