The New York Yankees of Egyptian football, Al Ahly, have officially expelled one of its top players, striker Ahmed Abdel Zaher. Did this extraordinary act take place in the aftermath of a heartbreaking loss? No, the team had actually just triumphed 2-0 and Zaher had even scored a goal. Was there an off-field scandal? Did Zaher find himself caught with steroids, or bullying teammates or running a dog-fighting ring? None of that. He was, by all accounts, a model citizen.
The removal of the Mohamad Morsi government by Egypt's military on July 3 and subsequent bloody repression against Muslim Brotherhood supporters had caused debate on the international left on how to understand the events and what attitude to take to the anti-Morsi protests, the July 3 coup and protests against the military regime. The contribution below is from John Riddell, a Toronto-based activist and historian of the socialist movement.
The streets of Cairo are running red, as Egypt's military carries out a brutal crackdown on supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamad Morsi. On August 14, after weeks of threats and violent harassment, the Egyptian army moved to shut down protest camps in Nahda Square and outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya in Cairo, where supporters of Morsi have been staging sit-ins since his overthrow on July 3. By the evening, more than 500 protesters had been killed and thousands wounded. The army also killed three journalists in the attack.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has condemned the violence that has erupted in Egypt and the death of more than 750 people, and expressed solidarity with their families. Morales chaired a public ceremony in the capital and took the opportunity to condemn the violence in the Arab nation, criticising "those countries and powers that boost this kind of genocide". "We vigorously condemn and repudiate these events and send all our solidarity with peoples like Egypt fighting for democracy, for its restoration and unity of their people," Morales said.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on August 16 that he would withdraw the country's ambassador from Egypt because of the conflict there and confrontations between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the defacto government, which has seen over 700 people killed. "We have witnessed a blood bath in Egypt." Maduro said. "We warned that the coup against Morsi was unconstitutional ... the responsible party for what is occuring in Egypt is the empire." He said: "The United States doesn't have friends, it has interests, and what it wants is to control the planet".
Millions protesters of were again in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities on July 26, both for and against the former Muslim Brotherhood government. Security forces attacked the pro-Morsi protesters, killing many in a fresh massacre. Ahram Online reported that these were the largest mobilisations since the June 30 protests that brought down the elected, but increasingly unpopular, Muslim Brotherhood-aligned government of President Mohamed Morsi.
The Egyptian army massacred 53 protesters who were calling for the release from detention and reinstatement of overthrown president Mohamed Morsi on July 8. The fall of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood-led government on July 3 was triggered by between 10 and 30 million Egyptians taking to the streets on June 30. This was the culmination of a protest movement that began in April in the face of repression from security forces and government supporters. See also:
In Green Left Weekly #972, Tony Iltis wrote on the huge protests against the Morsi government, the military intervention that removed it and the immediate aftermath. These events, hailed by many on the Egyptian left as a “second revolution”, have sparked widespread debate around the world. Below, Tim Dobson, presents a different view of the events ― one that argues it was an outright reactionary coup. You can also read Iltis's most recent piece.
The protests which began on June 30 ― and by July 3 had led to the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi ― were reportedly the largest in Egyptian history. With claims that between 10 and 20 million people took part, they were larger than the protests which led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011.
If you want to understand why Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has declared a “state of emergency” or if you want to understand why the country’s defence minister warned on January 29 of “the collapse of the state”, you first need to understand the soccer fan clubs in Egypt - otherwise known as the “ultras” - and the role they played in the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Egyptians again rise against tyranny and dictatorship. Politically, they have made significant gains from the street pressure, leading to a significant retraction from President Mohamad Morsi. But his concessions are superficial. By and large, the Muslim Bortherhood's Morsi stubbornly continues to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Mubarak. If the recent history is any predictor of the future, Morsi’s future looks bleak.
Anger has erupted on Egypt's streets and lead to a new occupation of Cairo's iconic Tahrir square — the centre of mass protests that brought down dictator Hosni Mubarak last year. Just days after being lauded by many for his role in brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued a series of constitutional decrees that provoked the protests. There were also large protests on December 1 in defence of Morsi and his decrees.
As soon as Israel attacked Gaza in its “Operation Pillar of Defence”, it was clear the context in which its war was launched was very different from “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008-09. The shift in regional context is largely due to the Arab Spring, which has shaken the Middle East. The most concerning development from Israel's point of view was Egypt's January 25 revolution, which overthrew US- and Israel-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak last year.
Egypt is being hit by a strike wave as the government comes under pressure to push austerity measures. However, the protests getting the most international attention are the ones against The Innocence of Muslims film. Like countries across the world, Egypt Islamaphobic film. But the Egyptian protests, which targetted the US embassy, took on a different dynamic due to the revolution that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Protests by Muslims have spread around the world against the anti-Islamic propaganda film Innocence of Muslims. In response to violent attacks on US embassies in Libya and Yemen, that killed for Americans including the ambassador, US President Barack Obama informed US Congress on September 14 that he had deployed US soldiers “equipped for combat” to the two Arab nations.
After an armed attack killed 16 Egyptian guards on the border with Israel in the Sinai Peninsula, President Mohammed Morsi sacked defence minister and head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) Mohammed Tantawi, and his second in command, Sami Anan. The move is part of an ongoing battle that has taken place between the Muslim Brotherhood — main political force that emerged after the overthrow of former dictator Hosni Mubarak — and SCAF, which took governmental power after Mubarak stepped down.