The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

In Syria, America Loses if Either Side Wins

You know those nightmarish images of chemical attack victims in Syria you saw (or if you are like me, glimpsed and then avoided looking at) last week? It should be our goal to keep that shit coming, says some Washington think tank jerk in the New York Times Op-ed pages:

... a decisive outcome for either side would be unacceptable for the United States. An Iranian-backed restoration of the Assad regime would increase Iran’s power and status across the entire Middle East, while a victory by the extremist-dominated rebels would inaugurate another wave of Al Qaeda terrorism.

There is only one outcome that the United States can possibly favor: an indefinite draw.

By tying down Mr. Assad’s army and its Iranian and Hezbollah allies in a war against Al Qaeda-aligned extremist fighters, four of Washington’s enemies will be engaged in war among themselves and prevented from attacking Americans or America’s allies.

That this is now the best option is unfortunate, indeed tragic, but favoring it is not a cruel imposition on the people of Syria, because a great majority of them are facing exactly the same predicament.


Maintaining a stalemate should be America’s objective. And the only possible method for achieving this is to arm the rebels when it seems that Mr. Assad’s forces are ascendant and to stop supplying the rebels if they actually seem to be winning.

This view has been circulating in US policy circles for months. This guy just comes out and says it. 

Egypt linkdump 23-25 August 2013
LinksThe Editorsegypt
Changes coming to this site

When I created this blog 10 years ago, shortly after the invasion of Iraq, I had no idea it would become so well-trafficked or that it would last so long. It was an experiment, one that had its up and downs, a range of contributors, the occasional hiatus and periods of prolific production. It has never been a major (or frankly even minor) source of income for me, but having been self-employed for most of that decade, I had complete freedom to put as little or as much work into the blog as I wanted.

For me, the current version of The Arabist is 4.0 — it is a mature product, with many idiosyncrasies built up over time and a personality its readers have come to expect. Some of that is going to change in the year ahead as we move towards a 5.0 iteration of the website. Some recent changes were behind the scene, in terms of the engine that drives the site and making it more mobile-accessible. The coming changes will be more editorial.

First of all, my own role in the blog will be reduced for a while at least. The editor role is passing on to Ursula Lindsey, and she is likely to become the most frequent poster. I will post occasionally but, at least initially, much less frequently.

The main reason is that I am starting a new job as the North Africa Project Director at International Crisis Group, the conflict prevention organization. My new job requires me to publicly represent them, and I want to avoid confusion with the range of views and contributors on this site. For this reason the Twitter handle I have been using, @arabist, will now mostly be used to publicize site content and links. I will be moving to @boumilo – please follow!

The Egyptian crisis, Libya's increasing chaos, and the transition in Tunisia are going to be my main focus for the next few months. This will all require a lot of my attention, and I want to dedicate myself entirely to this task, which will mean a hiatus in blogging. I'm sure that Ursula, Steve Negus, Nour Youssef, Paul Mutter and other regular contributors to the site will do a great job. Things readers have indicated they like, such as links lists, will remain – although we want to find a better way to present them and attract your attention to great articles about the Middle East, which is one of this site's main missions. And we want to act some more static content alongside the blog. So stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Et Tu Sonallah?

On the New Yorker's blog, Robyn Creswell lauds Sonallah Ibrahim (whose first novel That Smell he recently translated, to glowing reviews) as Egypt's "oracular novelist," arguing that his skepticism over the January 25 revolution's impact (he has preferred to call it an intifada, an uprising, rather than a thawra, a revolution) marks him as a "soothsayer." Creswell argues that Ibrahim's doubts echo his early skepticism of the Nasser regime, which "was seen as a harbinger of its collapse."

I am a great admirer of Ibrahim's sharp, troubling, original work -- and I was charmed by the man himself. But I think the argument above is more pertinent to his straight-forward opposition to the Sadat and the Mubarak regimes, whose shortcomings he satirized in his tour-de-force novel Zaat  and denounced publicly. Ibrahim has had a much more complicated and contradictory relationship to Nasser, like many Egyptian Communists (who voluntarily dissolved themselves in the 1960s to support the national cause) -- one in which anti-imperialism trumps anti-authorianism, and ideology overrides self-interest and otherwise excellent analytical powers. 

I say this in light of a recent interview in which Ibrahim, commenting on the current situation, says that "the military power is working on behalf of the people," and describes Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi as "a gain for political life in Egypt," a "patriotic personality" and someone who "for the first time since Gamal Abdel Nasser challenged America and the West." 

