Fomenting Civil War in Egypt

“Serious questions about the true nature of the conflict in Egypt & the disturbing similarities between this incident and similar ones in Syria, Thailand &Elsewhere”

The killing of more than 50 people at a demonstration in support of ousted Egyptian President Morsi in Cairo on Monday has justifiably horrified many in Egypt and internationally.  The pro-Morsi elements have placed the blame on the military forces, while the military claims it was attacked with live ammunition.  While accusations are hurled back and forth, a new aspect to this story is emerging – the presence of a third force, namely snipers stationed on rooftops firing at both sides of the conflict.  This revelation raises serious questions about the true nature of the conflict in Egypt and the disturbing similarities between this incident and similar ones in Syria, Thailand, and elsewhere.

The Cairo Massacre

As thousands gathered near the Republican Guard headquarters where many believe the Egyptian military is holding former President Morsi, violence erupted, killing at least 51 people and injuring hundreds.  The bloody incident marked a clear transition from a purely political conflict to a potential civil war. 

According to military officials, pro-Morsi “terrorists” attempted to storm the building, thereby eliciting a violent response from the military forces defending themselves.  Colonel Ahmad Mohammad Ali, a spokesman for the Egyptian military claimed that police personnel were attacked while attempting to secure the area.  He noted that, “They were on top of buildings…they either fired or threw things down…they were firing live ammunition and the military had to defend itself.”  Colonel Ali’s comments have been echoed by most major media outlets in Egypt which are largely controlled by forces sympathetic to the military and the former Mubarak regime.  However, the Muslim Brotherhood and other pro-Morsi forces paint a distinctly different picture.

A statement on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party website naturally blames the Egyptian military forces for wantonly killing what it describes as “peaceful protestors who reject the military coup and demand reinstatement of their elected President Mohamed Morsi.” From the Islamist perspective, the massacre, as well as the coup itself, was a direct assault not only on the Muslim Brotherhood but on democracy itself.  Moreover, the killings seem to have set the precedent that Islamist elements have no recourse in Egypt other than violence.

Despite the differences between these opposing factions, there is a common thread between them – both are blaming the other for inciting the violence that could lead to a total destabilization of the country.  However, here it critical to note that the bulk of the killings on Monday took place at the hands of unknown snipers stationed on rooftops, as shown in this youtube video. Although the snipers appear to be wearing military uniforms, their actual identity remains unclear.  Because it is impossible to verify exactly who the snipers were, and who they were working for, it is critical to instead examine the possible motives or lack thereof.

The military has claimed repeatedly that they were attacked and that the response was purely defensive.  However, this cannot possibly explain the presence of military snipers on rooftops, no mere defensive posture.  Conversely, the claim by the Muslim Brotherhood and allied supporters that the snipers were obviously Egyptian military does not seem consistent with the political circumstances, nor the facts on the ground.

First and foremost, it should be noted that the military stands nothing to gain and everything to lose from using such tactics.  Having seized power in what can only be regarded as one of the most “popular coups” (not my term) in modern history, they already had the majority of the country and world opinion on their side.  There was no worldwide condemnation of their actions, rather, governments seemed to be falling over themselves to “look forward” and “call for stability”, both simply coded language for tacit support.  So, with the world watching Egypt, carefully scrutinizing every move the military and secular opposition make, in what possible way could they stand to benefit from sowing such chaos?  Naturally, they stood to gain nothing.  Moreover, the notion that Egyptian military snipers would fire at their fellow soldiers is far-fetched to say the least.

Secondly, the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters undoubtedly understood the impossibility of fighting the military on the streets.  Whatever weapons sources claim they had (bottles, rocks, small arms) are certainly not enough to significantly impact the military.  The notion that these demonstrators attempted to “storm” the Republican Guard headquarters seems laughable.  Although the crowd was predominantly comprised of fervent supporters of the deposed President Morsi, they were still regular Egyptians, not militant Salafists or some such formation.

So it would seem that neither side really stood to benefit or had the capability to do what the other side is suggesting.  That would then raise the most critical question of all…if the snipers were not part of either side, then who exactly were they?  It would seem that the only logical conclusion would be that the snipers were from some as yet unknown third party whose interest was not in taking sides but in ensuring that violent clashes and killings would take place so as to stoke tensions and foment civil war.  Keen observers will note that we have seen this scenario before, most recently in Syria.

The Syrian and Thai Precedent

At the outbreak of the violence in Syria in 2011, many wondered how the situation on the ground escalated so quickly.  It would seem, according to mainstream Western media reports, that the Syrian security forces had simply gone mad and began killing peaceful demonstrators at random.  However, what became clear within days was the fact that unknown snipers stationed on rooftops in cities such as Deraa and Hama were indeed the main culprits.  As seen in these videos as well as countless articles, the presence of snipers on rooftops throughout Syria is undeniable.  Naturally, the claim was immediately made that the snipers were merely Assad’s military forces.  Conveniently enough, no evidence was ever produced that showed the initial snipers were indeed government soldiers. 

