Current violence is unprecedented in Egypt’s modern political history

a13-iconMichele Dunne and Scott Williamson write: Egyptians have suffered through the most intense human rights abuses and terrorism in their recent history in the eight months since the military ousted then president Mohamed Morsi. The extent of this story has been largely obscured from view due to the lack of hard data, but estimates suggest that more than 2,500 Egyptians have been killed, more than 17,000 have been wounded, and more than 16,000 have been arrested in demonstrations and clashes since July 3. Another several hundred have been killed in terrorist attacks.

These numbers exceed those seen even in Egypt’s darkest periods since the 1952 military-led revolution that would bring Gamal Abdel Nasser to power. They reflect a use of violence that is unprecedented in Egypt’s modern political history.

An Egyptian judge on March 24 sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters (147 in custody, the rest at large) to death for the killing of one police officer—in the largest capital punishment conviction in modern Egypt. Though the sentences can still be appealed, they offer a stark illustration of the depths to which Egypt’s political conflict has plunged.

Despite Egyptian officials’ statements that the measures they are taking are necessary to stabilize the country, the opposite is true. Egypt is a far more violent and unstable place than it was before July 2013 or indeed has been for decades, as government repression drives an expanding cycle of political violence. And there has been no indication yet that conditions will quiet down anytime soon. [Continue reading…]

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