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Egypt: Debunking the Egyptian Military Narrative of Popular Uprising. How many Egyptians did really protest Morsi on the June 30th protests?

July 14, 2013 5 comments

We have heard astronomic numbers describing the massive June 30th anti-Morsi protests. I read and heard here and there and everywhere that the number of Egyptians in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities was in the 20 or 30 million people range. And as everyone, i was surprised by the images i watched on TV. By any standard, those were very large crowds of people in Tahrir Square and around it. But having been to Egypt and Cairo and being familiar with the streets and neighborhoods surrounding that area of Cairo, i knew that Tahrir Square couldn’t possibly hold more than 500,000 people, but i was victim as many among you to a clever optical illusion.

Although the numbers of 20 and 30 million Egyptians in the streets of Cairo and elsewhere were  unrealistic and surrealistic– for the simple reason that 30 million people represent more than 1/3rd of the population of the country–the Egyptian military junta and the coalition that it put together didn’t hesitate in repeating that number over and over to everyone willing to listening that 1/3rd of the population of Egypt was in the streets aggressively and angrily protesting Morsi’s policies and demanding his departure. And the more they repeated that number, the more it became true.  As Mark Twain famously said “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.”  Well, the little trip that that lie has taken stops here today. We are going to debunk that number and prove that it is/was physically and mathematically impossible to have 20 or 30 million people in the streets of Cairo and other cities.  We are going to do that with visual aids and a video, and we will start with Tahrir Square first and then take it from there.

1-This is a Google-Earth snapshot of Tahrir Square and the avenues surrounding it.

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2-We calculate the area surround and including Tahrir Square. We were generous and we exaggerated in our calculation of the area (as you see in the yellow circle) and we end up with 50,000 square meters.

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3-Assuming that there are 4 people per 1 square meter, then we have 200,000 people in Tahrir Square. This is a very generous figure since if you check the picture above and below, you will see that we overestimated the square by including areas that are clearly occupied by buildings, and trees and so forth. 

Screen shot 2013-07-14 at 12.52.41 PM

4-For Tahrir Square to hold 1 million protesters, we have to assume an area of 250,000 square meters and then assume that 4 people per square meter, which gives us 1 million protesters. However, the area that gives us 250,000 square meters is just not realistic at all as you can see in the picture below. We would have to remove building and flatten that area of Cairo to fit 1 million people

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5-More realistically, let us look at the streets, boulevards and avenues that the protesters occupied that day. You will see them outlined in red in the picture below.

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6-We calculated that the area that can realistically be used by the people in Tahrir Square and its surrounding streets is about 96,000 square meters. Let us rounded it up to 100,000 square meters.  Assuming 4 protester per 1 square meter, the total number of protesters in and around Tahrir Square could not exceed more than 400,000 protesters. This is nowhere close to the 1 million protesters advanced by the military junta and repeated by every pro-military junta.

Screen shot 2013-07-14 at 12.58.47 PM

So, if there were 400,000 protesters in Cairo–strike that, let us around it up to 500,000 in Cairo, how may cities would it take to get 30 million people protesting against Morsi on June 30th? We would have needed to have 500,000 protesters in 60 cities across Egypt. Is this realistic? No. Where there protests in 60 cities across Egypt? No. According to AP, the number of cities that saw substantial protests on June 30th was about 12. Even if we assumed that there were protests in 60 cities across Egypt, some cities are too small to be able to mobilize 500, 000 people. And if we go with the figure advanced by AP of 12 cities, we would have needed to have 2.5 million protesters in each of the 12 cities. Not only is this unrealistic, it is also borderline science fiction.

Why is this conversation important? Why do we need to have a somehow precise idea about the number of people who descended in the streets to protest Morsi’s policies? Because the military junta and its allies have argued (and still are) that this was a popular coup, and that  Morsi was removed by the will of the people who rejected him massively. It is also because the military establishment was alarmed by the millions and millions of Egyptians in the streets of Cairo and elsewhere protesting Morsi rules, and it is this sheer large number of people that compelled the military to step in and save Egypt from utter chaos. Well, there is no way there was even a million of people in Cairo protesting against Morsi. It is even a very generous assumption to argue that there were 2 or 3 million Egyptians across several cities protesting against Morsi.

