6:47p It’s after midnight in Cairo and it appears things are quieting down. Today has undoubtedly been an historic day. What the consequence of it will be remains to be seen. We’ll be covering it here for you. But in closing this live blog, let me revisit some of the political and media establishment’s greatest hits over the past few years on engaging the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists in the Middle East:
Bruce Riedel, Brookings Institute:” Muslim Brotherhood is “most reasonable option” for Egypt (Jan 2011)
James Traub, NY Times Magazine and ForeignPolicy.com: Don’t Fear the Brotherhood (Feb 2011)
BBC: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood promotes moderate path (Feb 2011)
Reuters: U.S. to resume formal Muslim Brotherhood relations, officials say (June 2011)
Ed Husain, Council on Foreign Relations: Was Senator Kerry right to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood (hint: he says “yes”) (Dec 2011)
John Kiriakou, former CIA and Huffington Post contributor: Why John Kerry was right to talk to the Muslim Brotherhood (Dec 2011)
Michael Hirsh, national correspondent for National Journal: Can Obama safely embrace Islamists? (hint: yes) (April 2012)
Reuel Marc Gerect, Foundation for Defense of Democracies: The Islamist road to democracy (April 2012)
Also see my article here at PJ Media, “The Three Faces of John McCain on the Muslim Brotherhood.” I could add many more, of course, but you get my drift. Will today’s event cause any self-reflection on the part of the DC political and media establishment? Don’t hold your breath.
Thanks to everyone who followed my live blog today. Hope it was of some benefit to keep track of what was going on.
6:11p Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey, a long-time friend of PJ Media, reports that 4 people have been shot outside the Muslim Brotherhood main headquarters in Muqattam by gunmen inside the MB building.
5:33p Tamarod organizers are calling for another protest on Tuesday.
5:10p The 2nd biggest target of the protests today appears to be US Ambassador Anne Patterson. Her image is almost, but not quite, as ubiquitous as Morsi’s. Here’s just one photo:
4:51p This Al-Ahram video shows the hundreds of thousands outside the presidential palace earlier:
4:47p Department of Homeland Security adviser Mohamed Elibiary tweets dismissively that the Tamarod protests fighting against the fascism of the Muslim Brotherhood.
4:37p Tom Blumer at Newsbusters notes that the US establishment media is ignoring for the most part the anti-Obama, anti-American sentiment of the Tamarod protests.
4:28p 3 anti-Morsi protesters killed in Assiyut when they came under “heavy fire” from Morsi supporters as they were headed to the MB headquarters.
4:06p Game on. Reports are that a large crowd of pro-Morsi supporters are on the move and quite possibly headed towards the presidential palace where there are reports that hundreds of thousands of Tamarod protesters are still there.
3:53p The Ministry of the Interior has estimated the crowd sizes to be 17 million, which makes the NBC News claim of “tens of thousands” absolutely laughable. BBC is also citing the 17 million number.
3:49p Shorouk News has video of what appears to be gunmen on top of a Muslim Brotherhood office (the MB logo can clearly be seen on the building) in Garbiya firing onto the crowd below. Nothing to indicate that the crowd was doing anything remotely threatening.
3:09p NBC is reporting that “tens of thousands” are out protesting against Morsi. Are they delusional or just outright lying?
2:58p Media reports are coming in with estimates of the crowd sizes across Egypt. Al-Masry Al-Youm cites experts that more than 17 million are in the streets today.
2:50p Al-Masry Al-Youm is reporting that a Brotherhood leader has been arrested for firing at the crowd in Beni Suef where at least one anti-Morsi protester was killed.
2:45p No sooner had I written that previous item then Ikhwanweb deleted the tweet and admitted it wasn’t as they represented.
2:41p The Muslim Brotherhood’s official Ikhwanweb gets caught floating fake pictures. They tweeted out this picture earlier claiming it was of a MB supporter killed over the weekend, but in the comments critics note it is an old photo of a Palestinian mother and her dead son.
2:38p Some reports of violence starting to trickle in. Several hundreds protesters are at the Muslim Brotherhood headquareters in Moqqatam where some molotov cocktails have been thrown. In Beni Suef, where the local MB HQ was attacked early this morning, assailants attacks the anti-Morsi protest leaving one dead and 30 injured Al-Ahram is reporting.
2:36p Sky News Arabia has some video of weapons seized from Muslim Brotherhood supporters today.