 (He also argues that "In the first place we have to understand that there is a plan, developed in research centers in Germany and the US after studying our political and social situation, to maintain their control over us. And this plan is executed by spreading a number of public figures among us to work in its interest, and one of these figures in Mohamed ElBaradei.")

I don't know when this interview was done and I don't know how reliable it is (El Youm El Sabaa isn't always a pinnacle of professionalism). Ibrahim is hardly alone among Egyptian  writers to be celebrating and defending the army after Morsi's ouster. 

But it suggests much less comforting thoughts, not about a lifetime of skepticism and prescience, but about the recurrence of a certain gullibility or delusion. 

In That Smell Ibrahim portrays a country that has turned into a prison, a place where people can't connect or tell the truth. Yet in the interview he describes Nasser as a "great leader." As Creswell himself notes in his introduction to That Smell, when Ibrahim and other Communists were jailed by Nasser in 1959, "The consistent support his faction had given Nasser ended up counting for nothing."  


Back to Basics

Our latest translation courtesy of the team at Industry Arabic is a column from former National Salvation Front spokesman Khaled Dawoud (he quit over his inability to continue dismissing the Rabaa massacre), which originally appeared here

Back to Basics

When the Tamarrod movement launched in early May and quickly moved to unseat President Mohamed Morsi, the goal was clear and simple: to call for early presidential elections -- once the man that many described as the Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau's representative in the Presidential Palace had proved a failure at managing the country's affairs, with a similar incompetence shown by the rest of his organization as well. This constituted a threat to the future of Egypt itself and the cohesion of Egyptian society, and even brought us to the brink of civil war. Furthermore, those in the movement really did believe the Road Map, the whole July 3 production, and the pledge to swiftly return to the polls for free and fair elections that would grant popular legitimacy to the new regime.

Despite their belief that the Muslim Brotherhood had completely deviated from the revolution's goals, the stated aim of the parties and movements that rose up to defend the goals of the January 25 Revolution was never to crush the Muslim Brotherhood, imprison its entire leadership and ban them from political activity – and of course not to kill them and mow them down in the hundreds. The actors who are now moving in this direction belonged to a different current that is completely unrelated to the January 25 Revolution; they are the ones who have considered the revolution from the start to be a conspiracy to put an end to their power, influence and corruption, a conspiracy launched by the Muslim Brotherhood with support from Hamas, Iran, America and the whole familiar list. The current trend toward exclusion is backed by those who belong to intellectual currents that have always considered the Brotherhood's ideology to be an obscurantist project at odds with the principles of the Nahda and Egypt's progress toward joining the ranks of the European democracies. In my view, these people do not represent the majority in Egypt's secular parties of any orientation, whether liberal, leftist or nationalist, since to put it simply, Egypt isn't France.

The truth remains that the supporters of these two currents – the old state that has been in place since 1952 with its entire apparatus of repression, murder and a duplicitous, state-controlled media along with those in certain intellectual circles who can be labeled as "exclusionists," have utterly failed to achieve the goal of crushing and excluding the Muslim Brotherhood over the past 80 years since the Brotherhood was founded. Even with all its brutality, Mubarak's police state failed to inflict a crushing defeat on the al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya that was at the forefront of the terrorist attacks in the 1990's, even though their organizational strength and popular base can hardly be compared to that of the wealthy Muslim Brotherhood, which possesses an international organization spread across more than 80 countries. The former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, who is now cooped up in a prison cell, was forced to make concessions to pave the way for a partial restoration of security and to put an end to the daily acts of violence committed by al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya and Islamic Jihad.

Certainly, the Muslim Brotherhood was stubborn, smug and arrogant up to the last moment. They tried to hold a monopoly on speaking in God's name and in the name of Islam and totally refused to recognize that there was broad opposition to their policies. They succeeded at alienating a broad spectrum of society and state institutions, which made it impossible for them to continue managing the country's affairs, even if Morsi did win in fair elections. Morsi lost his ability to govern, not just his legitimacy. Added to that, there was the whole spectacle of the sit-ins at Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda Square, which dragged on for 47 days, turning the lives of Cairo residents into a living hell with their occupation of the city's main arteries and their violent – not peaceful -- protests.

Furthermore, their media discourse was directed primarily toward the West in bid to win its support. This was due to their firm conviction that Western and American support is the only way for them to possibly return to power – although this is in fact impossible. In pursuit of this goal, Egyptian mothers did not hesitate to abandon the least drop of motherhood and parade their infant children before the cameras as they breathe in tear gas. These women insisted on staying just to shoot such a scene, or force their children in Rabaa al-Adawiya or al-Khamsa to wear burial shrouds and say they are "martyrdom projects" while "Morsi is my president, al-Sisi is a killer."

Their discourse toward us, the Egyptians, on the platform in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square was all menace and threats and plunging into the fires of hell, sectarian appeals explicitly threatening to set Upper Egypt and its churches and Christians on fire if the sit-ins were broken up, and crossing red lines in a way we have never seen before in our political existence. This was along with direct appeals to open up fractures in the army and without any scruple to avoid a repeat of the Syrian scenario in Egypt with all its brutality. For a large swathe of Egyptians, these behaviors confirmed that the Brotherhood places the interests of their organization and clan first – ahead of Egypt – and they thereby lost a great bit of the sympathy that had enjoyed among average Egyptians, who love their army – even if only by dint of the mobilization and media discourse they have been subject to over the past six decades since the army-led 1952 Revolution.

Then to make matters worse, they went and tarred everyone with the same brush, thinking that their enemies are all Mubarak supporters and "feloul," refusing to believe that comrades from the January 2011 Revolution were a pillar of the movement that ended up deposing Morsi only one year after he attained office – a historical development that not even the most optimistic Brotherhood leader would have dreamed of two and a half years ago. However, they squandered this opportunity through stupidity and arrogance, along with the belief that they possess the absolute truth, forgetting that they lack the expertise and skills to run the country. As a result, the basic rules of logic and necessity demanded that they work on building alliances and abiding by the promises that Morsi personally made in the famous Fairmont agreement with prominent national figures days before it was announced that he had won the presidency.

However, all this does not mean tolerating or shrugging off the killing of Egyptians by unaccountable security forces. This is not the state that millions of Egyptians launched a revolution in order to build in January 2011. The basic assumption that the Muslim Brotherhood has turned into a terrorist organization that will be eliminated and silenced just through violence is completely wrongheaded. It will cause a further deterioration in the situation and will give the Brotherhood's leadership exactly what it wants.

Everyone knows that the Brotherhood leadership longs for the security forces to commit murder and bloodshed as part of a clear strategy based on the idea that this is what will push the UN Security Council to convene and possibly issue an official statement with the magic words calling for the Egyptian government to "respect legitimacy," i.e. to restore Morsi to power. If the killing mounts, we will soon hear the Muslim Brotherhood leadership calling for the international community to intervene directly in Egypt under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. We cannot allow ourselves to go down that slippery slope.

What we need now is to get back to basics. Putting a stop to the bloodshed is the number one priority, since the nation and its future are at stake. These basics are the reasons the people rose up in the January 25 Revolution, and what the supporters of the old police state are clearly trying to root out: bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity.


We have always been at war with Eastasia, Egypt version

From Bradley Hope's account of the increasingly widespread belief that Morsi and friends were broken out of prison by Hamas and Hizbullah, and other re-writings of the 2011 uprising: 

This view is now being taken further by some Egyptians as they seek to explain their country's zigzag course back to a state of emergency, one of the most reviled pillars of Mubarak's rule. The role of foreign influences, including United States funding for civil society groups in Egypt, looms ever larger in their attempts to explain and justify it.

To many former members of Mubarak's National Democratic Party such as Ali El Dean Hilal Dessouki, it seems increasingly plausible to suggest that foreign Islamists, with the aid of the Brotherhood, infiltrated the protests and hijacked the revolution, setting Egypt on a path that culminated with the military's intervention on July 3.

This "second revolution", as the coup against Mr Morsi is sometimes referred to, is more meaningful and legitimate than the first, he said.

It is, Mr Dessouki said, the first "exclusively internal Egyptian uprising."

Asked why the Mubarak regime collapsed so quickly, he said it was too soon to know for certain. But he pointed to many signs of foreign intervention, including the prison break and foreign funding of non-government organisations.

"The situation was much more complicated then," he said.

The headline does not do the story justice; read it as a documentation of how the idea that Morsi – in late January a freshly arrested political prisoner – has been recast as the center of international jailbreak conspiracy. This is just one of the mind-f**ks that the battle to define what reality is in Egypt has created. He who controls the past...

