Is Egypt on the Brink of Civil War?

August 27th, 2013 by Abhi Saini

Civil unrest continues to grow in Egypt following the removal of President Mohamed Morsi by the military last month. Increasing tension between Morsi supporters and the interim government has placed Egypt on the brink of political uncertainty and chaos.

Peace talks between government security forces and protesters have failed, and violent public clashes have been the result. In response, the government has cracked down on Muslim Brotherhood supporters and leaders in Cairo. The government has made it clear that the violence will continue.

These attacks have left hundreds dead and many injured. Human Rights Watch called the violence the “most serious incident of mass unlawful killings in modern Egyptian history.” World leaders and prominent organizations, like the United Nations, have condemned the violence.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird released a statement noting that “Canada firmly believes that implementing a transparent democratic system that respects the voices of all Egyptians, including members of civil society and religious minorities, is the best way to restore calm and give all Egyptians a stake in the future stability and prosperity of their country.”

Acting Egyptian vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei resigned in the aftermath of the violence. Security forces also arrested the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader Mohammed Badie in an effort to break down the party while it is “struggling to keep up its street protests against the authorities.”

In response, the Muslim Brotherhood appointed Mahmoud Ezzat as its temporary leader. The party released a statement noting that the arrest of Badie “will change nothing” and that the party will continue to protest against the “coup.”

In other Egyptian news, former President Hosni Mubarak (who was removed from office in 2011) was released from prison last week. He has been placed under house arrest “as part of the emergency measures” imposed this month after violence escalated in the country following the crackdown.

Despite his release, Mubarak still faces trial for allowing the killings of protesters during the 2011 uprising against his regime. If the court finds him guilty, he could be sent back to prison.

Judging from the current political climate in Egypt, it is clear that the interim government has failed to unite a deeply divided country. If the violence continues to persist, it could lead Egypt towards a deadly civil war. Peace talks must resume between the two parties to find a political solution addressing the conflict.

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