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July 6th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Mayhem in Cairo as Morsi Backers Fight for Return,” describes a kaleidoscope of events swirling around Egypt as the Islamists and liberal parties square off in a struggle for power.
Declaring an Islamic Brotherhood protest against the removal of the country’s first elected president, Mohamed Morsi, protesters gathered in the tens of thousands to demonstrate against his removal by the Egyptian military. Government offices were attacked throughout the country while the secularists defended Tahrir Square against a similar onslaught.
It’s hard to tell how these conflicts will be resolved, but it seems clear that the Islamists,if not the Brotherhood itself, must be allowed to participate in the upcoming election. Simultaneously, however, there must be safeguards that the new President rules for all the people, not just its narrow partisan interests. The right of judicial review must be firmly established in the future, and no President should be allowed to transgress it like Morsi did.
If things cool down this weekend, and saner heads prevail, Egypt can still hope for a more stable government, even if it is watched over by the military. Unlike many other nations, the military is held in particular esteem by the people, except perhaps for the more hardcore Islamists, who did suffer at their hands.
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