2:30p Egyptocracy has a running feed of pictures of protests from all over Egypt.
2:27p Prominent Egyptian novelist Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid writes: The Brotherhood has lost the streets. The MB has been a one-trick pony – mass mobilization. Now the other side has responded in spades. What happens now though?
2:11p The crowd in Alexandria is also simply massive.
2:01p This shot of the crowd at Tahrir Square from the Cairo Tower is all over Twitter at the moment.
Can’t find the original source. Picture by Ahmed Harfoush.
1:50p So after a few hours the protests have swelled into the millions up and down Egypt with only isolated incidents of conflict. From all media reports, there are millions in the streets. Even the Muslim Brotherhood’s top international jurist, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, appears to be hedging his bets.
9:36a Multiple media reports that Morsi will be giving an address at 6p Cairo time. I don’t expect any earth-shattering announcement.
9:33a The anti-Morsi and pro-Morsi crowds have been staying apart so far with very few reports of violence. So far, so good.
8:52a It was just over four years ago that Obama gave his infamous speech at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Now this is the sentiment towards America (and Obama’s ambassador Anne Patterson) in Tahrir Square today (from Al-Ahram):
8:33a In about 90 minutes the various protests around Cairo will begin marching to converge at the presidential palace.
8:31a Adam Kredo at the Washington Free Beacon interviews an Egyptian activist highly critical of the Obama administration’s support for the Morsi regime, saying the White House is the “main supporter of the Brotherhood.”
8:24a Aswat Masriya reports that Islamists have blocked all the roads leading to their rally in Nasr City. Dig the picture of all those non-violent Morsi supporters with their sticks and pipes.
8:19a The Wall Street Journal has started their live blogging.
8:04a Egypt Independent reports that Morsi has considered a proposal for Defense Minister al-Sisi to temporarily serve as prime minister for six months. Tamarod leaders have said that any proposal that does not include Morsi’s removal is unacceptable. The report also states that Al-Sisi has given the political players one week to come to an agreement before the army steps in to prevent the country descending in to chaos.
7:44a Al-Ahram reporting that assailants have stormed Ain Shams University, firing at security guards and students. The university has been the site of an anti-Morsi sit-in.
7:37a Al-Ahram is reporting that hundreds of anti-Morsi protesters have closed the road between Cairo and Alexandria.
7:26a Egypt Independent is reporting that 17 members of Gamaa al-Islamiya (a US designated terrorist group) were arrested on their way to the pro-Morsi rally in Nasr City with weapons in their cars.
7:11a Thanks to Instapundit for the shout out.
6:37a Compare and contrast. On the left hand side of this picture is the current scene from the Tamarod protest in Tahrir Square. On the right is the pro-Morsi rally in Nasr City.
6:30a Al-Masry Al-Youm is reporting that an explosion has gone off in an apartment in Bassatine, in old city Cairo, where homemade explosives were being made.
5:58a This El Watan news report (Arabic) says that authorities have recovered 142 grenades and 440 rockets from apartments near Tahrir Square.
5:53a This article gives the perspective of the Muslim Brotherhood/Salafis backing Morsi of today’s events: The view from the palace window
5:42a Al-Ahram is reporting that the Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party headquarters in Beni Suef has been torched and that thousands are out in the governorate. Beni Suef is about 70 miles south of Cairo.
5:25a It’s still hours before the scheduled protest in Tahrir Square (4p Cairo time), but watching the live feed the crowd already seems pretty energized.
5:20a Reuters: Egypt protests set for showdown, violence feared
5:18a Thanks to Mandy Nagy at Legal Insurrection for the shout out.
5:10a The Tamarod protests are not scheduled until later this afternoon Cairo time, but you can see from current pictures from Tahrir Square that crowds are already starting to gather.
5:06a Another black mark on Morsi’s first year in office was the beating and torture of anti-Morsi protesters by Muslim Brotherhood goon squads right outside the presidential palace gates. According to Human Rights Watch, 11 were killed and hundreds of others injured.
4:53a In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Morsi rejected calls for new elections.
4:49a This short Al Jazeera video chronicles the troubled year since Morsi took power.
4:37a For an idea of the loathing of the Obama administration by the secular forces in Egypt, take a look at the pic heading this McClatchy article of US Ambassador Anne Patterson’s picture being burned at an anti-Morsi protest on Friday. Patterson has not only been meeting with top members of the Morsi regime in recent weeks but also senior Muslim Brotherhood members. Her June 18th speech in Cairo defending the Obama adminsitration’s relations with the Morsi regime didn’t go over well either.