Therefore, the basis upon which the Egyptian military justified and legitimized its intervention and coup d’etat of July 3rd is bunk, and it is total nonsense. The popular-uprising-legitimizing-the-military-coup narrative is debunked since it is based on false premise, lies, and mathematical impossibilities. The numbers and the math don’t justify or legitimize the coup. So what does? The pro-Mubarak clan does. What happened on July 3rd was not a revolution or even a popular uprising, it was a coup conducted by the pro-Mubarak  counter-revolutionaries. It is as simple as that.

Here is the video for a better view and explanation

Egypt: Videos of the pro-Morsi protests & of other events from July 13, 2013

July 13, 2013 1 comment

The military-run Egyptian media have established a blackout on all  pro-Morsi protests. It is as if they are not taken place or they haven’t been any pro-Morsi protests lately. But the reality is that for the last week, pro-Morsi protests have taken place every day, in almost every city, and every night since the beginning of the month of Ramadhan. And the numbers of pro-Morsi protesters that the MB has been able to mobilize have dwarfed the anti-Morsi protesters. We decided here to offer an alternative view and coverage and to post as many videos and pictures of the protests as possible. We are choosing to cover the pro-Morsi protests for the simple reason that we do not support censorship.  In fact, we abhor it, and we abhor biasness of the  media coverage that serves the Egyptian military junta, and the authoritarian regime that has taken root in Egypt in these last a few days. If Egyptians care about democracy-as they pretend they do–they should first and foremost protest the military junta that is slowly reestablishing a Mubarak-style regime in the country.

Click on this link to see a 10 minute video of a very large pro-Morsi protest that too place on July 7, 2013

Click here or on the link below to watch a video   that shows the testimony of a prison warden who explains how he was ordered, forced, and coerced into letting a large number of prisoners break free. He was told to look away and let these prisoners break free, and he went on to explain how this phenomenon of prison breaks across Egypt has became all of the sudden a pandemic. Indeed, for the last 6 to 8 months, several prison breaks–some of them from high security prisons–took place, and the warden in this video argues that this was all planned and directed by the military and the ministry of interior for one purpose: to create as much chaos as possible and to create an environment of insecurity and fear inside Egypt under Morsi.

Link to the video

Clip of the pro-Morsi protests from Al-Awdiya square: Click on the link to watch the video

Clip of the Pro-Morsi protests in the streets of Cairo (yesterday 7-13-2013)

Clip of the Pro-Morsi protests in the streets of Cairo (yesterday 7-13-2013)

Al-Jazeera Arabic put together a short documentary that points out the an unbelievable level of news biased coverage of the pro-Morsi protests as well as how the military junta has clamped down on pro-MB news channels and any coverage that it didn’t deem favorable to its narrative

Egypt: Shot at point blank range in cold blood by a soldier. Watch

July 10, 2013 Leave a comment

No need to write anything to introduce this video. It’s just horribly shocking. There is no excuse for it and the military must be prosecuted for these crimes. If you care about human rights (Yes i am talking to you Dr. Cole), you must denounce these crimes.

Egypt: Al-Azhar Rebellion– Sheikh Hassan Al-Shafi’i Strongly Warns General A-Sisi

July 10, 2013 Leave a comment

The institution of Al-Azhar is one of he oldest and most respected university in the Arab and Muslim world.  So, when it speaks, people listen carefully.  And yesterday, one of its most respect religious scholars, Sheikh Dr. Hassan Al-Shafi’i senior advisor to Sheikh Al-Azhar, delivered a strong worded statement to SCAF, General Al-Sis, and the interim government. It is also important to know that Sheikh Hassan Al-Shafi’i was tortured, jailed and silenced under the Nasser regime. So, he is not a stranger to politics, and this is why, i think, he was tasked to this deliver this very strong warning to General Al-Sisi. Basically, So not only does Sheikh Hassan Al-Shafi’i have street creed, but he also has academic and religious creed.

So did Sheikh Dr. Hassan Al-Shafi’i say? For those of you who understand Arabic, you can watch the video below. His statement is clear, detailed and lengthy.

