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Bridget Johnson


July 27, 2013 - 9:32 pm

The U.S. government condemned fresh violence in Egypt and criticized the detention of key Muslim Brotherhood figures even as opponents of Mohamed Morsi say his advocates are both instigating violence and inflating casualty claims.

The National Salvation Front, which was Morsi’s main opposition, said the Brotherhood “has gathered its supporters in Rabaa Al-Adawiya [sit-in in Cairo's Nasr City] for a month now and claims that confronting the armed forces and the police, attacking private and governmental institutions, and endangering the lives of the Egyptian citizens is jihad for God, and they will receive martyrdom if they [die] in these attacks,” according to Al-Ahram.

The coalition also said the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy is to “increase the conflicts, and cause more innocent Egyptian casualties” with an “inciting hostility approach” to exaggerate the numbers of deaths and injuries during the clashes. This has been backed up for many days by leading Egyptian tweeters who have pointed out that the facts on the ground are not as the Muslim Brotherhood was claiming through its social networking operation.

“Based on reports of the committee, all those responsible must be held accountable, including the minister of interior, if it is proven that the security forces were involved in excessive use of force against protesters,” the NSF statement said, concluding that the “leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were not content that millions of Egyptians [on Friday] took to the streets nationwide to confirm their adherence to the roadmap, announced on 3 July,” and thus the Muslim Brotherhood will try to “exploit the current strife to fuel more conflict and refuse national reconciliation.”

Egypt’s health ministry said 80 were killed in clashes and 722 injured. The Muslim Brotherhood’s official website said at least 200 people were killed and about 5,000 were wounded.

The Muslim Brotherhood, for instance, claimed that pro-Morsi demonstrators near Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in east Cairo were targeted by gunfire from military helicopters and said police on the ground were using live rounds and “intentionally targeting heads and chests.” According to Al-Ahram, Interior ministry spokesman Hani Abdel-Latif said that pro-Morsi protesters had started to block traffic on a bridge, then “clashed with residents of the nearby [working class] Mansheyet Nasr district using live fire and birdshot, and this killed 21 people. The police moved to stop the clashes between the two groups and opened the road again,” but used only tear gas.

The Obama administration, which has infuriated the Egyptian people who rose up against Morsi en masse by refusing to take sides, criticized the Egyptian authorities as needing to recognize their “moral and legal obligation to respect the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement late Saturday that he’d spoken with Interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, Interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton about “the bloodshed and violence in Cairo and Alexandria over the past 24 hours that has claimed the lives of scores of Egyptian demonstrators and injured more than 1,000 people.”

“Violence not only further sets back the process of reconciliation and democratization in Egypt, but it will negatively impact regional stability,” he said. “At this critical juncture, it is essential that the security forces and the interim government respect the right of peaceful protest, including the ongoing sit-in demonstrations.”

Kerry said the U.S. calls for “an independent and impartial inquiry into the events of the last day, and calls on all of Egypt’s leaders across the political spectrum to act immediately to help their country take a step back from the brink.”

Then he stressed what the administration has been hinting in every statement on the Egyptian revolution: that the Muslim Brotherhood should be part of the post-Morsi political scene.

“An inclusive political process is needed that achieves as soon as possible a freely and fairly elected government committed to pluralism and tolerance. The Egyptians who poured into Tahrir Square in 2011 and 2013 themselves called for this outcome for their country’s future and for their aspirations,” Kerry said. “A meaningful political dialogue, for which interim government officials have themselves called, requires participants who represent all the political parts of Egyptian society. To enable such a dialogue, the United States reiterates our call for an end to politicized detentions and the release of political leaders consistent with the law.”

There was not a statement from President Obama, who hit the golf course at Fort Belvoir after the Korean War 60th anniversary ceremony.

Signs carried by anti-Morsi demonstrators have included Obama wearing an Osama beard, accusing the U.S. of supporting terrorism by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Egyptian Defense Minister al-Sisi, according to the Pentagon, “to express deep concern about the security situation and recent violence in Egypt, and to encourage that restraint be exercised during this difficult period.”

“The United States believes that the current transition needs to be marked by inclusivity, that Egyptian authorities should avoid politicized arrests and detentions, and take steps to prevent further bloodshed and loss of life,” the readout continued. “It is in the short and long term interests of the Egyptian people to renew their path toward democratic transition, and to emphasize tolerance across the political spectrum.”

Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour called on Islamist protesters “to go back home and I promise you will not be harmed,” adding that the Egyptian people have determined “there is no way back” and “there are no negotiations with those who committed crimes.”

Morsi was expected to be transferred to Tora Prison, the new home of Hosni Mubarak. Charges against Morsi could include collaboration with Hamas and murder.


Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (10)
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It doesn't matter which side wins in Egypt, the country will end up a dictatorship. The only question is whether it will be a secular military dictatorship, or a muslim religious dictatorship.

The key to holding power in Egypt is resolving the country's economic problems to which neither side seems to have a solution. Of course, Obama, himself a muslim at heart, wants to see a muslim religious dictatorship regardless of where America's real interests lie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Democracy and Islam are incompatible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Apparently, Horse Face hasn't heard that charges are pending against Morsi for murder and other crimes. The Obama administration just can't help being publicly stupid. I am beginning to wonder if public stupidity is some sort of a drug to the liberals. It's like their non-prescription Xanax.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just as this administration supported a known communist who was attempting to subvert the Constitution of Honduras, and the will of her people, he is now supporting another despot (Morsi-MB) intent on destroying any chance at democracy in Egypt. We are not supporting Egyptian people....Dear Leader couldn't care less about people...he's supporting whatever the Mooslim Bruthahood tells him to support.

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The administration knew before all this started that when they called for Mubarack to step down it was highly likely that the MB would win and take over. Obviously they trusted whoever they talked to that the MB was a moderate political group who would respect all Egyptian people. However all the signs were clear that the MB was about the MB and nobody else (supress women, religions, gays, etc.) In my opinion an incredibly wrong decision.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Islamists aren't interested in inclusion or human rights whatsoever. They are interested in power and control and suppression of dissent.

It is no coincidence that Islamist propaganda mirrors that of the radical left.

They use the propaganda of human rights, because that's what the KGB taught them to use when Islamic radicals were used as proxies by the USSR to oppose and attack the US support of Israel during the Cold War.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Egyptian army has a real problem on its hands. For reasons I don't understand, they stepped in and encouraged the very street violence they took out Morsi to prevent.

I think the resolve of the pro-Morsi demonstrators to stay on the street has taken everyone off guard. That is probably because the pro-Morsi forces are so outnumbered. But resolve carries its own weight of numbers.

It's hard to figure out what the pro-Morsi demonstrators hope to accomplish. They must realize Morsi is not coming back, or do they? If the pro-Morsi forces would simply go home and run for parliamentary elections, they might have a chance at being a real force in Egyptian politics.

As is, they are shooting themselves in the foot with future voters by not giving in to the mandate of the anti-Morsi numbers.

The real problem is that there are now identifiable factions within the Egyptian people themselves that make for easy targets. More and more guns are coming into play.

One can't help but think the now month long pro-Morsi sit-in in Nasr City has the MB actually inviting violence, but no one really knows. Who fires first shots? Is the MB showing its more radical Islamist side that is immune to reason? That would be a break with their behavior of the last couple of years.

The army will soon have little choice but to clean out that nest in Nasr City but that carries enormous risk. If Morsi had any brains, or cared for the future of the MB in Egypt, he'd ask to be allowed to go on TV and tell those people to go home.

As is, the MB may be shooting themselves in the foot for a generation to come.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama seems to be big on the bitter clingers in Egypt.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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