Friday, August 16, 2013

Egypt’s Nightmare Scenario Draws Nearer

Obama tries to avert an explosion of violence in the Arab world's most populous country.

Obama Statement on Egypt

President Barack Obama makes a statement on the situation in Egypt from the driveway of his vacation house in Chilmark, on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on Aug. 15, 2013

However awful Egypt’s political crisis may appear after the bloody government crackdown that left more than 500 protesters dead, the worst may be yet to come. Islamists enraged by the military-led government’s brutal tactics could retaliate on a scale that touches off an even bloodier phase to the struggle, regional experts say.

“I think a cycle of violence is coming,” says the Century Foundation’s Michael Wahid Hanna. “This will likely take the form of insurgent tactics, including possibly suicide bombings and assassinations.”

And that, in turn, would provoke more harsh tactics by the government. “Further violence will push greater repression and authoritarian behavior,” Hanna adds. “De-escalation, let alone democratic transition, is a long way off.” And all in a country already veering toward potential economic collapse and awash in arms.

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