However for those who don’t understand Arabic, well this is what Sheikh said in a bullet point format:

  • He accused the military of being solely responsible for the massacre of 50 unarmed pro-Morsi;
  • He stated that he had 10 eye-witnesses who are ready to testify under oath that they saw the military and the policy fire first without any provocations;
  • He stated that he had 10 eye-witnesses who are ready to testify under oath there was no attacks or guns or firing on the military and police;
  • He demanded the independent investigation;
  • He demanded financial reparations for the families of the victims
  • He was surprised by the arrogance of General Al-Sisi statement post massacre in which he didn’t talk or acknowledged the victims;
  • He accused General A-Sisi for misleading the institution of Al-Azhar by promising that peaceful protesters would be protected;
  • He refused an offer made by General A-Sisi to him to head a reconciliation and negotiation committee;
  • He demanded a stop to all arbitrary and illegal arrests of Muslim Brotherhoods;
  • He demanded the release of Morsi from prison arguing that “he committed no crime”;
  • He demanded the release of all political prisoners and those arrest post-Morsi coup;
  • He demanded a rapid return to the political process;
  • He strongly warned the military and the policy that they should stop all coercive tactics and methods—the so-called deep state– which were popular under Mubarak, Sadat and Nasser;
  • He strongly warned the military and the policy that the deep state would only radicalize the MB and push them underground;
  • He hinted that if these demands are not meet he might openly declare his opposition to SCAF, General Al-Sisi, and the interim president.

Clearly this is a very positive development for the MB. Receiving the not-so-veiled support of a respected religious scholar like Sheikh Al-Shafi’i is a boot. It will energize the base, but it will also cast on General Al-Sisi a very bad light. Al-Azhar is a very respected institution in Egypt. It is revered by every Egyptian–secular or religious. It’s the pride of the nation, and as such it has a strong impact and influence on the Egyptian society, and specifically the middle class. If that middle class defects in mass and starts throwing its support behind the MB cause, Al-Sisi would be forced into a corner.  I strongly believe that General Al-Sisi has a very small window of opportunity to operate before Egypt descends completely into a long and protected civil strife. And that window of opportunity is not in months, but in weeks.

Egypt: Videos & Photos Show Military & Police Massacring 50+ Pro-Morsi Supporters

July 9, 2013 9 comments

Update: As the fallout of the massacre conducted by the police and the Egyptian military continues, more videos and evidence support the thesis that this massacre was planned and coldly executed. The video below (video 1) and the pictures show an Egyptian soldier standing behind barricades, shielded by his colleague, not under attack or any immediate threat, taking aim, picking his targets, and shooting in complete cold-blood at pro-Morsi supporters. He does that several times during the video. What is even more troubling, he seems to be enjoying himself and even laughing. Is this the behavior of a soldier under assault? Or is it the behavior of cold-blooded sniper/killer who’s been ordered to inflict the maximum damage possible? How many did he kill?

Video 1

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Video 2

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE: A Sniper on a roof top picking out targets and taking them out (at second 48)

This is a 28 minute video that shows the events that led to the killing of 50+ pro-Morsi supporters on July 8th. What we clearly see in this video is that the early assault was given before the morning prayer–Salat Al-fijr. Moreover, the assault was given by the police and the military–i.e., the Republican Guard–was just acting as a support unit that backed the assault. The Republican Guard’s role was a supporting role–a passive role, and not an active one. In addition, this assault seemed to be planned ahead. It doesn’t look like the police were reacting or responding to a threat. They deployed their forces slowly, methodically, and advanced toward the square held by the pro-Morsi supporters. They didn’t rush. They didn’t show any sign that they were responding to a lethal threat.

This video clearly raises more questions about the official version presented to the press and the media yesterday by the Egyptian military establishment.

Questions such as: If the police gave and spearheaded the assault, why does the official version presented by the Egyptian military state that it was the Republican Guard that gave the assault? If the pro-Morsi supporters attacked the Republican Guard as the Egyptian military claims, why did the police then respond to the attack and not the Republican Guard? How come the police seemed to be prepared and acted deliberately? All of these questions raise another important one: was this attack and assault planned ahead? If so, by whom?

