On July 3rd Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt was deposed by armed forces following mass protests to his government; Morsi was taken into the protection of a Republican Guard barracks after denouncing his loss of power a military coup.
On July 8th more than fifty people are killed in a military attack that saw armed forces opening fire upon Morsi’s supporters; protestors claim that the shooting began as they began their morning prayers. On July 9th Gulf Arab states show their support for the temporary military government by giving aid worth eight billion dollars. On July 16th an interim government of thirty-three ministers, led by interim Head of State Adli Mansour, is sworn into power. On July 27th security forces shoot dead at least eighty supporters of the Islamic, Brotherhood movement. On August 7th international intervention fails and the interim military government repeats their threat to take action against supporters of the deposed Morsi. On August 14th the interim government imposes a state of emergency after one-hundred-forty-nine people are killed in a raid on protestors in the capital, Cairo; news agency claim that a further fourteen-hundred have been injured in the raid; interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei resigns, saying that actions thus far would favour only the extremists.
The current state of Egyptian society is not an immediate and short term consequence of a small space of time – it is a gradual and unsteady conclusion that follows months of brooding turmoil; it has been a country that, set with explosive and ready to erupt, just needed for a match to be lit. In regards to the state of Egypt today, the deposing of Mohamed Morsi was just the match that we were waiting for.
…months of brooding turmoil…
His election into power took place not much more than a year ago; sworn in on June 30th, 2012, Morsi was hailed as the first of Egypt’s democratically elected leaders; his election followed a period of fifteen months wherein Egypt was without a definitive and elected political leader. Morsi’s government was one that aimed to reimagine Egyptian policy, civil liberties and rights and law were to be reinvented in a way that fit modern Egypt – in a way that suited a society so used to corruption and degradation. Then perhaps the inclusion of Islamic, or Sharia, law was an element of government that needed to change?
Sharia law is a moral code and religious law that adheres to the religion of Islam; it deals with a great many topics, including secular law, crime, politics and economics as well as a great number of personal matters. Perhaps best equated to the Ten Commandments set forth in the Bible, Sharia Law is the Islamic religious law that is imposed by the ruling of strictly Muslim judges. And so we find the opposing sides in the conflict: Morsi and his supporters, including the Islamic Brotherhood, against the armed forces out of Morsi’s control. Two sides that seem ready to fight to the death for their beliefs, two sides that, if the situation is not defused, might form the vanguards of a civil war.
…President Obama has condemned the recent activity…
A few days in particular have so far have received large, heavily featured international scale coverage but the violence has been continuing on a practically daily basis; countries all across the world have condemned the violence as inexcusable but as yet intervention has not been forthcoming. Neither Great Britain nor the United States, whilst being opposed to the conflict, have so far offered to involve themselves in the state; President Obama has condemned the recent activity, stating that ‘we deplore violence against civilians’ while Prime Minister David Cameron stated that ‘we don’t support this violence, we condemn it completely, it’s not going to solve the problems.’ Both parties have made clear their views, but the cost of joining the conflict is a deterrent for any outside party.
The conflict is also transforming the landscape of the city of Cairo; the mosque on Ramses Square has turned from a place of worship into a field hospital. The ground floor has become the temporary home of those that have been injured in the conflict with doctors, nurses and volunteers working around the clock to try and slow the blood flow. The top floor of the mosque plays a very different role – it is for those who were not lucky enough to be only injured – the top floor of the mosque on Ramses Square has become a city morgue.
…the situation has not elevated into civil war…
At the moment the world at large can only watch these events unfold, with no outside parties being sure as to what aid they are willing to offer, it is difficult to say whether the situation will further escalate. Militarily, countries like the UK and USA do not want to become involved in yet more tricky activity in the Middle East and Africa and many people have suggested, rather hopefully perhaps, that the crisis might burn itself out. The positive side of the story is that, as yet, the battles have remained focused on the capital city of Cairo and, as yet, the situation has not elevated into civil war; but one can only wonder if, assuming that there is not an easy solution to the problem, war is the next step. It may only take a single day more of bloodshed before one side or the other proclaims a more openly hostile conclusion. The truth is that so far there has been no solution offered that has fitted the concerns of both sides, and the unfortunate possibility is that there might not be one. Maybe the Americans or the UN will step in, maybe one side or the other will lose momentum and fizzle out, maybe an agreement will be brokered between the two parties – we can only guess for now.
To date the conflict has been confirmed to have claimed somewhere in the region of 500 lives. Who knows what number this might rise to given a few more weeks of violence? Barely a year after fighting for a democratic government, Egypt finds itself once again fighting for a new seat of power. Even if the conflict were to be resolved within the next few days, Egypt still has a long way to go before it can call itself a united nation.