Egypt: Violence in Cairo, three weeks before Presidential elections

Posted: May 7, 2012 in International
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In less than three weeks, the Presidential elections take place in Egypt. But the current situation, especially in the Egyptian capital Cairo, is sure a reason for concern. Since Wednesday, the escalation of violence takes again place in Cairo, especially at the square in front of the defense ministry.

The last demonstrations, which were started probably by Salafis and later, these riots have drifted into fights with other political camps, showed how shattered Egypt really is and how fragile the whole situation on the ground really is.


The Egyptian military council is repeatedly declared target of the outrage, and every chaos and violence is a benefit for the opponents, for example for the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. Here, even all otherwise divided parties stick together and demand and end of the military council in Egypt. These Egyptian parties demand that there will be a transfer of power to a civilian government by the military council in Egypt, of course.

Although, the military council should remain in power until June (until after a possible runoff in Egypt), the military council has published the statements now, that it is even ready to give up its power already in late May, after the first round of voting, because of the increasing violence in Cairo.

It is not to predict whether the Egyptian military council only publishes this statement to re-establish more rest and to stabilize the situation in the capital Cairo. This is not entirely clear, of course. But a lot in Egypt is currently unclear; especially which path Egypt as country will use in future. The future of Egypt is not predictable.

Despite the promises of the military council and the statements too really give up power in Egypt, a lot of people are convinced that the members of this military council in Cairo have still a great interest in seeing its secured position in the country. And to be honest, even after a shift of power in Egypt, the military council will have a somehow secured position in this country.

The last days of rioting and violence clearly show how precarious the situation still is in Egypt, especially in the capital Cairo, of course. Again and again, there is speculation about who could really benefit of this mess and some repeatedly think, that this mess in Cairo is a benefit for the military council in Egypt.

But considering who was responsible for the chaos at last year, some could also say that the current chaos, which is mainly blamed on the military council, could be a benefit for the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in Egypt.

In fact, the military council could have an interest in unrest and instability, because this would strengthen its position and the military council could take advantage of it. But it could also be a fact that the unrest and violence is rather a benefit for the “opponents” of the military council because they can blame all things on this military council. The situation in Cairo is very interesting, but also very dangerous and not the best for the Egyptian people.

However, the Egyptians are not really interested in the military council anymore. The military council has a hard stand and seems to be no solution (anymore) for the Egyptian people. With the fall of Mubarak, the Egyptians are determined to decide about their future on their own and to take part in the political future of Egypt. They also want to defend themselves against a new oppression and paternalism.

In fact, the military council in Cairo has been accused of fomenting the chaos or to even  initiate  the chaos and then not to intervene and to decrease it. But as already stated, this is a useful accusation against the military council and some are convinced that the Muslim Brotherhood is not really innocent at the situation because this chaos and violence in Cairo could also strengthen their position.

Of course, after the recent riots in Egypt on last Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the military council was accused to be responsible for the violence in the Egyptian capital. The Egyptian military has intervened at this demonstrations and violence first very late. They often try to disperse the demonstrators with tear gas, water cannons and even live ammunition.

The last riots in Cairo have caused eleven dead and over 300 injured, but the numbers fluctuate about the victims. Among the killed in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Saturday, there was also a Egyptian soldier. So the military tried the imposition of a curfew in some districts to stop the violence.

Some Egyptian presidential candidates have stopped their campaigns in protest of the violence. At least, for now. A convened meeting with the military council in this week will probably not take place, as many Egyptian politicians are now boycotting the meeting to express their displeasure clearly.

The fact is that Egypt is plagued by repeated outbreaks of unrest and the desperate economic situation before and especially since the outbreak of the so-called “Egyptian revolution”. In such a situation, everyone has a good chance who just advertises with slogans such as stability and about the end of the chaos in Egypt. This is a good chance to secure votes of the population; even such slogans are perhaps just empty air.

Exactly such slogans are used by Mr. Amr Mousa, the former secretary of state under the administration of Husni Mubarak in Egypt. And thus he is actually able to collect votes. In a survey, Amr Mousa is far ahead of all other candidates in Egypt. He received 40 percent of all votes at this survey about the presidential candidates in Egypt.

The candidate of the Salafists, who could have had really good chances, is not able to compete because his mother was an American citizen and thus the Salafi candidate is not allowed to candidate for the office of the president.

In Egypt, there will probably be a decision between representatives of the old regime and Islamist parties. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis (Salafists) were able to use their overwhelming majority to get into the parliament and are now able to affect all the decisions. That many decisions have a strong religious component, should be clear.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner El Baradei, which was seen as a beacon of hope by many Egyptians, is no presidential candidate, but he founded a new party, at least. By this party, El Baradei wants to have influence in the political future of Egypt.

Now, it is firstly of utmost importance that the situation in the Egyptian capital Cairo calms down and that the power shifts from the military council to a strong civil government. The foreign countries are still pretty quiet so far, at least, in public. Apart from some voices of concern about the current situation in Egypt, especially in the capital. Also, the general Egyptians are very skeptical about the interests of the United States.

One should not forget that even the United States and other Western governments had an interest in the implementation of the military council after the fall of Mubarak.

Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACairo_Nile_River.jpg

Image by Jawed (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons from Wikimedia Commons

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