Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The "dispersal" of the pro-Morsi demonstrations at two sites in Cairo has predictably led to bloodshed, and Egypt has declared a State of Emergency. (Egyptians are well aware that the Emergency declared at the Sadat assassination in 1981 lasted more than 30 years.) The total number of dead is unclear, but there have been clashes around the country as well, including Alexandria. The possibility of hundreds dead does not seem out of the question.
There have been some high-profile resignations (including ElBaradei) and will perhaps be more, but the fact is that many secular Egyptians were eager for this showdown and criticized the earlier decision to postpone it. The Sheikh al-Azhar, however, says he was not informed in advance and condemned the violence. The US has also condemned the violence; Marc Lynch has written an "Enough is enough" column saying it is time for the US to cut Egypt loose. It will be much harder to argue against such a move after the bloodshed.
Make no mistake: all the responsibility is not on one side. The Brotherhood supporters are attacking churches and initiating some of the clashes, but the descent into chaos is deepening regardless of the instigators.
A corner has clearly been turned. What lies beyond is another question.