Back to Cairo
The man across the aisle was reading an article headlined: “No Turning Back and No Surrender Before the Forces of Darkness.” As our plane descended over night-time Cairo, the streets were blurry in the weak city lights, and eerily empty because of a military curfew.

The Arabist household just returned, with some trepidation, to Cairo. Here is something I wrote about my own feelings on re-enty for the NYT Latitudes blog. 


Mrs. Lincoln’s Egyptian Constitution

Nathan Brown, in FP, asks: 

Can a constitution written in 2012 largely by people now decried as terrorists really be amended to serve Egypt in 2013? Isn't the new regime's "road map" to restore constitutional rule and elections superseded by recent events? 

No it is not. The process is likely to continue and the political logic behind the road map remains quite robust. The reason is that it offers a way to concretize and institutionalize the current political arrangements. Worrisome as they might be, those arrangements remain ones that the dominant military, security, and civilian actors have every interest in entrenching. Egypt will have a constitution again, to be sure -- but it is one that will be a codification of the will of the current regime, like all of Egypt's past constitutions. And Egypt's international partners are therefore likely to be confronted soon with a regime that looks very much like the present one but can present a formal democratic face.

We translated some of the measures proposed for the new constitution recently, here and here. Some of what has been announced largely reverses Islamist provisions in the 2012 constitution, but some surprising elements have also been introduced, such as a return to the Mubarak-era individual seat electoral system.

Meanwhile in Tunisia

Allegations of a deal between the country's two top political leaders: 

Not much reliable information about the meeting in Paris between former Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi and Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi has been leaked. However, it is known that the two have reached an agreement in principle, which foreign partners — namely the Europeans, the Americans and the Germans — have imposed. The two enemy brothers need to agree in order to achieve a democratic transition in Tunisia and to avoid an Egyptian-style bloody scenario, even if that would anger the popular bases of the two camps.
The deal includes keeping Ali Laarayedh at the head of the government and Mustapha Ben Jaafar at the head of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), while replacing Moncef Marzouki with Essebsi as president of the republic. As for the government, it will consist of technocrats and politicians with the addition of two new posts of deputy prime minister; one for security affairs and the other for economic affairs. These two posts will be “offered” to the democratic opposition.

If true, it's exactly the kind of elite back-room dealing that appears to be the key to fragile political transitions. 

The Way Out
I prefer to see what happened as a great fire, which many shared in starting, some out of negligence and stupidity, some out of revenge, some of out greed and some out of inattention. Everyone thought his own actions explained the fire’s outbreak, but the truth, God knows, is they all joined in starting it… And what matters is that they started it, and the army came to power claiming to put it out.

This is a passage from Ezzedine Choukri Fischere's Bab El Khoroug ("The Way Out") which I took with me this summer while traveling outside Egypt. I just wrote about in for the LRB blog.   


The tale of Kerdasa's police chief

 Thugs are thugs. They attack because they can. It makes little difference whether they are from the MB or not. Those were Kerdasa's police chief Mohamed Gabr's thoughts on his unfriendly neighborhood thugs, according to his relative Mohamed Khalil, which he conveyed a month before his brutal murder became a default example of the violence carried out by some Islamists.

Khalil and his friend Amr (an acquaintance) met chief Gabr the night they got into car accident and were taken to the Kerdasa police station for driving without a license on the Mehwar. The man offered the tea and coffee while they waited for the unlawful released the car without due process. Mostly done as a favor for his relative, partly because parts of the vehicle were going to “get misplaced” in police custody anyway. 

There Khalil and Amr encountered two signs of police weakness. The first came as a suggestion by chief Gabr himself to pay a neighborhood thug some money to let their car be and the second stood as a reminder outside the station. 

It was a lonely watchtower that fell outside of the station’s premises, inexplicably completely out of reach for the officers who were supposed to man it. The tower is the awkward result of a standoff between the police and thugs months ago that took place when the station was being restored after the 2011 nationwide attacks on the police. They had begun to build an enclosure wall around the then-new tower. However, their plan was frowned upon by a group of thugs, who had unilaterally decided that they owned the land outside the station and didn’t wish to see a wall built on it. The land, they decreed, was going to be used as a garage, where they could keep the new cars they found parked alone nearby. Outnumbered (and humiliated I might add), the police conceded to build the wall behind the tower, leaving it stranded in the new garage.

