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Accusations, Protests Further Fragment Egypt
July 13, 2013

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The political situation in Egypt continues to be fragmented and polarized, with the interim government floating the idea of pressing criminal charges against deposed President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood campaigning heavily for the reinstatement of Morsi and the elected government.

At a large rally attended by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Morsi supporters, a number of Shura Council members thrown out of their jobs by the army's dissolving of the most recent government called for a reversal of that dissolution, with Morsi back as President and the Shura, the upper house of Parliament, back in session. The protest was not as large as the ones in the final days of Morsi's presidency, but it was a powerful statement of resentment nonetheless.

In addition to the shuttering of Brotherhood television stations, the army has rounded up dozens of top Brotherhood officials. A deadly clash earlier in the week left 50 Morsi supporters dead and hundreds injured. Another large group of Morsi supporters has for two weeks maintained a sit-in an eastern Cairo mosque.

The government, meanwhile, has discussed some sort of power-sharing agreement, but no specifics have emerged. Interim President Adly Mansour has insisted that an accelerated timetable for the writing of a new constitution and for new parliamentary and presidential elections will go ahead.

At the same time, prosecutors have mentioned consideration of pressing charges against Morsi and against a number of Brotherhood leaders. Among the suggested offenses are harboring explosives, assaulting a military barracks, and fomenting unrest. Against Morsi specifically, the suggested charges are spying and ruining the economy. The Brotherhood denied all charges. Morsi has been under house arrest and communicaiton silence since his government was dissolved.

The Egyptian economy, nearly at a breaking point after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, has gotten worse, with long lines for basics like bread and gasoline and financial reserves alarmingly low. The outlook has gotten a little better after the announcement of the interim government, with neighboring nations pledging billions of dollars in aid. The United States, one of Egypt's biggest financial supporters, gives the Arab Republic $1.3 billion each year in military support. U.S. laws stipulate that such aid ceases if the military perpetrates a violent coup to overthrow an elected government. U.S. officials have so far not termed Morsi's ouster a coup.

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