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MASSACRE: More than 600 dead in Cairo: Islamists plot next move

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 16th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Egyptian Islamists are at a loss as to what to do next in the wake of the biggest civilian massacre in recent history. At least 638 people are dead and 4,000 injured in clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and government forces. Many Islamist leaders are now in jail or have been rendered silent. Popular support for the Islamist cause, best personified by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have failed to materialize.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - More demonstrations are planned for later today after prayer. Cairo is currently under a "quiet before the storm," as the new Egyptian government have authorized the use of lethal force against protestors if they feel threatened.

In a makeshift morgue, some now speak of an impending civil war. Some have blamed members of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority for supporting the military takeover.

Many are now advocating the use of force. "The solution might be an assassination list ." a youthful protestor says. "Shoot anyone in uniform. It doesn't matter if the good is taken with the bad, because that is what happened to us last night."

Analysts say that the outcome of the internal Islamist debate may now be the most critical variable in deciding the next phase of the crisis. Egypt's military-backed government is adamant to demonize and repress the Islamists with a ruthlessness exceeding even that of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the autocrat who first outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood six decades ago.

How the Islamists respond will reshape both their movement and Egypt. The group may either resume the accommodationist tactics of the Muslim Brotherhood under former President Hosni Mubarak, or escalate their street protests despite continued casualties, or turn to armed insurgency as some members did in the 1990s.

Interrupting his vacation to address the bloodshed, U.S. President Barack Obama stopped short of suspending the $1.3 billion in annual American military aid to Egypt. Obama also canceled joint military exercises scheduled to take place in a few months.

"We've seen a more dangerous path taken through arbitrary arrests, a broad crackdown on Mr. Morsi's associations and supporters, and now tragically the violence that's taken the lives of hundreds of people and wounded thousands more." Obama added that "our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back."

The U.S. State Department has since issued an advisory warning United States citizens living in Egypt to leave "because of the continuing political and social unrest."

The military-appointed government in Cairo accused the United States of failing to grasp the nature of the "terrorist acts" it said Egypt is facing.

Interim Egyptian President, Adli Mansour says Obama's remarks "would strengthen the violent armed groups and encourage them in their methods inimical to stability and the democratic transition."

In Europe, some officials called for a suspension of aid by the European Union, and at least one member state, Denmark, cut off support. The British and French summoned their Egyptian ambassadors to condemn the violence.

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