The Nile Is Just a River in Egypt

First there’s this:

Cairo’s spirit has been deeply scarred by 32 months of turmoil and bloodshed from two “revolutions,” constant protests and crackdowns, and a military coup.

Residents talk of an unfamiliar edginess. People are more suspicious of each other, whether because of increased crime or constant media warnings of conspiracies and terrorism.

Families are split by bitter ideological differences. Fights are sparked by a word or a gesture seen as supporting either the military or the Islamists who were ousted from power by the armed forces.

The mood goes beyond ideology. With police battered by the upheaval and rarely enforcing regulations, many people flout laws with no thought of the consequences — whether it’s the cafes that take over sidewalks or thugs who seize plots of land.


Then there’s this:

Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi will go on trial on Nov. 4 on charges of incitement to the killing of opponents while he was in office, an Egyptian court announced Wednesday.

Morsi was ousted in a popularly-backed coup on July 3 and has been held incommunicado at an unknown location and has not been seen since, though he has spoken to his family twice and was visited by EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and an African Union delegation.

According to Wednesday’s court decision, the 62-year old Morsi will be tried before a criminal court for allegedly inciting his supporters to kill at least 10 people, use violence and unlawfully detain and torture anti-Morsi protesters.

Does Morsi’s trial mean that the rule of law is returning to Egypt? Or that the military is covering up its own lawless coup with a veneer of lawfulness? Maybe both, and this could be one of those instances where mere appearances matter. People seeing Morsi given a fair trial (assuming he actually gets one) might help to restore their faith in a badly-shaken country.

But whatever the result, it’s almost certainly a step up from the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Of course, not everyone agrees with that assessment:

The United States is leaning toward withholding most military aid to Egypt except to promote counter-terrorism, security in the Sinai Peninsula that borders Israel, and other such priorities, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

The official said U.S. President Barack Obama had not made a final decision on the issue, which has vexed U.S. officials as they balance a desire to be seen promoting democracy and rights with a desire to keep up some cooperation with Egypt’s military.


That’s the President’s call to make, of course. I just find it curious that he didn’t make that call when Morsi was busy trying to turn the country into a sharia state.


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