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Links 09 July 2013

New York Times, Army Kills 51, Deepening Crisis in Egypt:

    “The mass shooting of Islamist protesters by security forces on Monday at a sit-in for Mohamed Morsi, the ousted president, injected new outrage into the standoff over his removal by Egypt’s top generals….
    “Leaders of the Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest Islamist group and best-organized political force, said the generals had now shown their authoritarian colors, using lethal weapons to crush dissent while holding the freely elected president captive. They called for a national ‘uprising’ against the return of a military dictatorship. …
    “Sit-in participants said gunmen had fired on them from atop the military buildings surrounding their camp. Video footage captured by the Islamists showed a soldier firing down from a roof while another calmly filmed the mayhem below.
    “Sandbagged gun turrets were still visible hours later on some rooftops, and the angles of scores of bullet holes in cars, lampposts and the Islamists’ makeshift metal barriers indicated that gunfire hit at an angle from above.
    “Many witnesses said the fighting lasted for hours, with hundreds of heavily armed soldiers chasing mostly unarmed protesters through the streets for blocks while continuing to shoot. Bullet holes, bullet casings and pools of blood dotted the ground hundreds of yards from the presidential guardhouse where the fighting had begun.”

Juan Cole, Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Calls for “Uprising” as Plan for Elections is Announced:

    [Dr. Cole cites an eyewitness account by a man named Omar Ahmed who is “known to Egyptian friends whom I trust.”]
    “He says that the army [used] a microphone to demand that the crowd near the Republican Guards Barracks disperse, and that the Brotherhood used their microphones to announce that martyrdom so near Ramadan would be a great thing. The army fired tear gas.
    “Then Omar heard firing at the troops and screams from the military side. The sniping was coming from al-Mustafa Mosque. The troops were also being hit with molotov cocktails. Then the microphone of the mosque threatened the troops, saying they are baby-killers.
    “Then a Brother began firing wildly with an automatic weapon. The troops returned fire and after that there were just bodies falling and men being taken into custody by the army. At 5 am, an hour into the clashes, reinforcements of more police and military showed up, and the Brotherhood militants withdrew to the Rabia al-Adawiya square or found refuge with local families in their apartments….
    “The dead include at least three military, and some 51 others, most of them likely non-combatants in the wrong place at the wrong time. …
    “On Monday evening, interim president Mansour tried to change the conversation by setting out a timetable for return to elected government. He said that within 15 days, a council of jurists must be appointed that would have two months to revise the 2012 constitution…. Parliamentary elections must be held by the end of the year or very early in Jan. 2014. The date for presidential elections hasn’t been set yet.”

Sarah Carr in Jadaliyya, On Sheep and Infidels:

    “There is a visceral hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Salafi associates amongst some Egyptians. This hatred spans all social classes and predates current events. It is born out of an arguably justified mistrust and fear of the group, who have lied, put their own interests first, excluded other groups, ramrodded through an excuse for a constitution, attempted to give Morsi dictator powers, flirted with the military and dallied in sectarianism politics in a frightening way. It failed to understand that it was running a country, and it missed the point that for public relations purposes if you are an Arab president who desires to quash dissent through an organized group you better make sure that that group is in uniform.
    “Perhaps most importantly, they were feeble as hell at governing Egypt at a time when amateurs really just would not do.
    “When Morsi supporters attempt to put their case forward their arguments bounce back off a wall of hate, but — deep breath — in my opinion these arguments were not without merit — up until 30 June. … Mendacity, poor governance, self-interest, and sidelining of other political powers are pretty much the watch-words of all political groups and are not, in isolation, enough to justify a president’s removal by the military. …
    “So my position on events pre-30 June has not been changed by events since: the Muslim Brotherhood should have been left to fail as they had not (yet) committed an act justifying Morsi’s removal by the military. The price Egypt has paid and will pay for the consequences of this decision are too high. It has created a generation of Islamists who genuinely believe that democracy does not include them. The post-30 June fallout reaffirms this belief, especially with Islamist channels and newspapers closed down as well as leaders detained and held incommunicado…. It is Egyptian society that will pay the price of the grievances this causes, and the fact that, with a silenced media and no coverage from independent outlets they have been left with virtually no channels to get their voice heard. …
    “Nothing has changed. The real revolution will happen when army involvement in politics is a distant relic of history.”

