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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs