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The Soccer Clashes…اشتبكات كرة القدم

One simply gets tired of writing posts on violence. Egyptian society has become emotionally exhausted over the past year as political reform has fizzled, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces manipulates the transition process to ensure the protection of its political and economic interests, and political parties play high politics at the expense of protestors advanced their desired reform in the streets. The results is a sense of latent societal frustration the equivalent of large pine forest after a ten year drought. All both need lack is a strike of lightning to burst into flames. Read More…

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Egypt News July 15, 2011…أخبار مصر ١٥ يوليو ٢٠١١

There was a low turnout in Tahrir Square today. I estimate a couple of thousand – 7,000 at most. Although it was very hot and humid today, the low turnout cannot attributed entirely to the weather. More than 200,000 people gathered a week ago in similar circumstances and although the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups have denounced these protests, they alone did not account for 193,000 people last week. Although many are optimistic that more will protestors will arrive after the sun sets this evening, this is a bad sign for those waging the sit-in as it appears they are losing the popular momentum necessary to pressure the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to commit to further reform.
1. On the topic of reform, it appears that the reform the protests’ have achieved is more symbolic that substantive. The ministerial reshuffle does not appear to include the Minister of the Interior. Moreover, it looks like the police reform is a sham. The lack of transparency surround this process means information must be taken with a handful of salt. However, it appears that the primary criteria was not crimes committed but age (as officers were given early retirement options).
2. The heat seems to be hurting the supports of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) as well. Today, the counter protest organized in order to demonstrate popular support for SCAF drew less than one hundred people.
3. April 6th Movement has released a statement of six demands whose accomplishment must be achieved before the sit-ins throughout Egypt are ended. There is no way they get their first demand: the formation of a revolutionary government without the interference of SCAF.
4. Thugs attack protests in Port Said and police attack protestors in Suez. The Third Army has been deployed to Suez to protect the Suez Canal.
5. In apolitical news, a Guardian piece on the struggle to historically document the revolution is a good read. To be honest, though, I might be biased as I volunteer for Tahrir Documents.

Egypt News July 14, 2011 أخبار مصر ١٤ يوليو ٢٠١١

As compared to the earlier of the week, events in Egypt have slowed down providing time for reflection and analysis.
1. As symbolic confessions and limited reform have failed to mollify the protestsers, the Arabist discusses the end game for the current protests. I agree with his conclusion: Tomorrow really, really matters. Without the Muslim Brotherhood participating, how many people will this collection of liberal parties be able to gather in Tahrir Square this Friday? Also, how long can the myriad of groups gathered in Tahrir Square maintain the unity necessary to achieve additional reform?
2. In the above vein, more than 200,000 signatures have been gathered (arabic) in support of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The protestors have started a signature campaign calling for the removal of SCAF, but its numbers remain low. I cannot stress enough that those gathered in Tahrir Square are in the minority. They face opposition from not alone SCAF and the Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists, etc) but also from many political unaligned Egyptians who have grown frustrated with the determintal effect of the revolution on the Egyptian economy.
3. In the Interior Ministry, details are emerging about the specifics of the reform. The purge includes 669 highly-ranked officers among them 505 generals and 82 colonels. Protestors remained unsatisfied, however, feeling that this will not set a sufficient deterrent against police brutality – especially among those on the bottom end of the totem poll.
4. Although the political results of the revolution remain uncertain, the revolution has broken the state’s near monopoly on broadcast media generating an explosion in independent media broadcasting networks.