Egypt tensions rattle divides between Mid-East countries

Aug 20, 2013


Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) activists gesture with painted fingers in support of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in Karachi on August 20, 2013. ; Credit: ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images

Egypt remains in a state of emergency as violence rips a divided country. Tensions between supporters of the military and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood will likely be further exacerbated after authorities arrested Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie. Meanwhile, the world stage is beginning to fracture in its positions on Egypt.

The White House has been pressured to suspend aid to the Egyptian military in light of its violent tactics against protesters, yet President Obama has not officially made any decision yet. On Monday Saudi Arabia announced that it would compensate the Egyptian military for any funds that are withdrawn by Western States, fueling a new Middle East standoff that pits Saudi Arabia against countries like Turkey and Qatar, who have denounced the actions of the military.  

On top of all this, there are suggestions that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek may be released from custody in coming days.  Ironically, his potential release coincides with a growing sense that Egypt is returning to a state similar to the one under Mubarek, with strict authoritarian control.  

What’s next for Egypt?  What about the United States’ role?  And will Mubarek be released, and what will that mean for the growing unrest in the country?


Hussein Ibish, Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, a think tank in Washington. He wrote a column for The National (publication of Abu Dhabi Media) making an argument for American continuing aid to the Egyptian military.

Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at University of San Francisco.  He thinks the US would be wise to consider suspending aid.

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