Video 3

Click here to watch the 3rd video

Video 4

Click here to watch the 4th video

Video 5

Click to see to watch the 5th video

Video 6

Click here to watch the 6th video

Video 7

Click here to watch the 7th video

Video 8

Click here to watch the 8th video

Video 9

Click here to watch the 9th video

 

Egypt: Autopsy of a coup d’etat

July 7, 2013 7 comments

These 3 articles (from the Guardian, New York Times, and the WashingtonPost) do a good job at explaining the background of the coup d’etat conducted by the Egyptian military junta. What is clear from these 3 articles is that the military and the clan of former president Mubarak left Morsi no room for maneuvering, acting independently and freely, or to save face.

One the one hand, i understand why Morsi turned down the offer of nominating a new prime minister and a new cabinet with a transfer of all legislative prerogatives to the new PM. If Morsi had accepted that offer under duress, his presidency would have been technically over. The military and the Mubarak clan would have steamrolled him, would have turned him into a rubber stamp. And this would have alienated his base. On the other hand, I think Morsi missed an opportunity early on in his presidency–after he swept out the highest ranks of Egypt’s powerful military and installed new top brass–for taking the initiative and nominating a new PM on his own time table and taking them all by surprise. He didn’t do that. He wasn’t able to properly read the tea leaves, so to speak.

What these 3 articles (see below) show is that Morsi is not a political animal. He’s a creature of the opposition, he made his bones in a clandestine opposition movement, and he is not so much used to political wheelings and dealings, bargaining and logrolling, and compromising and turning political setbacks into victories. This is a classic feature of all leaders who come from the same background as Morsi. The only way for them to survive is to clean house completely and build their own (like Chavez did). If they don’t do that, they have to be super shrewd and conniving (like Erdogan), and that’s the art of politics. Morsi was neither, and he paid the price for that (just like Boudiaf). I also blame his advisers for not warning him of the dangers ahead or directing him to take the initiative. As the fictional character of the television show, The West Wing, Josiah Bartlet said in a dialog with the secretary of Agriculture Roger Tribbey, the cabinet member who stayed behind during a State of the Union address:

You got a best friend?”Is he smarter than you?” Then, That’s your chief of staff.” (click link for video)

It’s not enough to be smart as president. You need to surround yourself with advisers who are 10 times smarter than you. Ask Machiavelli and read “The Prince” and you would know the importance of a good, loyal, and smart adviser.

Mohamed Morsi’s final days – the inside story

Egypt’s first freely elected president found himself isolated and abandoned by allies as even his guards simply stepped away

  • Hamza Hendawi and Maggie Michael, Associated Press
  • guardian.co.uk, Friday 5 July 2013 06.23 EDT
Mohamed Morsi

Mohamed Morsi had been at odds with virtually every institution in the country in recent months. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The army chief came to President Mohammed Morsi with a simple demand: Step down on your own.

“Over my dead body!” Morsi replied to General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Monday, two days before the army eventually ousted him after a year in office.

In the end, Egypt‘s first freely elected president found himself isolated, abandoned by allies and no one in the army or police willing to support him.

Even his Republican Guards simply stepped away as army commandos came to take him to an undisclosed defence ministry facility, according to army, security and Muslim Brotherhood officials, who gave the Associated Press an account of Morsi’s final hours in office.

The Muslim Brotherhood officials said they saw the end coming for Morsi as early as 23 June – a week before the opposition planned its first big protest. The military gave the president seven days to work out his differences with the opposition.

In recent months, Morsi had been at odds with virtually every institution in the country, including leading Muslim and Christian clerics, the judiciary, the armed forces, the police and intelligence agencies. His political opponents fuelled popular anger that Morsi was giving too much power to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, and had failed to tackle Egypt’s mounting economic problems.

There was such distrust between Morsi and the security agencies that they began withholding information from him – deploying troops and armour in cities without his knowledge.

Police also refused to protect Muslim Brotherhood offices that came under attack in the latest wave of protests.

Therefore, when Morsi was fighting for his survival, there was no one to turn to, except calling for outside help through western ambassadors and a small coterie of aides from the Brotherhood who could do little more than help him record two last-minute speeches.

In those remarks, he emotionally emphasised his electoral legitimacy – a topic that Morsi repeatedly raised in the talks with Sisi.

Early this week, during two meetings in as many days, Morsi, Sisi and Hesham Kandil, the prime minister, sat down to discuss ways out of the crisis.