One of the few, if not the only, positive outcomes of Jan 25 that people cite is the breaking of the barrier of fear. People now are not afraid to speak their mind, protest, etc. But courage turned into impudence for some. Now people also feel safe criticizing the killing of hundreds mostly peaceful protesters, or retrieving a family member from a jail cell and shooting whoever doesn’t get out of their way fast enough.

That prompted chief Gabr to take a series of precautions to avoid the recurrent violence. First, he decided not to keep weapons in the stations anymore - nothing more than the handguns carried by each officer, that is - to dissuade nonpaying gun shoppers from visiting. And then he decided to play Hide and Seek (Elsewhere) with the families of all prisoners.

"If I arrest someone, I always make sure they get transferred to another prison so their families wouldn't know where he is," he had explained to Khalil in his office over tea. "If a prisoner spends the night here, his family will come in, take the keys, unlock the gate and take him out. If I so much as say a word; I would get shot." And he did, less than a week ago.

Only he wasn't just shot, they also reportedly slit his throat, stripped him down to his underwear, tied him to a car, next to his subordinates who suffered a similar fate, and dragged him around the station for a while before coming to rest in front of a brick wall (believed to be al-Sho'araa mosque, 300 hundred meters away from the station) where his body was dumped alongside others on the ground for people to gawk at.

There, the corpses were videotaped and asked why they brought that upon themselves. Their mothers were cursed and their red faces were covered with white sheets, only to be repeatedly uncovered by curious bystanders. (To sample the mindless violence, watch this video of one of the victims, seemingly alive, being asked to say the shahada, and when he failed to respond, a bystander furiously concluded that he was a Zionist).

Meanwhile, other bystanders cursed “the bearded sheikhs” that allegedly killed the policemen, only hours after the dispersal of the Raba'a sit-in begun, according to Mohamed Hossam, a local who watched the attack from his balcony with his neighbors.

“The neighbors were crying the whole time. My own father didn’t eat for the rest of the day,” he said, as if more perplexed by the emotional reaction to the vile public murder of almost a dozen people than by the murder itself.

“(Kerdasa’s islamists) lost people in Raba’a, so they wanted to make an example out of the police in Kerdasa,” he added dryly. “I wanted to do something, anything...but if the police can’t protect itself, then who will protect me?”

From Citizen To Problem: The New Coptic Tokenism

Paul Sedra, in Jadaliyya: 

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry released a statement this past Thursday that was entirely without precedent, and yet it received practically no media attention amidst the political turmoil the country is currently experiencing. According to the statement, “Beyond overlooking the violent and dangerous reality of the Rabea and Nahda sit-ins, a number of foreign governments and international media outlets have also chosen to overlook the recent increase in killings and attacks that are once again targeting Egypt’s Christian community.”

Observers of Egypt’s Coptic community could be forgiven for rubbing their eyes in disbelief upon reading this pronouncement by the Egyptian government. What is so remarkable and, indeed, bewildering about the statement, is that the Egyptian government has repeatedly and forcefully denied the existence of sectarianism on Egyptian soil for decades. For an arm of the government to reference Copts as a target of violence—much less reference the Copts as a distinct community at all—is a stark departure from a long-standing policy of refusing the acknowledgment of sectarian divisions within Egyptian society.

Worth reading.

With or against us

Sarah Carr on the new regime's vision of the media.  

It looks like we are heading towards media oppression that will be worse than under 2011. There is a public appetite for it and the security bodies have apparently been given a green light to do as they please. Wars on terrorism rely on crude binaries: you are either with us or against us, and this is the constant message being relayed to us (Hegazy even said during the presser yesterday that Egypt is "taking note of who is with it and who is against it"). Attempting to steer through the choppy mess that is Egypt at the moment with such a simplistic approach is disastrous and is intended to reinforce the fiction that there are only two camps in Egypt. This is about bolstering the military regime's strength, and its strength is dependent on the creation of an equal and opposing force against which it must pit itself. The Brotherhood has become its raison d'etre: There is no other reason to justify its current position and current actions.


Egypt links 15-18 August 2013

The most important piece of the last few days about Egypt, in my view, in this great reporting by David Kirkpatrick, Peter Baker and Michael Gordon in the New York Times. It's worth reading carefully because it represents the most detailed public account of efforts at defusing the post-July 3 crisis, negotiations between the army and the MB and how hardliners in the government nixed them, and gives some indication of key personalities around Sisi. It also provides details, such as that Mohammed ElBaradei meant to resign in late July after the second massacre of pro-Morsi protestors in Cairo but was convinced to remain by John Kerry. It's really sterling work.

