The chaos in ruling military council helping Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis
Following clashes in Cairo on Sunday that left 298 people injured, the situation appears to be slipping out of control from the military. Ranking officer denies any rumours the Council wants to set up another authoritarian regime. For Fr Greiche, Egypt is in chaos and badly run. Many Christians and Muslims fear the country is sliding towards extremism.
Cairo (AsiaNews) – Ongoing clashes between young supporters of the revolution and security forces are undermining the Egyptian military’s hold over the country as critics from all directions accuse the ruling Supreme Council of failing to manage the situation ahead of next November’s elections.

Yesterday, Major General Mohamed al-Assar, Egypt’s assistant defence minister and a top-ranking member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, met important international figures at a meeting in Washington. He reassured his interlocutors that the Egyptian military was not planning to set up another dictatorship.

According to Fr Greiche, spokesman of the Egyptian Catholic Church, the military is facing internal chaos and is incapable of running the country after the fall of Mubarak.

Clashes between demonstrators and police on Sunday in Abbasseya, in Cairo, left 298 people injured. Pro-democracy groups were outraged; they accuse the police of using knife and stick-wielding thugs to provoke the clashes in order to arrest demonstrators.

For the clergyman, the military is losing control of the situation. “The Supreme Council includes 17 top generals with different opinions and ideas what to do. This is leading to chaos,” he said. This has eroded the military’s credibility.

Meanwhile, the army has accused members of the 6 April Movement of trying to destabilise the country. The latter have countered by blaming soldiers for the violent attacks against demonstrators.

“Residents in downtown Cairo are tired of the never-ending strikes and protests that block the city, with serious consequences for the economy, especially for bars and restaurants, Fr Greiche said. “Residents often call on the police to move against protesters.”

In latest case, the military did nothing to spark the violence, the priest said. They just guarded the Defence Ministry, where the demonstration was taking place. Instead, the police force, which is linked to the old regime, provoked attacks against the demonstrators, by sending in criminals and thugs to create panic and spark clashes.

The situation of insecurity and especially the total lack of credible interlocutors for the government are allowing extremist groups, above all the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, to expand without hindrance, launching their proclamations and threatening opponents of Sharia and an Islamic state.

Indeed, the Board of State Commission on Monday withdrew a cultural award from the Egyptian researcher Sayyid al-Qemny after he was convicted of contempt of religion.

In June 2009, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture had awarded him almost US$ 30,000 for his achievements in social sciences.

However, for the Commission, “The State Merit Award in Social Sciences is granted from taxpayers’ money, not from businessmen, and thus should not be squandered be squandered on renegades from God and his teachings.”

Egypt’s poor are also increasingly afraid of extremists, Fr Greiche said, since the latter now are free to operate as they please. Increasingly, poor people realise what the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis stand for.

Similarly, because of the military’s indifference, discrimination and crime are up, raising the fear level among both Christians and Muslims.” (S.C.)
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