The removal of the Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Morsi supporters took a violent turn as security forces killed at least 525 people and injured almost 4,000 people nearly all of whom are Morsi supporters. People who saw the assault have reported bulldozers smashing camps and security forces opening fire on unarmed citizens. One protestor is on record stating:
“Some onlookers were standing at the surrounding buildings, terrified by the unfolding deaths. Others smiled at the thought that the sit-in, which paralyzed their everyday lives for over a month, was coming to the end.”
Despite these last few tumultuous weeks and the “Day of Anger” scheduled today Egypt will mostly likely avoid spiraling into a civil war. First off, Egypt is held hostage to foreign influence such as aid from the U.S. and other Gulf States all of whom funnel billions of dollars into Egypt. It’s unlikely that those external forces would allow one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East to fall into civil war. Without that outside support its unclear if the military could sustain a civil war like the Assad government, which is propped up by military aid from Iran and Russia. It’s true that arms have been smuggled into Egypt from Libya using Bedoin underground channels but these are mostly rifles and small arms, not the heavy artillery one would need to combat the Egyptian military for a prolonged length of time.
Second, up to now all signs point indicate that General Abdul Fatah el-Sisi has no interest in actually governing. Instead he is more concerned with the material perks of power, not the day-to-day running of a country such as the dispersal of public goods and managing a hard hit economy.
Lastly, Syria is run by a minority sect while Egypt is mostly Sunni and doesn’t have the deep Sunni/Shite tensions that plague other Middle East states such as Iraq and Syria. Even the killings of Coptic Christians doesn’t seem to be stirring the embers that would ignite a full-blown civil war.
The conflict now is less of a civil war and more of a propaganda war where the Muslim Brotherhood has gained the world’s sympathy and the military might be pushed by public opinion to allow for more liberal forces to enter the political debate. If the Muslim Brotherhood can maintain its non-violent stance then Abdul Fatah may back down thus ending one of the most violent crackdowns in history. However the military must find a way to save face and realize that they cannot eradicate the Brotherhood with violence.