Egypt is heading into a permanent crisis and perhaps state collapse. Three explosions rocked Cairo today. While the casualties are not very high by Egyptian standards (six dead and almost 100 injured) they come on the eve of the anniversary of the January 25 uprising that led to the ouster of dictator Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011. The date January 25 is symbolically important for Egyptians.
Friday January 24, 2014, 04:09 EST
Three deadly explosions have rocked the heart of Cairo, the Egyptian capital as people come to grips with what is becoming an extremely dangerous and unstable situation.
The first explosion occurred at the Police headquarters around 6:15 am (local time) today killing four people and injuring more than 70 others, according to Health Ministry sources. Within hours, a second explosion took place in Dokki district. The target was police vehicles parked near the Behooth metro station. In the second explosion, one person was reported killed and eight injured. A little later, a third explosion rocked Giza that according to preliminary report caused injuries but no deaths.
The façade of the police directorate building was badly damaged in the first explosion as were a number of nearby shops. Smoke billowed from the building. State television repeatedly showed ambulances with sirens screaming rushing to the scene to pick up the dead and wounded. Gunfire also rang out after the explosion with what was believed to be a crude homemade device.
No group has publicly claimed responsibility for the attacks but many people believe that the shadowy group Ansar Bait al Maqdis is behind them. Only a day earlier, the group had issued a statement threatening the police. The group has been responsible for a string of attacks in the Sinai Peninsula targeting the military as well as the police.
Egypt’s security forces are dominated by thugs of the Mubarak regime that have no regard for the rights or life of the people. Since the ouster of the elected government of President Mohamed Mursi, his arrest on ludicrous charges and hundreds of other leaders of the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon locked up, there has been great unrest and unease in the country.
The military crackdown last August led to the murder of thousands of innocent civilians among them children of the Ikhwan leaders as well. The military-backed regime has unleashed deadly force and refuses to resolve the crisis through political dialogue.
Most informed observers believe the military is determined to crush the Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) and eliminate the movement from the political arena completely since it is the only organized force that can challenge the military’s plunder of state resources. While claiming to be ushering democracy, the military has banned any kind of protests without Interior Ministry approval that is not given to the Brotherhood or any other group except those drumbeating in favour of the government.
Given that the Brotherhood enjoys widespread support in the country, especially among the downtrodden that it has helped through its charitable work for decades, there is strong resentment against the brutal tactics of the military.
Many informed observers believe that by blocking all political space for the Ikhwan, the military is pushing Egypt into civil war that it believes it will win because it has a monopoly on violence. The military is heavily armed and is able to use it to deadly effect.
This, however, is a mistake that most militaries make. The will of the people often turns out to be stronger than guns and bullets.