4:26a Washington Post this morning: Egyptian group accuses U.S. of backing Morsi on eve of nationwide protest rallies
3:58a As a reminder, much of this crisis came about last November when Morsi claimed dictator’s powers and said he was above the law in order to push through an Islamist constitutional referendum. He didn’t annul the decree until several weeks later, still holding onto some dictator’s powers, and just days before the questionable referendum was held.
3:34a The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that a US Marine rapid reaction force is on standby for today’s Tamarod protest in Egypt, in stark contrast to Benghazi:
U.S. military officials said commanders ordered on alert a Marine crisis-response force located in Italy and Spain. Military commanders also put the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, whose ships are in the region, on alert.
The crisis-response task force is split between Moron, Spain, and Sigonella, Italy and consists of about 550 Marines. A marine expeditionary unit typically consists of 2,200 Marines and includes fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
A military official said U.S. Central Command is monitoring the situation in Cairo and has been in regular contact with the State Department. But there has been no official order for an evacuation or to prepare for one, military officials said.
3:01a Here’s an article in today’s LA Times on the preparations made by Islamist groups preparing to counter the Tamarod protests:
Many among the hundreds of Islamists gathered beneath a scorching sun read the Koran, marched with sticks past flags of jihad and pledged their loyalty to President Mohamed Morsi, whose rule has sharply divided the nation.
Some in the crowd Saturday chanted fiery rhetoric, others wore hard hats as if awaiting battle and scores retreated to tents in the shade, where they prayed and talked politics beyond the gates of a mosque not far from the presidential palace. They all sensed that trouble was coming and that the days ahead would define the future of Egypt.
2:46a The Prosecutor General for the Morsi regime has launched an investigation into the leaders of the Tamarod movement and political opposition figures for “incitement to overthrow the regime.”
2:39a There was also a pro-Morsi/Muslim Brotherhood protest yesterday in New York City. Here’s the Facebook page with pics.
2:35a Here is a report with some pics and video from the Tamarod/Rebel protest in Washington DC yesterday.
2:30a Here’s the report on that car caught coming through the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt with weapons:
Egyptian security forces have seized on Saturday a vehicle loaded with five Grad missiles in North Sinai’s city of Rafah which borders the Gaza Strip, before a security officer was killed in the area.
“The car was carrying five Grad rockets, a number of grenades, land mines and machine guns,” a source told Xinhua.
Border security forces at a checkpoint suspected two vehicles passing through the mountain area in North Sinai and shot at both. They managed to seize one as the other escaped, said the source.
2:13a The Committee to Protect Journalists warns that the Morsi regime has warned media outlets they may be shut down today:
Egypt’s Ministry of Investment sent notice today to all satellite television channels warning they will be shut down if the government deems that their coverage of this weekend’s political protests incites violence, insults individuals, or contradicts societal values, news reports said. Numerous journalists are also facing new legal threats in the two days since President Mohamed Morsi blasted independent media in his national address, according to Egyptian news reports, which also described the abduction of an editor.
1:51a Hearing from locals that a car was intercepted coming thru the Rafah border crossing from Hamas-controlled Gaza into Egypt carrying five Grad rockets, hand grenades, land mines and automatic weapons. Will provide a link once I have it.
12:20a Roger Simon tweets out this article: Egyptians protesting Morsi accuse US government of supporting Islamists
12:18a Just a reminder that back in March, the State Department authorized shipment of 140,000 teargas canisters to the Morsi regime. That’s in addition to the F-16s and 200 M1 Abrams tanks being given by the Obama administration to the Egyptian military.
12:13a Rick Moran here at PJ Tatler yesterday: Marines on alert in advance of Egypt protests
11:55p Sam Tadros from the Hudson Institute sends this video of Muslim Brotherhood cadres training with helmets, shields and long sticks for today’s Islamist counter-protests:
11:37p It’s past sunrise in Cairo, and I’ll be live blogging the Tamarod/Rebel protests all over Egypt targeting President Mohamed Morsi here all Sunday and live tweeting at my Twitter account. All times ET.
For some background on today’s protests, here’s some background reading and links to their Twitter accounts:
Betsy Hiel, Middle East correspondent for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Egyptian liberals, moderates angry over American support for Muslim Brotherhood