While it doesn’t seem to be showing up on the news much in the last few months, unrest and violence have continued in Egypt. In September, the Egyptian government, dominated by the military after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi in July, banned the Muslim Brotherhood from any activity in the country. The Brotherhood hasn’t taken their ban lying down. After a suicide bombing at a police headquarters in the Nile Delta on Wednesday, the government officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
Following the outlawry of the Brotherhood, the government has arrested thousands of members, in many cases after attacks and clashes with police. There was widespread fighting between police and Brotherhood supporters in Cairo, the Nile Delta, and Minya on Friday, following another roundup of Brotherhood members after a bus was bombed in Cairo on Thursday. At least 265 Brotherhood members and supporters were detained.
On Saturday, Dec 28, Islamist students at Al Azhar University protested against the government, setting fire to University buildings. They were attempting to stop exams to protest Morsi’s ouster. One 19-year-old student was shot and killed by the police as they entered the building to stop the fire, and 60 students were arrested.
The clashes between the government and the Brotherhood show no signs of slowing down, even as SecState John Kerry called his counterpart in Cairo to “express concern” about the mass arrests, and urge a “more inclusive political process.” Considering what happened the last time there was a “more inclusive political process” in Egypt, that seems unlikely in the near future. Over 1000 people have been killed, mostly on the Brotherhood side, since Morsi’s ouster. It’s still nowhere near the bloodletting in Syria, but given Egypt’s strategic position in the region, it still bears watching.