Tuesday, August 20, 2013

14 August and its aftermath

Simon McGregor-Wood on Al Jazeera English, with a piece to camera, from their Cairo Bureau, looking dusty, drained and shaken. He nails most of the regime's falsehoods:
1. "Protestors were warned to leave". The attack came as surprise, though there were some rumours
2. "We did not use live fire" [believe it or not, the regime at first claimed they had only used tear-gas]. We were surprised by amount of sustained gunfire (incoming); there were clear signs of gunshot wounds.
3. "People were given an exit to leave each site".  Most were unaware of these.
Also, first gunfire targeted TV crews on roof (to get them to stop filming, giving the security forces the benefit of the doubt, not to kill). We could only get a  mobile phone signal when we moved about 1 km from the square.  A bit of the report is here: News Bulletin - 03:35 GMT update. More here,  published on Aug 14, 2013: "Security forces stormed the sit-in at Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square early on Wednesday morning. [..] Simon McGregor Wood was there and sent this report of panic". Early on, I think, you see the reporter crawling along the roof. One report on the BBC did suggest that warnings were given, over loudspeakers.

Egypt unrest: BBC witnesses Cairo raid on pro-Morsi camps . FM spokesman speaks to C4 News, 15/8: we tried to disperse sit-ins peacefully (Egypt: the aftermath of a massacre  +5:00).

Later, EU special representative, Bernadino Leon: our proposal was accepted in principle by both sides; we spoke mainly to ElBaradei - his views (not to storm the protests) seemed to prevail for 2 weeks; then, opinions of others within the interim government prevailed (Egypt's bereaved  +6:00).

Khaled Dawoud, looking somewhat more contrite: I cannot support the killing of innocent people, I cannot except agree with ElBaradei's view that more time should have been given ... Nevertheless,  the Muslim Brotherhood brought it on themselves and it was not a coup.

On Friday morning Khaled Dawoud, the spokesman of the National Salvation Front, resigned. Al Jazeera at first reported this as the majority of his party failed to agree to condemn the violence. In a later C4 News interview, though, he explained that his party (ElBaradei's party) is in a coalition of 11 parties in the NSF and it was there that it was failed to reach agreement (Egypt in crisis: 'why I stopped representing the government'). ElBaradei, of course had resigned as vice-president on Wednesday evening (14/8) (*). How significant the refusal of figures such as Khaled Dawoud to endorse the crackdown is, I don't know. The Guardian's editorial said that "a split between secular revolutionaries and the Brotherhood that goes right the way back to the start of the revolution in 2011 could be in the process of being repaired. " (Egypt: disaster on Europe's doorstep )

More from  C4 News (16/8): Muslim Brotherhood: this is a regime killing its people ...  Egypt in crisis: protestors walk into gunfire in Alexandria ... Egypt: the aftermath of a massacre

Gehad El-Haddad: We condemn all attacks on houses of worships & condemn police treachery in leaving thugs to vandalise while focusing on killing protesters. 2:53 PM - 15 Aug 13. That's good. Unfortunately, other MB spokesmen indulge in conspiracy theories: the attacks on churches were organised by the state ...

Shadi Hamid: My new piece for @nytimes on how #Egypt's crackdown means not just a return to Mubarak era, but something worse:  2:45 PM - 15 Aug 13

Shadi Hamid: On France after 1848: "Conservatives were able to co-opt fearful liberals and reinstall new forms of dictatorship." Marx’s Lesson for the Muslim Brothers. 2:17 PM - 15 Aug 13.

Updated 21 Aug 2013 (C4 News "catch up" links valid 7 days)
* Update 23 Aug. This is from a statement by the NSF (14/8):
The conspiracy then attempted to impose on Egypt a half victory, proposing what they called a “safe exit”, returning the organization’s money and letting it continue its activity. But the firm leadership of the armed forces and the collective will of the people demanded the dispersal of the sit-in at the hands of the security forces.


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