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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/29/13

Massacre of Egyptian People by the Military on Saturday, Sniper Fire Used with Most Shot in the Head and Chest

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The one thing most notable about the Egyptian military during the Arab Spring uprising that sparked the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February, 2011 was the military refusing to fire on the Egyptian people protesting and demonstrating in the streets.

Now with the military coup that ousted President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, (after a year in office), the Egyptian military killed over 60 Islamist supporters of Morsi within days of his ouster who were demonstrating against his detention, the coup that unseated him and wanting him reinstated as the legitimately elected President of Egypt.

Then early Saturday, the military crackdown on Morsi's supporters resulted in what has to described as a massacre with over 72 protesters killed, many shot in the head or chest indicating sniper fire was used and seemingly confirmed by witnesses who said "they had seen snipers on the roofs of nearby buildings." [1]

Remarkably, within hours of the clash, Mohamed Ibrahim, the Interior Minister of the military led "Interim" government, held a televised news conference where he " absolved his men of any responsibility" [2] saying, "His officers have never and will never shoot a bullet on any Egyptian." [3]

Well so much for the credibility of the "Interim" government's interior minister denying the obvious; the Egyptian military had indeed fired on Egyptian people that resulted in a massacre with most people shot at point blank range.

At least Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, now the Vice President in the "Interim" government, on his Twitter account wrote he condemned the "excessive use of force" thus contradicting the account of Interior Minister Ibrahim.

But what the latest mass killing of Islamists has done is any political reconciliation between the "Interim" government, Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood would appear dead in the water. The Brotherhood has called for millions to be in the streets on Tuesday.

Even though millions of Egyptians protested against Morsi and were the catalyst behind the military coup that ousted him and continue to support the military crackdown against Morsi's Islamist supporters, what legitimacy does this "Interim" government have if unarmed Egyptians are massacred in the streets by the military?

It's recognized many progressives and radicals in the U.S. were condemning of Morsi and generally supported the military coup that ousted him. But how can they justify and condone the military's massacre of Egyptian Islamists on Saturday?   If so, there is a disconnect between their support for the right of people to peacefully demonstrate in the streets, but apparently not if the people demonstrating are Islamist supporters of Morsi. Thus far their silence rings of hypocrisy.

The fact remains Morsi was the first legitimately elected President of Egypt. Did he make mistakes as president? Sure. Did he come across as authoritarian in some of the comments he made or even some of the decisions he made? Sure again.

But as I have written previously in this space, Morsi's hands were tied from the beginning of his presidency. No written Constitution was in place delineating his powers and the separation of powers between him, a people's assembly and a Supreme Court. That entire Court consisted of holdovers from the ousted Mubarak regime and against the new president's authority from the outset. The Court disbanded the legitimately elected parliament essentially because of the Muslim Brotherhood's majority in the people's assembly. When Morsi declared the parliament should be reseated the Court remained adamantly opposed and its decision prevailed. When Morsi insisted the specially formed Constitutional assembly have the new Constitution written by a previously agreed upon date and ready for the people to vote on (but was to be delayed because of squabbling amongst the participants), Morsi pushed for it to be ready anyway. The new constitution was subsequently approved by the majority of the Egyptian people. But Morsi's insistence on having the Constitution ratified immediately riled many Egyptians depicting his actions as reminiscent of the ousted Mubarak and led to massive demonstrations against Morsi as the new authoritarian dictator.

And it was Morsi's attitude perceived by many as authoritarian that led to the coup and his eventual downfall.

Yet if a president is elected legitimately in a functioning democracy, even if they become unpopular, should be able to complete their term in office unless of course they are impeached by a sitting legislature and convicted of crimes while in office, (apologies for the American Constitutional analogy but at least something on that equivalent scale is appropriate).

Yet this didn't happen in Egypt. Mass demonstrations and a military coup did happen.

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