News / Middle East

    Could Egypt be Headed for Civil Conflict?

    Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi hold up signs during a protest demanding that Mursi resign at Tahrir Square in Cairo, July 2, 2013.
    Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi hold up signs during a protest demanding that Mursi resign at Tahrir Square in Cairo, July 2, 2013.
    Cecily Hilleary
    Egypt is poised for a major confrontation as the president and his supporters hunker down in the face of hundreds of thousands jamming city squares and streets demanding the government step down and as the military waits in the wings, ready to step in and impose its own solution to the ongoing dispute.

    President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters have rejected an army ultimatum giving him two days to come to an agreement with the opposition demonstrators.

    Mohamed Al-Beltagy, the general secretary for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, is urging supporters into the streets to prevent what they are saying amounts to a military coup, adding, “We’re ready to give our lives for the country and the people.”

    And the Brotherhood’s media spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad, sent this message to the opposition via the social media site Twitter:  “We can't keep running elections until #MB [Muslim Brotherhood] loses. Come up with a better strategy or accept democratic outcomes.”


    The Army issued its ultimatum on Monday, saying it was designed to push the politicians into reaching a consensus and that the military was responding to the “pulse of the Egyptian street.”    

    Michael Collins Dunn, editor of the Middle East Journal of the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C., says there is merit to the claim.
     
    “I think that it’s a clear case that a lot of people have been suggesting that military intervention might be the only solution, including some of the same people who, a little over a year ago, wanted to get rid of SCAF [the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces], and now they seem to be getting their wish,” Dunn said.
     
    But Dunn conceded that the opposition drive to get Morsi out of office only a year after he won the presidency in a democratic election may seem unfair to many.
     
    “On the other hand, I think Morsi’s done very little to reach out to the opposition,” he said. “He’s done very little to bring various elements of society together.  He’s virtually ignored the Copts, to the point that mistreatment of Copts has increased. 

    “He has clearly done very little for the economy,” Dunn continued.  “He has sort of said, ‘Look I won by 51 percent so now I get to do whatever I want to.’”
     
    Egyptian journalist, and activist Wael Abbas figured prominently in Egypt’s 2011 uprising and says Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood brought most of the troubles on themselves.
     
    “The Muslim Brotherhood’s stupidity is what led us here,” said Abbas.  “Morsi tried to take all powers for himself and he did not allow any factions of the opposition to participate and he didn’t take our advice. 
     
    “And instead of cleaning up the old corrupt system in Egypt, he infiltrated it with elements of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Abbas said. “He put them as ministers, as governors, even in lower positions in all the governmental institutions.”
     
    Abbas points back to the original demands of the revolution:  The overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak, an end to emergency laws, a representative constitution, transparent elections, term limits, economic improvements and justice for those killed by police and military in the revolution. 

    “Nobody, not the Army, not the Muslim Brotherhood, has fulfilled the demands of the revolution yet,” Abbas said. “We are seeing trials that are charades.  Police officers who killed protesters are being freed on claims of self-defense.  Nobody has avenged the martyrs of the revolution, and now people are welcoming the army again, despite the fact that the army has put tens of thousands of citizens on trial before illegal military tribunals and put them in jail.”

    So what happens next in Egypt? As of Tuesday, the choice seemed to be either Morsi and the opposition work out an agreement whereby he institutes the reforms the Army and demonstrators are demanding—or the army, with the support of the people on the ground, intervenes to bring him down. 

    That, says Dunn, could lead to a “nightmare scenario,” similar to what happened in Algeria during the 1990s: “Where the Islamists say, ‘All right, we can’t win democratically, because you are going to take away our victory, so we’re going to win by military action.’

    You May Like

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    July 03, 2013 12:36 PM
    Egypt is not an inch near a civil war. Egypt just wants to correct the error made in 2012 when Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood was mistakenly handed the fate of Egypt. The army made that mistake; the army wants to correct it. The platform is provided by the good people of Egypt themselves fed up with the falsehood that Muslim Brotherhood means to the country. The most grievous mistake is that Egypt has been forced to operate not a national constitution but the constitution of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    This eliminated positions of the liberals, moderates, secular, Christians and other minorities, and instituted the hateful conservative barbarism and vendetta of extremist Islam. It gets to the point and the people of Egypt rose to demand to be ruled in proper manners. So if the army takes over, it is because it wants to continue from where it stopped until it provides a proper constitution for Egypt that embodies the tenets of democratic practices worldwide, since there is no democracy in Islam. Simply put, Egypt is on the road to reversing and correcting history, but it does not lead to a civil war even though there be an initial civil unrest because of extremists in the country.

    by: P Smith from: Chicago
    July 02, 2013 5:28 PM
    Morsi won the election. He is president. Egypt can replace him in the next election. Let this be a lesson to them for electing a jerk.

    by: john s. from: usa
    July 02, 2013 5:16 PM
    Egypt is not "Headed" for civil conflict. Egypt has been in a civil conflict since they deposed Mubarak. Morsi's election was the nail in the coffin and we see now further turmoil. Unfortunately Egypt could become another Iraq or Syria. Religious sects, Islamists and the unwillingness to accept civilized dissension is coming very close to a full civil war... Let us hope that this will not happen. In the meantime, America should stay out of the conflict as it is proven that no matter who gets the upper hand, both, winners and losers will always blame the USA for their mess. So much for Obama's naive ideas that we can become friends with the Middle East masses.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.