The Middle East Channel

Violence continues in Egypt as thousands march in protest

Violence continues in Egypt as thousands march in protest

Three people were killed in Egypt in clashes with Central Security Forces as protests continued over Wednesday's deadly football riots. Two protesters were reported killed by live fire in the city of Suez, while one death was reported in Cairo from shotgun fire as police attempted to break up a crowd storming the interior ministry. An additional 1,482 people were reportedly injured in Cairo (and 207 in Suez), mostly wounded by tear gas, pellets, and rubber bullets. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Thursday, concentrating in Tahrir Square and in front of the ministry of interior where people demanded retribution for the nearly 75 people who were killed when riots broke out after a football game in Port Said. The protesters accused the military rulers of complicity and demanded answers for why the security forces did not control the situation or prevent the killings. Kamal Ganzouri, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces appointed prime minister, said Port Said's senior security chiefs were suspended, the governor resigned, and the Egyptian football federation's board was removed. A senior Muslim Brotherhood member of parliament presented, in an emergency session, signatures of 120 lawmakers calling for charges against the interior minister and a panel was designed for his questioning.

Headlines  

  • Kuwait's Islamist led opposition won the majority in parliamentary elections -- with no seats going to women.
  • The latest U.N. Security Council draft resolution on Syria that dropped the call for Assad to step down, but which advocates a power transfer, is still being met with Russian opposition.
  • Ayatollah Khamenei said threats on Iran would "harm America" after an opinion piece reported U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes there is a "strong likelihood" of an Israeli attack.
  • Iran launched its third satellite since 2009, raising concerns that the space program could be used to develop ballistic missiles to carry nuclear warheads.
  • Turkish former military chief Gen. Ilker Basbug has been charged with a terrorist plot to overthrow the government and could face life imprisonment without parole.

Daily Snapshot

CAIRO, EGYPT - FEBRUARY 2: Protesters stand in clouds of tear gas fired by security forces February 2, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. The protest follows the deaths of 74 football fans who were killed in clashes between rival fans following the match between al-Masry and al-Alhy in Port Said, Egypt. Three-days of mourning have been announced and marches are scheduled to protest at the lack of protection provided by police who were at the stadium when the violence occurred (Ed Giles/Getty Images).

Arguments & Analysis

‘Supporting the Arab Awakening' (Catherine Ashton, International Herald Tribune)
"Elections are an important part of democracy. But building deep democracy is about much more. It is about the next election, about defining the ground rules and then sticking to them. It is about delivering on one's promises, and it is about drafting constitutions that are inclusive and protect citizens' rights, particularly with regard to women. Governing is also about providing jobs, and about being pragmatic in the face of the many social and economic challenges. Pulling together in broad coalitions is a promising start. The journey will not be easy. But the E.U. is committed to staying the course: navigating the bumps along the way and quietly helping the demonstrators who toppled tyrants to live their dream."

‘Obama's Iran problem' (Steve Coll, The New Yorker)
"In 2009, in Prague, Obama, in one of the eloquent and idealistic speeches that characterized his early Presidency, pledged to pursue a world free from the menace of nuclear arms. He receives little credit for his work in this field, but he has delivered: accelerated programs to safeguard loose nuclear materials abroad, and a hard-won New START treaty with Russia, which proposes a smaller American nuclear arsenal. Iran's case doesn't offer much prospect for clear achievement; it is a crucible of uncertainty and risk. In Prague, however, Obama warned against "fatalism" about the nuclear danger, and he prescribed a strategy to defeat it: "Patience and persistence." That strategy shouldn't be taken off the table."

‘Looking for a leadership with a strategy' (Noura Erakat, Al-Shabaka)
"The Palestinian Authority's (PA) electoral mandate of the West Bank's 2.5 million Palestinians has long expired and, even were it in force, the PA "represents" only a quarter of the global Palestinian population. Thus, it may be fair to ask whether some other body can responsibly develop a national liberation strategy that will be more representative than what the PA/PLO has been able to offer for more than two decades, and if so, what its goals should be."

‘Effort to rebrand Arab Spring backfires in Iran' (Robert F. Worth, New York Times)
"It was meant to be a crowning moment in which Iran put its own Islamic stamp on the Arab Spring. More than a thousand young activists were flown here earlier this week (at government expense) for a conference on "the Islamic Awakening," Tehran's effort to rebrand the popular Arab uprisings of the past year...But there was a catch. No one was invited from Syria, whose autocratic president, Bashar al-Assad, is a crucial Iranian ally. The Syrian protesters are routinely dismissed by Tehran's government as foreign agents -- despite the fact that they are Muslims fighting a secular (and brutal) dictatorship. That inconvenient truth soon marred the whole script."

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