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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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The interim president and the national—and ElBaradei and other opposition leaders have called on the Muslim Brotherhood to participate in this process, to be a part of this transition going forward. The Muslim Brotherhood has firmly rejected those invitations. It has said that the reinstatement of Mohamed Morsi as president would be a precondition for talks. It has continued its sit-in and protests in different parts of the country. So, it’s a very polarized situation. It will be a very difficult situation, especially after today, given that dozens of people were killed, you know, on the streets of Cairo.

AMY GOODMAN: —responded to the killings this morning or to, as well, the arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood leadership?

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the beginning of your question.

AMY GOODMAN: Has Tamarod responded to the killings this morning and in the last days, as well as the arrest warrants for the Muslim Brotherhood leadership?

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, I was—I haven’t seen a response today. I’m not sure. They may have released a statement. Mohamed ElBaradei released a statement condemning violence and calling for an investigation. So, we’ll have to see what happens with that. I mean, there has been a lot of support for the military by this—by many people who were taking to the streets to protest against Mohamed Morsi. You know, there’s this kind of flirtation going on between the army and protesters, with helicopters flying low overhead and people cheering wildly as they did, and the army dropping flags on protesters and repeatedly, day after day, jets, army jets, flying in the sky, painting the Egyptian flag and colors, and once even drawing a heart over Tahrir. So, the army has really sought to recapture its brand as, you know, the custodian of order in Egypt.

I think it’s important to remember that there are still significant portions—or what we call kind of the heart of the revolution, the core activists who rose up against the military during—when they led the transition following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, and they continue to be very critical of the military—again, as I enumerated before, the military’s abuse and torture of protesters and killing of protesters in the interim period.

I think we also have to remember why—if we look at the context of why the military is getting involved, the military of course enjoys a vast economic empire in Egypt, something up to 30 percent of the economy it controls. It relies on conscripted labor to produce everything from bottled water to fertilizer to jeeps to pasta. And, you know, it needs political stability, though, to enjoy these core interests. And while it did strike a deal, a political pact, with the Muslim Brotherhood that granted it all of its autonomy in the constitution, also allowed generals safe exit without holding them to account for the killing of protesters, that pact began to come apart as political instability threatened a complete state collapse and threatened to really rupture their core interests. And I think that’s why the head of the armed forces eventually did step in and, you know, facilitate this coup, which was a coup but was facilitated on the back of a popular uprising, and we witnessed, you know, the biggest protests in Egypt’s history on June 30th against Mohamed Morsi.

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