Violence in Egypt will only end if army immediately steps aside, analysts warn


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Fears expressed that Tunisia may be next

The military crack down in Egypt, which has left hundreds of people dead and thousands more injured, will not end until coalition government is formed, analysts from the Henry Jackson Society have warned.

The HJS seeks to promote liberal democracies around the world and offers a unique insight into failed democratic transitions and the role of the military within societies. The Society is warning unrest in Tunisia could well follow given the military crackdown in Egypt, with the ruling Islamist Ennahda party watching events closely.

Two pro-Morsi camps in Cairo that were the focus of the military action were not the only locations in Egypt to see violence flare yesterday, with reports of incidents throughout the country. Furthermore, attacks on churches belonging to the Coptic Christian minority displayed how deeply divided Egyptian society has become.

The Henry Jackson Society, which has researched religious freedom in the Middle East and whose research team visited Egypt to meet members of the Morsi opposition and the Freedom and Justice Party, has called for the Egyptian Army to step aside to allow an interim government to take power.

Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society Dr Alan Mendoza said: “Violence is no way to solve the problems of a deeply divided society. This action exposes the hollowness of the claim of the Egyptian military to be the best guarantor of liberal democracy.

“The army should acknowledge a massive mistake has been made and step aside for a coalition government of national unity which includes all shades of Egyptian political opinion.”

Ongoing risk assessments by the HJS research team suggest General Al-Sisi has no incentive to relinquish power while the military regime is being bankrolled by Saudi Arabia, with the US claiming limited influence in the ongoing conflict.

Dr Mendoza also highlighted the danger of the unrest spreading to other countries affected by the Arab Spring, notably Tunisia.

He said: “There is a strong likelihood that the unrest we have seen in Egypt may spread to Tunisia, where a worryingly similar divide has been seen between an Islamist government and a liberal and secular opposition.

“Given the recent waves of mass protests and call for the Ennahda Party to resign, Tunisia’s Islamists will be watching the Egyptian situation with great discomfort, wondering if their fate will be that of their ideological brethren in Cairo.”


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