One impression I came away reading this was that, while dynamics inside the Egyptian leadership were the most important factor, the interventions of Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham may have prevented (because of their perceived arrogance from an Egyptian point of view) a breakthrough in efforts to avoid further violence. 

Update: A source familiar with the negotiations / mediation efforts (not a journalist and not an American) confirms the NYT account is, small errors aside, largely correct but that the deal had already collapsed when McCain and Graham came to Cairo. Their swagger, at most, helped the Egyptian government in providing a pretext for nationalist backlash, but the decision had already been made to close the talks and move to a crackdown. 

Below are links collated in the last few days, from different perspectives. I may come back to a few later. 

August 17-18

  • Gulf Islamist Dissent Over Egypt | Marc Lynch
  • Saudi Arabia warns against pressing Egypt on crackdown | Reuters
  • Egypt: Building the narrative | The World
  • Egypt's Brotherhood cries foul over prison deaths | Reuters
  • AUC TA Sonbul shot in Rabaa but officially declared to have died naturally | The Insider (AUC)
  • GM, BASF reopen in Egypt, Electrolux plans partial resumption - Yahoo! Finance
  • Minister of Defence Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi statement - Aug. 18, 2013 - YouTube
  • Obama balances short-term, long-term goals in Egypt - The Washington Post
  • US has lost all credibility in the Middle East says John McCain | World news |
  • European Union - EEAS (European External Action Service) | EU-EGYPT TASK FORCE Fact Sheet
  • Weekite أجنحة صغيرة: Head of Foreign Press Association in Egypt Exposes Foreign Media Bias
  • Bloodshed in Egypt: No End In Sight | The Nation
  • EU considers suspension of €5bn in aid to Egypt -
  • David Remnick: Speaking the Truth About the Egyptian Coup : The New Yorker
  • 4 common Misconceptions Egyptians have
  • Algérie FocusTariq Ramadan : "Les Frères Musulmans doivent cesser les manifestations, cesser la politique du pire" - Algérie Focus
  • Can Human Rights defenders in Egypt win their war for country of law? - YouTube
  • Egypt’s identity crisis - The Washington Post
  • Now Egyptians are all paying the price | Ahdaf Soueif | Comment is free | The Guardian
  • The Revenge of the Police State
  • Egypt's State Information Service Statement to Foreign Correspondents
  • Morsi Critic: 'What Happens In Egypt Is Not Very Clear Abroad' : NPR
  • U.S. military needs Egypt for access to critical area
  • For Muslim Brotherhood, A Painful Day of Reckoning -
  • Egyptians grieve for loved ones as massacre continues | World news | The Guardian
  • August 15-16:

  • There is still time to side with those committed to democracy in Egypt | Maha Azzam | Comment is free | The Guardian
  • Vicious Backlash Shakes One Egyptian Town -
  • Massacre in Cairo: Egypt on Brink After Worst Violence Since 2011 Revolution | Democracy Now!
  • Mubarak Still Rules - By Steven A. Cook | Foreign Policy
  • Working-Class Cairo Neighborhood Tries to Make Sense of a Brutal Day -
  • Blood and Chaos Prevail in Egypt, Testing Control -
  • Gunbattle fought in Cairo mosque as Egypt mulls Brotherhood ban | Reuters
  • Egypt - A Fire That Will Burn Us All | Transitions
  • Israel Keeps a Wary Eye on Turmoil in Egypt -
  • Multinationals in Egypt Hunker Down To Keep Workers, Infrastructure Safe -
  • AP Analysis: Egypt enters uncharted territory - Yahoo! News
  • Things Fall Apart - By Ned Parker and David Kenner | Foreign Policy
  • Egypt’s Day of Rage - The Daily Beast
  • Ties With Egypt Army Constrain Washington -
  • The war on Egypt's churches

    Hamza Hamdawi, for AP: 

    CAIRO (AP) - After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like "prisoners of war" before a Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.

    In the four days since security forces cleared two sit-in camps by supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Islamists have attacked dozens of Coptic churches along with homes and businesses owned by the Christian minority. The campaign of intimidation appears to be a warning to Christians outside Cairo to stand down from political activism.

    This is on the hands of all of those who opted for escalation in the last few weeks, Islamist and non-Islamist. (And how about providing some protection to these obvious targets, while we're at it?)