But Morsi kept returning to the mandate he won in the June 2012 balloting, according to one of the officials. He said Morsi wouldn’t address the mass protests or any of the country’s most pressing problems – tenuous security, rising prices, unemployment, power cuts and traffic congestion.

A Brotherhood spokesman, Murad Ali, said the military had already decided that Morsi had to go, and Sisi would not entertain any of the concessions that the president was prepared to make.

“We were naive … We didn’t imagine betrayal would go this far,” Ali said.

“It was like, ‘either we put you in jail, or you come out and announce you are resigning,'” Ali added.

Brotherhood officials said they saw the end coming.

“We knew it was over on 23 June. Western ambassadors told us that,” said another Brotherhood spokesman. US ambassador Anne Patterson was one of the envoys, he added.

Morsi searched for allies in the army, ordering two top aides – Asaad el-Sheikh and Rifaah el-Tahtawy – to establish contact with potentially sympathetic officers in the 2nd Field Army based in Port Said and Ismailia on the Suez Canal.

The objective was to find a bargaining chip to use with Sisi, security officials with firsthand knowledge of the contacts said.

There were no signs that Morsi’s overtures had any effect, but Sisi, on learning of the contacts, took no chances. He issued directives to all unit commanders not to engage in any contacts with the presidential palace and, as a precaution, dispatched elite troops to units whose commanders had been contacted by Morsi’s aides.

The end nears

On the surface, Morsi wanted to give the impression that the government was conducting business as usual.

His offices released statements about meetings with cabinet ministers to discuss issues such as the availability of basic food items during Ramadan when Muslims feast on food after a day of dawn-to-dusk fasting. He had four cabinet ministers talk to TV reporters in the presidential palace about fuel shortages and power cuts.

The opposition had set its first mass protest for 30 June, the anniversary of his inauguration, but the demonstrations began early, and Morsi had to stop working at Ittihadiya palace on 26 June.

The next day, he and his family moved into the Cairo headquarters of the Republican Guards, an army branch that protects the president.

Morsi worked at the Qasr El Qouba palace and continued to do so until 30 June, when the Republican Guards advised him to stay put at their headquarters.

His foreign policy aide, Essam el-Haddad, telephoned western governments to put an optimistic spin on events, according to a military official. Haddad was also issuing statements in English to the foreign media, saying that the millions out on the streets did not represent all Egyptians, and that the military intervention amounted to a textbook coup.

According to the usually authoritative newspaper Al-Ahram, Morsi was offered safe passage to Turkey, Libya or elsewhere, but he declined. He also was offered immunity from prosecution if he voluntarily stepped down.

Morsi gave a speech late on Tuesday in which he vowed to stay in power and urged supporters to fight to protect his legitimacy.

Soon after, Sisi placed him under “confinement” in the Republican Guard headquarters. The next day the military’s deadline to Morsi expired. At 5am troops began deploying across major cities and the military posted videos of the movements to its Facebook page in a bid to reassure the public. Republican Guards assigned to the president and his aides walked away at midday and army commandos arrived.

There was no commotion and Morsi went quietly. That evening, Sisi announced Morsi’s removal.


In Egypt, long road to military coup

By , Published: July 5

CAIRO — Less than a year ago, then-President Mohamed Morsi swept out the highest ranks of Egypt’s powerful military and installed new top brass that many expected would be loyal to him.

The Islamist leader enjoyed a three-month honeymoon with his armed forces as a new generation of officers undertook long-delayed modernizations and appeared — for the first time — to be solidly under civilian control. But the relationship soured as Morsi’s rule increasingly challenged the core interests of the military, which functions as a major business power in Egypt in addition to its more traditional role ensuring the security and stability of the nation.

The disagreements started after Morsi’s decree, late one November night, that he had near-unlimited powers over the country and escalated as Egypt’s economy stumbled. The struggles peaked in June, when Morsi stood by twice as officials around him called for Egyptian aggression against Ethiopia and Syria, threatening to suck Egypt into conflicts that it could ill afford, former military officials said.

Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a U.S.-trained Islamist sympathizer who was Morsi’s handpicked man for the office, informed the president on June 22 that he needed to do more to unite the country. The military’s decision to step in was sealed after millions of anti-Morsi protesters took to the streets eight days later, Sisi said in a nationally televised speech announcing the takeover on Wednesday.

