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Is Egypt Coming Apart?

Sectarian strife, remilitarized Sinai point to uncertain future

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A Coptic Christian woman mourns yesterday in Cairo.(Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

A quick Egypt update. On Monday, in a clash in Cairo seemingly instigated by security services, more than two dozen Coptic Christians (members of Egypt’s largest religious minority, over ten percent of the population) were killed and many more injured. As Coptic leaders blame the ruling military and the country’s leaders, in turn, deflect criticism, it seems like, eight months after President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, the accusation that his rule has merely continued via different people—other members of the military that had previously been loyal to him—could gain traction. On the other hand, while liberals joined the Coptic denunciations, the powerful and popular Muslim Brotherhood, which has shown a penchant for striking deals with the military (which used to suppress it) over the past half-year, has kept relatively silent.

Meanwhile, up north, Israel is ever more anxious about the Sinai, due to both the half-dozen sabotage attempts on the natural gas pipeline and the August attack in southern Israel that was launched from the Egyptian peninsula. So, for the not first time this year, on Monday it granted Egypt the right to station yet more troops there, even though, under the Israeli-Egyptian peace, the area, which Israel captured during 1967’s Six Day War and returned as part of the peace deal, is supposed to be demilitarized.

Finally, the violence against the Copts has raised talk in the United States of slowing or cutting military aid to Egypt. Remember that that aid, as things stand now anyway, comes in tandem with Israeli aid; Egypt is the second-largest recipient of annual U.S. military aid, Israel the first.

Turns out toppling a dictator can get messy!

Copts Denounce Egyptian Government Over Killings [NYT]
Israel Permits More Egyptian Soldiers to Enter Sinai, Issues New Travel Warning [AP/WP]
Leahy: No ‘Blank Check’ for Egyptian Army [Ben Smith]

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George One says:

Toppling dictators – a messy business. A child could have foreseen that months ago. The military have been ruling Egypt since 1952. Better a stable military dictatorship that allows you certain freedoms in your personal life if you’re not an active opponent, than a theocracy that not only removes your political freedom but also dictates how you must live your personal life. The choice in Egypt now is not between democracy and dictatorship – it is between military, secular dictatorship, or theocratic, fundamentalist dictatorship.

Is Egypt coming apart…oh let’s not wet our pants all at once shall we.

philip mann says:

The whole Arab structure is crumbling ,and one good shove should sent it into the abyss. Let the Turks handle it,what with them being so even handed and far-thinking.

You’d like that fine Philip…the fall and dismal death of hope…one thousand delightful sights of dead Arabs dancing in your craven and fevered imagination.

HannaH says:

All I can say is thank President of the United States. promised change. And what happening in Libya. I understand they lost 1200 stinger type missiles. Our presidents surely makes our world more exciting.

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Is Egypt Coming Apart?

Sectarian strife, remilitarized Sinai point to uncertain future

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