People often ask me what I think about the situation in Egypt, knowing that I worked for the Egyptian Press Office in Washington, D.C. through three and a half years of revolution and political transition. I understand the curiosity, especially since Egypt is a country that few Americans understand, but the fact is that my opinion isn’t worth that much, and neither are the opinions of most of the people you see on television.
Take a look at the situation in Egypt today: the security forces have moved in to clear the Muslim Brotherhood’s protest camps, leaving approximately 525 people dead. This is the latest in a long line of chaos that started with the 2011 revolution and has now gone through a ruling military council, an elected Islamist government, and then another takeover by the armed forces. Continue reading
Photo by Lilian Wagdy
If you have been watching the news at all over the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed that things aren’t going too well in Egypt. President Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist with close connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted by the military just one year into his term after massive protests accusing him of authoritarian tactics and a failure to address many of the biggest problems facing the country. That has led to a counter reaction in which Morsi’s supporters are taking to the streets as well, demanding a return to “legitimacy” and the restoration of the country’s first freely elected president. It is difficult to predict whether the interim government introduced by the military – which is strikingly free of Islamists – will be able to bring some kind of stability before new elections. As all of this is happening, the country is also teetering on the brink of complete economic collapse.
Keeping track of all the different factions vying for power in Egypt can be difficult enough for those who study the Middle East, let alone the average observer. However, there is no question that this is an issue of great importance for the United States. Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. aid, with a particularly large amount going to the same military that just pulled off what some are calling a “coup” (though others insist that it does not share the same characteristics as a typical military takeover). It is also the most populous country in the Arab world and a historic leader in the region. Equally important for many Americans is the fact that Egypt has the longest standing peace treaty with Israel of any Arab country, and its border with both Israel and the Gaza Strip mean that it will always be an important player in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Continue reading