Atlantic Council Middle East Published Articles

Anti-Coup Terrorism: License and Reluctance

Street Terrorism

From my recent article on Egypt Source. Here is the license:

Recently on the Istanbul-based pro-Brotherhood channel named Raba’a Sheikh Afifi called on Muslims to resist the coup, but not with weapons. “This will enable them to commit their crimes against us with full freedom,” he said.

It is not that the use of weapons is wrong, however. Afifi quotes the 10th Century jurist Ibn Hazm to say that such fighting is prohibited if it will not prove victorious. Since the security forces are better armed, this strategy will backfire, he explains.

“All we can try to do is terrorize them,” Afifi continues, “by burning their cars, threatening them, burning their homes, and other such efforts.” He says this is consistent with peaceful resistance and alleges it is legitimate under sharia law.

And here is the reluctance:

Even so, the idea is uncertain to at least one of the sheikh’s followers. “It is a way among many ways to resist the coup,” said Hani Fawzi, general-secretary of the Asala Party, very hesitantly. “But maybe it will work only five or ten percent.”

Please click here to read the full article at Egypt Source.


Extra Time: Not Four Minutes, but Two Plus Two

From Ahram Online, with a hilarious photo of Egyptian political reality in the national soccer league:

Two Plus Two

Even the referee is smiling…

For those not knowing the peculiarities of soccer, the only one who knows when the match ends is the referee. Its length is 90 minutes, but the official has discretion to add on ‘extra time’ to make up for time lost to injuries, excessive goal celebrations, etc. To signal an approximation to the players, with a few minutes left before the 90 minute mark, the referee will raise his fingers to indicate how much extra time he will allow.

For those not knowing the peculiarities of Egypt, the hand held aloft with four fingers is the adopted symbol for a mix of protestors who are some variety of pro-Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, anti-army, anti-coup, or sympathetic with the lives lost in August when a protest camp at the ‘Fourth’ Mosque in Cairo was violently dispersed by the government.

Technically, the mosque is named after an 8th Century female Sufi saint, whose first name happens to mean ‘Fourth’.

But raising the four fingers can get one in trouble these days. A few sports figures have been suspended for flashing the sign, following a goal celebration or after a Kung Fu victory.

This referee, apparently, did not want any  misunderstandings:

Atef El-Afi, who was refereeing an Egyptian league game between Gouna and El-Entag El-Harby, thought twice about how to signal that four minutes of time added on would be played.

He eventually decided to use both hands to do so, with each making a two-fingered sign.

“There is no place for politics in football. I just didn’t want to be misunderstood,” El-Afi told Egyptian sports website FilGoal.

“None of the Egyptian Football Association officials asked us [referees] to make any certain signs. We just want to avoid using anything that might be interpreted as political signs.”

Oh, and there is also this puppet being investigated as a terrorist mouthpiece, but that is a story for another day…


Safwat Hegazi, Stool Pigeon?

This is an unbelievable video of Safwat Hegazi in custody. In previous posts I summarized his controversial statements as conveyed in the media, and provided an interview with him conducted by AWR.

Here is a translation of the written Arabic caption in the video:

0:06 – I swear by God Almighty, I am not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but no one believes this.

0:15 – I swear by God, if I knew there was a single knife in Rabia al-Adawiya (site of the MB sit-in) meant to kill a soldier, I would have left them.

0:43 – If I could go back in time I would not have stood by the Brotherhood ([spoken, not in caption] – not because they are terrorists but) because they don’t know how to do anything right.

1:39 – I am not against the deposing of Morsi nor his trial. There is no one in the world above the court.

Simply incredible. What is this man’s reality?