Nikolas K. Gvosdev in The National Interest, U.S. Values and Interests Clash in Egypt:

    “Of course, one of the main problems was that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were classic “illiberal democrats”—prepared to accept the necessity of elections and to have some policies put to the voters for validation but in no way inclined to endorse the full panoply of civil and political rights and ready to impose limits on freedom of speech and assembly. They were, in other words, prepared to accept opposition—but only on their terms. …
    “This creates a new dilemma for Washington. Certainly American interests are served by having the Egyptian military—much more of a known quantity, compared with the Brotherhood, ‘back in the saddle,’ but it also means accepting the armed forces as a clear counterweight to the possible excesses of the popular majority or of political leaders like the Brotherhood—and allowing the army to set ‘red lines’ for politics and to enforce them. … To some extent, what has happened in Egypt resembles the ‘soft coups’ that used to occur in Turkey, where the military would intervene and where such intervention usually coincided with U.S. interests, even if it offended U.S. values.”

Human Rights Watch, Egypt: Judge Government on Respect for People’s Rights (from July 4):

    “Egypt’s new government should break decisively from a pattern of serious abuses that has prevailed since the January 2011 uprising, and make a commitment to respect the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly. Authorities should protect and promote the rights of all Egyptians, and halt arbitrary arrests of members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated Freedom and Justice Party. …
    “‘Egyptians suffered enormously under the generals and then under President Morsy’s government, which shoved human rights to the sidelines,’ said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. ‘One test of whether Egypt can return to a path of democratic development will rest on whether the Freedom and Justice Party can operate without political reprisals against its members.’ …
    “Egypt’s new interim president and the military leadership should immediately end reprisals against Muslim Brotherhood political leaders, including arrests or travel bans, and should allow the Freedom and Justice Party to fully exercise freedom of association, Human Rights Watch said.
    “The new government needs to make it clear immediately that it and all state bodies, including the armed forces, will respect all basic rights that apply within Egypt at all times.”

Agence France Presse, Morsy Ouster in Egypt Crushes Hamas Dreams: Analysts.

BBC News Magazine, Hikikomori: Why Are So Many Japanese Men Refusing to Leave Their Rooms?, Homosexuality: Tariq Ramadan Drops a Bomb in Dakar (in French).

    “In a country with a 95% Muslim population who are radical with regard to any recognition of homosexual status, one must be brave, yes, very brave to dare to integrate gays into the ranks of ‘followers of Islam.’ And that’s what the Swiss citizen of Egyptian origin did in confiding that ‘it isn’t because one is homosexual that one isn’t Muslim.’ A remark that continues to provoke controversy in the country. Tariq Ramadan didn’t stop there. … ‘All scholars are unanimous on the question. Islam forbids homosexuality, as do all the monotheistic religions. But, being homosexual doesn’t mean that one isn’t Muslim. There is no witch hunt,’ noted Tariq Ramadan, who went further. ‘We need to promote a discourse of responsibility and avoid judging.”


Comment from Bill Day
Time: July 9, 2013, 07:16

A couple of interesting points here. I had not heard that the Brotherhood had allegedly fired first, nor that Tariq Ramadan had come out. Never a dull moment at eatbees (old or new).

Comment from Marcel Côté
Time: July 9, 2013, 08:27

Bill, if by “coming out” you mean he told the world he is gay, that isn’t what the article says at all! He simply said that in his view, being gay shouldn’t automatically exclude a person from the community of Muslims. Sort of a “love the sinner, hate the sin” sort of thing. Which is actually pretty weak tea, despite the controversy the article tries to attach to it.

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