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article imageOp-Ed: More expert opinion on recent events in Egypt

By Ken Hanly     Aug 16, 2013 in Politics
Cairo - The first wave of crackdowns is said to have killed more than 600 and left thousands wounded. Today approximately another 100 more appear to have been killed. A number of expert views on the events have been collected by Al Jazeera.
A couple of days ago, after the violent crackdown by the military on pro-Morsi demonstrations had started, Al Jazeera published an article that gave the opinion of six experts on the events. Renewed violence on Friday (August the 16) killed at least 95 people in Cairo's Ramses Square the anti-coup protesters were fired on directly by security forces. Robert Fisk, the Australian journalist, in the appended video gives an eyewitness account in which he describes seeing security force snipers shooting from rooftops. There have been protests again the violence in many countries with particularly large protests in Tunisia and Turkey.
In a more recent article Al Jazeera has updated its earlier article and expanded the number of experts commenting on recent events from six to twelve. An earlier article in Digital Journal commented on some of the submissions. This article will discuss some of the added commentators' views. Al Jazeera did not include any pro-military analyses although no doubt they must exist. The general consensus of the experts is that the developments are a set back for democratization in Egypt, and quite a few see the developments as a return to the same type of government and control as existed under Mubarak. Earlier many analysts saw the coup positively as preventing civil war and actually paving the way for democratization.
Mahmood Mamdani is a professor at Columbia University in New York City. Mamdani excoriates the liberals and leftists who saw the military coup as a means of furthering democratization in Egypt and avoiding civil war. He suggests that they deserve a considerable amount of the moral and political responsibility for what has happened. Mamdani sees the resignation of El Baradei as vice-president as a possible beginning of a liberal-left alternative. However, Egyptians appear quite polarized, and there might be little support for a third way. With recent developments, Mamdami feels that many may judge the Morsi government less harshly. Nevertheless he recognizes as do other experts, that the ineptness, and attempts to establish hegemony, helped discredit the Morsi government and make it unpopular. He points out though that Morsi's own rule was continually challenged both by the Mubarak-era judicial powers, and the security forces as well. Mamdani sees the only hope for the future in the moral courage and political foresight of an inexperienced youth movement and the recognition by liberals and leftists of their mistakes.
Sarah Mousa is a graduate student at Georgetown University and lives near the site of pro-Morsi demonstrations. She reports that when she went to the demonstrations she was always treated politely by the protesters who were eager to share their opinions and even provide her with a snack. All those she spoke with expressed frustration with the treatment of the protests in the official press which describes them as armed terrorists. Opposition Islamist TV stations both of the Brotherhood and Salafists have been shut down by the military.
What struck Mousa was a remark by one protester who had been a member of the dissolved Upper House. He said:"This is the first time that the Egyptian military has used violence against its own people," Mousa points out that less than two years ago she saw protesters run over by military tanks. She points out that during the Morsi reign there were many times that there has been state violence against protesters. While this may be true, the army itself as contrasted with the security forces often seems to be thought of as a protector of the people and has itself tried to project that image.
Mousa blames the Brotherhood for doing little to bring justice to those who were victims of police brutality. Other experts have noted that human rights activists are virtually unanimous in condemning the human rights record of the Morsi regime. Even so, this should surely be a reflection on the continuing power of the armed forces as well. The Arabic saying "I was killed the day that the white bull was killed" means that those who sacrifice others for their own sake will soon die themselves. While the Brotherhood uses the saying to suggest that the revolutionaries who support the military will soon be killed themselves, Mousa suggests that the Brotherhood already sacrificed others to its own interests by collaborating with the military in order to advance its own agenda. Mousa has no positive suggestions as to how Egyptians might find their way out of this situation.
Larbi Sadki is a professor at Qatar university. Sadki is scathing in his critique of the generals calling Al Sisi's imprint on Egyptian politics catastrophic. He describes Sisi as trigger-happy and as using a disproportionate use of force against civilians. Sisi did however, no doubt at after pressure from the US, hold off on the crackdown for some while, although negotiations for a compromise went nowhere.
As with several commentators, Sadki sees the Tamarrod movement, liberals, and many leftists as being taken for a ride by the military. As a result, he considers these groups hopeless tarnished. Sadki sees the Egyptian mess as produced by internal, rather than external forces. He says the so-called Arab liberals concentrate on bashing Islamists and joining forces with the enemies of democracy. While the blame for present violence may be mostly due to internal forces within Egypt, surely factors such as the continued support by the US of the Egyptian military is also significant in determining the way in which the military is able to exert its power, as are the generous monetary contributions to the military-supported government by many Arab states.. There are many other commentaries worth reading at the Al Jazeera article.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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