Egypt’s crisis of rising insurgency is taking a terrorist’s standardized approach to killing: vehicle bombs. The only difference is that those opposing the government that came into power through the army’s coup of President Mohamed Mursi are not quite so suicidal about it. A supposedly suicide bombing of a security compound in Central Cairo that resulted in four deaths was anything but suicidal. Footage from an Egyptian television broadcast has a man leaving the van and getting into another vehicle moments before it exploded. This high-profile attack is but one of many in a rash of bomb attacks aimed at the police.
There is the sense of a theme going on in Africa and the East and even in Russia, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, South Sudan, Central Africa and Taiwan. These are but a handful of countries that have one thing in common: civil unrest. It is an arm dealer’s dream situation, for there definitely is no shortage in the supply of guns and ammunition to the warring factions. Where shortages in food, water and medicines is commonplace, the air is thick with bullets and smoke and the stench of death.
Tensions rise as clashes in Egypt between Mursi supporters and security forces has so far resulted in 11 deaths. That is but a single drop in a rainstorm compared to the thousands of deaths in Syria, but genocide has to take root at one point. The main stock in trade for Mursi supporters seem to be bombings as opposed to outright gunfights, a page from the terrorist playbook. The attacks, though, are specifically aimed at the security forces and not just random locations where the population is densest, as in the case of the train station bombing in Volgograd, Russia. As if that makes any difference in the scheme of things surrounding this entity known as “civil unrest.”
So what of Egypt’s fate? As in similar countries in the throes of civil unrest, it seems destined to degenerate into the kind of indiscriminate violence that sends body counts into the hundreds of thousands, such as is the case in Syria.
Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi condemns the bloodshed, which, for a change, is mostly initiated by militants seeking to overthrow the army-backed government. He says violence poses a serious threat to the political goals of eventually leading the country to free and fair elections. He also labels the militants “terrorists,” which, given their current penchant for car bombs, seems not far off the mark.
However, the government is also doing its share of dishing out violence to the militants. In the time since the coup, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members have been killed and top leaders jailed as their political power was effectively removed. The authorities have been expecting increased violence during the anniversary of the 2011 ouster of the Mubarak regime, with attendance by such groups as the Muslim Brotherhood, other rival political groups, and liberals.
Egypt is in a crisis. Perhaps not one, as yet, as bad as Syria, but all things being relative, the loss of but a single life in any situation involving civil unrest constitutes a crisis.
Editorial by Lee Birdine