“This has become a gang war, a street battle”

All hell is now breaking out across Egypt as Political Islam – in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood – reasserts itself.

Under Hosni Mubarak’s rule (1981 to 2011), the MB was marginalized as the dictator sought his fortunes as the leader of a more secular nation with which the West could “do business.” His ouster in 2011 was, in part, a response to the corruption of his stifling regime but in the power vacuum of the overthrow’s aftermath, only the Brotherhood was in a real position to capitalize and win the elections that followed.

But their candidate, Mohamed Morsi, overplayed his hand upon being elected – one of his first acts was to abolish all dissent against his regime. Here’s TIME magazine, in an otherwise flattering portrait of Morsi, from November of 2012:

The most popular joke in Egypt these days is that Morsi has done the impossible: he has united the opposition.

Morsi achieved that by issuing an emergency decree on Nov. 22 appropriating for himself sweeping new powers, including immunity for his decisions from judicial challenge. The President insists his decree is a temporary measure designed to prevent politically motivated judges from undermining the process of creating a new constitution. But to critics, one particular provision, giving him “power to take all necessary measures” against threats to national security and to last year’s revolution, smells of dictatorship. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace laureate and liberal politician, dubbed Morsi the new pharaoh.

Last Sunday, June 30th, millions of Egyptians took to the streets to demand the ouster of their “new pharoah”, less than two years after tossing out Mubarak after a decades-long reign. It only took four days this time around, by Wednesday July 3rd, the Egyptian military had Morsi under house arrest and the anti-Islamists had declared victory. New elections would be forthcoming, we were told, and all over the country fireworks and cheers could be seen and heard.

But of course, it was never going to be that easy.

Today’s New York Times details the bloodshed and rioting that have taken place overnight. Something tells me the worst is yet to come as the Egyptian situation devolves into yet another secularist vs fundamentalist conflict. Unfortunately, the religious hardliners usually win these things in the MENA region as they tend to be better organized and better funded – and way more zealous.

Read about it below:

Mayhem in Cairo as Morsi Backers Fight for Return (New York Times)

 

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