A Chaotic Bloodbath in Egypt

How do we comprehend what is going on in Egypt?  The question everywhere is, “What can the U.S. do about it?”  It is unanswerable, of course, given all that has been done already.  The revolution to overthrow Mubarak was telegraphed in advance, supported and welcomed by current American leadership.  The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi was just fine with official Washington,the aid continued to flow and plans were in the works to provide American fighter jets and tanks, as was widely reported.  All this despite the open secret that Morsi and his people regard Israel and America as their true enemies.

With tacit American support, Morsi proceeded to bestow vast powers upon himself, bypassing the legal authorities and institutions that used to insure a degree of order.  He and his cohorts boasted of dramatic changes to Egyptian law, changes that would subjugate people who had known relative freedom, to the onerous strictures of Islamic religious law.

All that was apparently within the parameters of what America would accept and support.  But the vast majority of the Egyptian population would not have it.  The massive demonstrations that forced Morsi from the seat of power vastly overshadowed those previously mounted against Mubarak.  Clearly, all but the most devout Muslim Brothers were outraged by Morsi’s plans for Egypt.

Now that Morsi has been deposed, those peaceful and moderate Muslim Brothers have declared a fight to the death against the police, government buildings in every city and town, the military, and the target that has virtually escaped the notice of mainstream news, Christians.  There is a list of about fifty Christian churches that have been attacked and burned.  They are Coptic, Greek Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant.  The buildings, including schools and at least one hospital have been attacked, looted and burned.  People associated with those organisations have been beaten, kidnapped and murdered.

The Muslim Brothers and their supporters emerge from their “Occupy Wall Street” style tent-city ghettos to violently attack Police stations and buildings symbolic of government.  Multiple hundreds on all sides of the mayhem have been killed, and the raging Islamic zealots are advertising  more “Days of Rage.”

So what can the U.S., long-term ally and economically stabilising benefactor to Egypt, do at this point?  Well, nothing.  The current administration has systematically managed to offend everyone on all sides of the Egyptian crisis.  The population is offended that Morsi received credibility and support from the U.S., even as he dismantled the infrastructure of law and order.  The Muslim Brothers are offended that the U.S. stood aside while Morsi was run out of power.  Everybody in the whole powder keg is stung by the perception of American betrayal.

What’s next as the hundreds (soon to be thousands) of bodies pile up?  A  humanitarian crisis that will require western intervention?  It won’t be long before it gets proposed.  But nobody in Egypt wants to hear anything else the U.S. administration has to say.  If there’s talk of assistance from without, it will have to come from Europe or the UN.  The United States has successfully destroyed its mutually beneficial relationship with Egypt, and the breach created will last till Kingdom come.
Mark Armstrong