THE NEW EGYPT – AT 9:09 A.M. ET: Egypt will elect a new president this month, but conditions in the country are chaotic. The dreams of the "Arab spring" are fading. From the Los Angeles Times:
CAIRO — At least 11 people were killed Wednesday when unknown attackers armed with guns and firebombs clashed with protesters near Egypt's Defense Ministry in an escalation of violence highlighting political divisions that threaten the country ahead of this month's presidential election.
Assailants stormed about 500 demonstrators at dawn, many of them supporters of Hazem Salah abu Ismail, an ultraconservative Islamist preacher recently disqualified from the presidential race. Police did not intervene for hours, and authorities said as many as 200 people were wounded in the nation's worst violence in months.
The bloodshed exacerbated tension that has engulfed the country since last year's overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. The election scheduled May 23-24 is seen as a critical step in the transition to democracy. But unrest and the military's hold on power have fueled anger and political uncertainty and led to new calls for large street marches.
The clashes prompted presidential candidates, including Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a progressive Islamist, and Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood to suspend their campaigns. They criticized the military for a lack of security reminiscent of the soccer riot in Port Said in February that left more than 70 people dead.
COMMENT: Democracy isn't just one election, which Egypt will have. It's a way of life, a way of thinking, a way of looking at other citizens. That concept of democracy isn't emerging in Egypt. What strikes us is the silence of the United States, which hustled former President Mubarak, who was pro American, out of office. Mr. Obama appears content with having a new Islamic state. It's a strange form of contentment, which American citizens should not share.
May 3, 2012