Now, with fighter jets performing maneuvers in the clear Cairo sky and armored personnel carriers patrolling the streets, the military is again explicitly in control of an Egypt that it led — either directly or from behind the scenes — for almost six decades before Morsi’s 368 days in power. But for all the military’s might, it appeared unable to restore peace to the streets of Egypt as clashes erupted Friday and continued into Saturday around the nation between Morsi’s supporters and his opponents, leaving at least 30 people dead, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Health.

“The dangers of Morsi’s rule have been apparent for some time now, from the decisions that he has taken and the way he managed the country,” said Talaat Mosallam, a retired major general in Egypt’s army. By June 30, he said, “it was perfectly clear that Morsi’s continuation would cause a very violent conflict between the opposition and his supporters. At that point the armed forces knew they had to move.”

Egypt’s military establishment has long held paramount power over the country, with generals turning themselves into business tycoons over the three decades that President Hosni Mubarak was in office. The army’s business holdings are shadowy and vast, estimated at anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the economy, and top leaders socialize with each other in manicured country clubs a world away from the vast, smog-filled streets where most people scrape by on just dollars a day. Military officers had run the country since the 1952 revolution, and their leadership has long been willing to go to great lengths to ensure the stability of both their own insular society and Egypt as a whole.

“Their rhetoric has always been the same: that they are there and that they won’t allow Egypt to slip into the dark tunnel,” said Michael Hanna, an expert on the Egyptian military at the Century Foundation in New York.

‘Many governing errors’

The two events in June, in which officials close to Morsi called for aggression in Ethiopia and Syria, put new strains on an already tense relationship between the leader and a military that believed the country could ill afford to involve itself in conflict.

On June 2, politicians meeting with Morsi — unaware that they were on live television — suggested sabotaging an Ethiopian project to build a dam on the Nile by arming Ethiopian rebels, launching a campaign to boast of Egypt’s military might and finishing the job with Egyptian fighter jets. Morsi refrained from giving them explicit support, but he also said later that “all options are open” to defend Egypt’s water supply.

Then, on June 15, Morsi participated in a pro-Syrian-rebel rally at which Sunni clerics repeatedly called for “holy war” in Syria — an implicit push for sectarian violence against Shiites and Alawites. Morsi himself did not call for violence, but he spoke immediately after an ultraconservative Salafist preacher who called Shiites “infidels,” and he said nothing to distance himself from the remarks. Instead, he asserted that the Egyptian “nation, leadership and army will not abandon the Syrian people,” according to Egypt’s flagship state-run al-
Ahram newspaper.

The remarks spooked the military, several analysts said, with many top officers conditioned to be concerned about Islamist sectarianism after decades in which they had worked to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood.

“It was quite clear throughout the past year that Morsi was incompetent and there were many governing errors carried out,” said Mohamed Kadry Said, a former major general who is an analyst at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo and whose remarks echo those made privately by several military officers.

Forming a new leadership

But the final straw, many analysts said, was the Sunday protests that turned millions of Morsi opponents into the streets.

“Had protests really fizzled, I’m not sure the military would have been prepared to intervene,” said Robert Springborg, an expert on the Egyptian military at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. “It brought together the civilian opposition. For the first time they were really singing off the same hymn sheet. Suddenly everyone was together” against the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now the military’s decisions will have a crucial role in shaping the weeks and months ahead, analysts say, as a fragile interim civilian government scrambles to follow a publicly announced road map and reassemble the basic components of a constitutional democracy. In the back of future leaders’ minds will be the fate of politicians who came before.

The potential for conflict is great — and it has already started, with security forces rounding up Muslim Brotherhood leaders at the same time Egypt’s new interim president was calling to include Islamist representatives in a unity government. And a conflict exists within the military’s own rhetoric, as it has struggled to balance law-and-order principles with the right to protest.

“Freedom of expression and speech is guaranteed for everyone,” a military spokesman said on the military’s Facebook page Thursday. But “the excessive use of this right . . . could represent a threat to social peace and the country’s best interest,” it said

Sharaf al-Hourani and William Booth contributed to this report.

