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Egypt Descends Into a Hellish Spiral of Violence and Retribution

The violence in Egypt has escalated following the military's ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.

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But I think we have to remember that this is the same military that killed 27 unarmed protesters just on the street behind me near Maspero in October 9th, 2011, and also denied wrongdoing or denied involvement whatsoever, despite very clear video evidence to the contrary. It’s the same military that has tortured protesters, conducted virginity tests on women, has conducted a very vicious crackdown on Abbassiya in 2012. So, you know, I think we have to put this all in context of what’s happening, but this has really stained the political atmosphere more than it already has been and polarized both sides. The Nour Party, which is the ultraconservative Salafi party and was the only Islamist group really participating in this new army-led transition, has suspended talks with the interim president to name a new prime minister. The interim president himself, Adly Mansour, who, as you mentioned, is the head of—was the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, announced just a few minutes ago he’s forming a committee to investigate today’s events. The Muslim Brotherhood has released a statement calling for an uprising, an intifada, in response to what happened today.

And this comes on the heels of a number of days of violence that followed the ouster of Mohamed Morsi on July 3rd. We saw at least 40 people have been killed in those days before today, more than a thousand injured. Four of those killed were also at the Republican Guard, Morsi supporters, when troops opened fire when some Morsi supporters got too close. But the Morsi supporters have also marched on Friday to different parts of Cairo, parts—areas where anti-Morsi supporters, especially near Tahrir Square, are very heavily based. And this led to clashes, and a lot of anti-Morsi protesters were killed in the neighborhood of Manial, in a middle-class district. There was a very angry funeral the other day after four men from the neighborhood were killed there when Morsi supporters marched through there. They were killed with—all with live ammunition.

So, really, this is an escalating situation and one that is descending into a spiral of violence and retribution. Yesterday we saw these massive rallies, both in Tahrir Square and at the presidential palace, who were supporting the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, but also at Rabaa al-Adawiya in Nasr City neighborhood supporting the ousted president. So, the coming days will be very telling, but it was a very bloody, bloody day, bloody morning in Cairo today.

AMY GOODMAN: We got word this weekend that Mohamed ElBaradei was named as the new prime minister or the interim prime minister, but then, with al-Nour’s opposition, that was changed. Can you talk about the significance of what’s happening at the—in the leadership?

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Right. So, as we know, the interim president is Adly Mansour, and we’re waiting to see who will be tapped to be the new interim prime minister, which will be a very important job dealing with the day-to-day governance of the country in the interim period. The state news agency reported that Mohamed ElBaradei had been tapped to be prime minister. Everyone was writing their stories about it and headlines. And then, a few hours later, the presidential spokesperson denied those claims. And it appears that the Nour Party—again, the ultraconservative Salafi party—which is a part of this process, said it would withdraw from the process if Baradei was named prime minister, essentially issuing, you know, a veto over the process. So, there’s been rumors floated last night that he could be named some kind of vice president, and there was rumors that a—someone called Ziaad Bahaa el-Din, a Social Democrat, would be named prime minister. But I think these are leaks for—coming from above to kind of test the waters to see what would be acceptable. Baradei’s name is still on the table. It has not been withdrawn. Groups like Tamarod, which is the campaign that first called for the June 30th protests and collected millions of signed petitions against Mohamed Morsi, has said it would stand behind the choice of Baradei and would not accept any other person. So we’ll have to see how these political developments go forward.

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