Egypt's Bloody Crackdown Raises Specter Of Prolonged Battle

Aug 15, 2013
Originally published on August 15, 2013 3:32 pm

In the wake of the deadly crackdown by Egypt's security forces, many analysts are no longer talking about a country struggling with democracy. Rather, they see a revolution gone awry and a military that seems determined to crush the Muslim Brotherhood.

"I don't think it's right for us to even talk about a democratic transition in Egypt," Shadi Hamid, director of research for the Brookings Doha Center, told NPR's Tell Me More. "The transition is over. And again, what we might be seeing is something worse than what happened under [former President Hosni] Mubarak."

Those sentiments were echoed by Steven A. Cook, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In a piece headlined "Mubarak Still Rules," Cook argued in Foreign Policy magazine that "the 'revolution' that really never was, is over."

"Just as Egypt's political system before the January 25 [2011] uprising was rigged in favor of Mubarak and his constituents, the Brothers sought to stack the new order in their favor, and today's winners will build a political system that reflects their interests. ... Although virtually all political actors have leveraged the language of political reform and espoused liberal ideas, they have nevertheless sought to wield power through exclusion. This has created an environment in which the losers do not process their grievances through elections, parliamentary debate, consensus-building, and compromise — but through military intervention and street protests. This plays into the hands of those powerful groups embedded within the state who have worked to restore the old order almost from the time that Hosni Mubarak stepped down into ignominy two and a half years ago."

The Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi was deposed by the military last month.

Obama's Criticism

President Obama, in his first public remarks since Wednesday's events in Cairo, "strongly condemned" the crackdown and canceled biannual military exercises with Egypt planned for next month.

The president did not specifically mention the $1.5 billion that the U.S. provides in aid to Egypt each year, saying only that Washington would continue to monitor conditions and may take further steps.

Hamid, the analyst from Brookings Doha, called it a "very weak response."

"The U.S. isn't really willing to put a lot more pressure on the Egyptian military," Hamid told Tell Me More. "And this is after a day where ... it's really the single highest death toll in Egypt's recent history."

Here are some of the other reactions to the events in Egypt:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon condemned the violence "in the strongest terms."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a supporter of Morsi's, said he was "utterly dismayed" by the crackdown and called on the U.N. and Arab League to intervene "to stop this massacre."

Qatar, which supported Morsi's government that was ousted last month, "denounced the alarming events."

Catherine Ashton, the European Union high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, "deplore[d] the loss of lives, injuries and destruction in Cairo and other places in Egypt."

One country that was not critical was the United Arab Emirates. The UAE opposes the Muslim Brotherhood and pledged $3 billion to Egypt after Morsi's ouster. The UAE said it "re-affirms its understanding of the sovereign measures taken by the Egyptian government after having exercised maximum self-control."

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