Egypt: Update on the situation: The First “Friday Bloody Friday”

July 5, 2013 45 comments

As expected, we didn’t have to wait for long for MB’s reaction to the military coup d’etat. On Friday, Morsi’s supporters and members of the MB organization and movement started their protest cycle, which so far has been a mix of civil disobedience and active marches and protests. The reaction of the military, as expected, was repression, and casualties have been reported.

Moreover, yesterday the military junta shutdown 3  pro-MB TV channels and Al-Jazeera’s direct fed from Cairo, thus banning the popular news channel from providing any live footage of the demonstrations.

However, in the age of the Internet, there are many ways and means to circumvent these bans that belong to another age. Quickly last night, the MB organization started broadcasting live on the Internet, thus creating an alternative news source that is not subjected to military censorship. The YarmoukTV has been broadcasting and covering live all the pro-Morsi protests and initiatives.

Meanwhile, the old Mubarek clan and its coercive branch, the military, are back in power just hours after the coup was conducted and Morsi was deposed. The New York Times reports that the remnants of Egypt’s old government reasserted themselves on Thursday within hours of the military coup that deposed the country’s first freely elected president, and began a widespread crackdown on Morsi’s supporters and the top echelon of the MB organization. The legal justification for these arrests is at best fictional, and at worse purely dictatorial, and reminds us of the old days of Mubarek’s regime. As David Kirkpatrick reports for the NYT, ” The actions [taken by the military] provided the first indications of what Egypt’s new political order could look like after Mohamed Morsi.” –i.e., a repressive political order.

The BBC (Arabic) reports that among the MB leaders that the military arrested yesterday–under the charges of “instigation to violence”, a charge so vague that is nothing but a cover for pure military oppression–are: Muhammad Badie, General Adviser of the MB movement; his top aid and second in command; his predecessor at the same post; Saad al-Katatni, the former Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament; and about 300 members of the MB

To add oil to the already burning fire, the NYT reports today that Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2005 and the replacement of the ousted Morsi at the head of the new executive, along with many prominent liberals have lobbied western powers for the necessity of ousting Morsi and conducting a coup. We do not know yet if ElBaradei received the green light for the military coup from these Western powers, but what we do know is that this information reinforces the rumors that have been floating for the last 2 months that western powers (read, the US and Israel) have been conspiring to depose Morsi, the first democratically elected president from an Islamist party. Whether ElBaradei receiced the blessing of these western powers or not is not important. What is important is that this information adds legitimacy and credence to the narrative of the radical wing of the MB and the Islamist movement in general that western powers would never allow for an Islamist to be the president of a major Muslim country as strategically important as Egypt. Moreover, this only undermines the legitimacy of the military coup and any future government post-Morsi, and erodes the credibility and patriotism of the liberals and their political parties in Egypt. I would even go further and argue that all of the aforementioned consequences of this so-called conspiracy against Morsi are not important; what’s, however, is that this information will only energize the radical and undermine the moderate of the MB movement.

Finally, the first pictures of the crackdown on the MB and the violence in Egypt started to surface. I will post as many pictures as possible, not to add oil on a burning fire, but to inform.

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Top Picture: Michigan University Football Stadium, Capacity 114,000 people

Bottom Picture: Tahrir Square, Capacity 20 million people, if you believe it

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Large Pro-Morsi rallies across several cities

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This evening in Alexandria and Cairo (green capture)Screen shot 2013-07-05 at 1.31.01 PM

First civilian casualty of today’s clashes

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Pictures taken by Jeremy Bowen today, BBnews Reporter

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Source to keep yourself informed on the situation in Egypt:

Jeremy Bowen, BBCnews reporter, twitter fed: https://twitter.com/BowenBBC

Al-YarmukTV, MB news channel on the web: http://www.justin.tv/yarmouktv#/w/6060095584/3

BBC, Arabic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arabic/middleeast/

New York Times, Middle East page: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/world/middleeast/index.html

Articles worth reading:

Robert Fisk, The Independent: When is a military coup not a military coup? When it happens in Egypt, apparently

David D. Kirkpatrick, NYT: Crackdown on Morsi Backers Deepens Divide in Egypt

David D. Kirkpatrick, NYT: Prominent Egyptian Liberal Says He Sought West’s Support for Uprising