Issandr El Amrani’s article on The Arabist is a dispiriting yet lucid assessment of the general situation in Egypt.

Amrani claims that not only do the liberal elite and the security establishment have vested interests in ongoing civil strife, instability, and sectarian attacks, but he also argues that yesterday’s violence against pro-Morsi sit-ins was a desired outcome.

Speaking about various liberal groups and the military, Amrani writes, “they are willing to live with the violence, impact on the economy, and other downsides if it strengthens their own power and legitimacy.”

As uncomfortable as this claim may seem, recent events substantiate Amrani’s claims. Most within the “liberal” camp have either remained silent or released statements in support of the approach of the transitional government and military to clearing the pro-Morsi sit-ins.

The National Salvation Front, released a statement praising the dispersal, in which the Front “salutes the police and military forces, and bows its head in tribute and respect for the great people, imposing their will of complete victory.” The group also vaguely called “upon the national Egyptian youth to form popular committees to defend homes and Egyptian property, as we did in the wake of the revolution of January 25, 2011.”

More hopefully, some have denounced yesterday’s events, including the Revolutionary Socialists, who emphatically declared the massacre “part of a plan to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime.”

Mohamed El Baradei resigned from his position as interim Vice President for International Relations in protest against the violent crackdown, yet refrained from explicitly condemning the security forces.

Yesterday’s violence comes after weeks of incitement on both sides, where nationalism was mustered to fight terrorism, and martyrdom proposed as a way of defending “legitimacy” and faith.

As leaders of each faction battle over claims of “Egyptian-ness” and narratives of “protecting the revolution,” it is ordinary civilians who have and continue to pay the biggest price.



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  • This is really a case of cleverness over common sense. The condemnation voiced in this analysis is premature and is almost a caricature of politics. What would happen if persons committed to some form of better outcome all walk out now or abandon this violent and sinking ship? There should be some sense of reality to this article. Some notion of accountability, responsibility, pressure and tension. Forfeiting the complexity of the current situation in the name of a simplistic and un-helpful taxonomy of good versus bad people adds little to the narrative nor is it founded on anything but random statements made in the media