Nevertheless, it would be quite wrong to presume, as many commentators and analysts have concluded, that what the recent clashes in Egypt tell us most about is a sectarian or religious conflict between the military and the Egyptian Copts. Rather it uncovers the sense of empowerment and self-inflation of the SCAF in the face of all Egyptians, regardless of their religion or political affiliation. While the religious dimension cannot be ignored in such a pious society, the main message is about the costly nature of Mubarak’s legacy. Those who protested on Sunday bear many of the same grievances as those who rally to Tahrir Square every Friday, calling for civilian rule. They are all victims of the chronic problems inherited from Mubarak’s reign. It would be unrealistic as well as unfair to portray the Egyptian army as a sectarian entity with respect to the Copts. This may be a subtle distinction, between the habit of divide and rule and sectarianism, but a crucial one to understand in the Egyptian context.
Friday, October 28, 2011
A useful assessment of the Maspero clashes, the Miltary Council, and other issues by Khalil Anani in "Egypt's Souring Transition." One of the key observations: