A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, March 4, 2013

Will Morsi Pull Security Out of Port Said and Send in the Army?

Some news sources, including Al Jazeera Mubashir and Anadolu News Agency, are reporting that Egyptian President Morsi is considering deploying the Army in Port Said, where violent protests have continued since late January and where protesters today set the local Security headquarters on fire. Some reports are suggesting that today's clashes have involved Army troops and Central Security Forces fighting each other. The state media have denied those reports. Should they prove to be true, the ongoing violence could escalate to a whole new level.

There have already been severe economic consequences; the once prosperous city's free-trade zone, already being phased out,has been paralyzed by strikes and trade diverted; there is concern about the security of Canal traffic; and the Army has issued several warnings suggesting it might have to act to protect the Canal Cities.

If Morsi has to turn to the Army to restore order in Port Said, it could  be seen as yet another failure of the Muslim Brotherhood led government on the eve of Parliamentary elections.

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