Interestingly, the Arab League observer mission, itself openly hostile to the Assad regime, noted in its report of early 2012 that many of the atrocities including sniper shootings, could be correctly attributed to a third, unknown force inside the country.  As the report noted:

The Mission determined that there is an armed entity that is not mentioned in the protocol.  This development on the ground can undoubtedly be attributed to the protocol.  This development on the ground can undoubtedly be attributed to the occurred before the deployment of the Mission demanding the fall of the regime. In some zones, this armed entity reacted by attacking Syrian security forces and citizens, causing the government to respond with further violence.

The report corroborates what many eyewitnesses have stated, namely that some of the violence that erupted at the outset of the conflict in Syria was attributable to this “third force” replete with snipers and military training and equipment.  Predictably, the report attempts to spin the violence from the “third force” as being purely in response to the Syrian military, but provides no evidence other than a generic assertion that “undoubtedly [the violence] should be attributed to the excessive use of force by Government forces”.  Essentially then, it should be clear that there was some element inside of Syria during the early stages of the conflict that used snipers and other forms of violence and terror to push the opposition and government into full scale war.  It seems to have worked quite successfully.

Syria is certainly not the only country that has experienced this sort of phenomenon.  In 2010, violence erupted between the government of Thailand and red shirted supporters of US-backed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.  Just as in Syria, mysterious gunmen armed with sniper rifles, machine guns, and grenades emerged within the ranks of the red shirts and began attacking Thai troops, killing a prominent Colonel and six other soldiers. The attempt to “storm” a military facility with protestors was clearly a cynically orchestrated cover for the fomenting of chaos and possible destabilization of the country with the intention of installing Washington’s darling Shinawatra.  Here again we see that snipers and other armed, unknown fighters were at the center of the incident.

What happened in Thailand was no mere accident.  It required coordination and planning, financing and materiel support.  This indicates that, contrary to the mainstream media’s fantastical narrative, this was no mere political protest and should not be treated as such.  Rather, as in Syria, we see a clear example of the lengths to which certain elements will go to achieve their political aims.

The details of the massacre in Egypt are still coming out, so it is impossible to say for certain exactly what happened.  However, judging from previous experiences in Syria and Thailand, one should have reservations about the narrative being sold to the public.  Who exactly were those snipers in Cairo?  Who gave the order to fire at both pro-Morsi protestors and at the military forces?  The answers to these and other questions must emerge with time.  Hopefully, there is still a united and peaceful Egypt when they finally do.

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Eric Draitser- Boiling Frogs Post Contributing Author, Analyst & Producer
Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. He is the editor and host of and the Stop Imperialism podcast.

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  1. tonywicher says:


    Very solid analysis. Let me add a few things. The Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest Islamist political organization. It was founded in 1928 by Hassan al Banna. Part of his career is described in Wikipedia as follows:

    Hassan al Banna was an admirer of Adolf Hitler and wrote supportive letters endorsing the policies of the Third Reich for example in Al-Banna’s “Letter to the Young,” as quoted in the book “Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan” by Caroline Fourest:
    “If the German Reich makes it a principle to protect all those with German blood in their veins, well then Muslim faith makes it a principle for every Muslim to act as the protector of all those who have taken to heart the teachings of the Koran.”
    Hassan was solicited by Nazi intelligence when Hitler rose to power In the 1930’s. He established a Nazi Germany spy network throughout the Arabian Peninsula for Hitler. Al Banna promised Hitler that when Gen. Rommel’s panzer division arrived in Cairo and Alexandria, the Muslim Brotherhood would ensure that all of the British troops would be killed.[5]
    In addition he wrote direct correspondence to Hitler and organized the brotherhood to distribute translated versions of Mein Kampf under the title “My Jihad” within Egypt.[6]
    Like the Muslim Brotherhood’s representative in the Palestinian Mandate; the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini himself a direct Arab spokesmen for the Third Reich during the war, Hassan al-Banna likewise openly acknowledged the common interests with National Socialist anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist politics, and actively collaborated with the Nazis:
    Al-Banna was also fascinated by Hitler. Both hated Jews, democracy, and Western culture. When the war broke out, the Muslim Brothers promised they would rise up and help General Rommel and make sure to kill the Allies in Egypt. The Muslim Brothers representative of Palestine, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem (al-Husayni), worked for the Third Reich during the war and played a major role in the recruitment of the SS Arab division that will be known as the “SS Handjar.” The “Himmler to Mufti telegram” of November 1943 attested the alliance between Nazi Germany and the Mufti: “the firm foundation of the natural alliance that exists between the National Socialist Greater Germany and the freedom-loving Muslims of the whole world.” The Muslim Brothers were not prosecuted after the war despite the participation of the Mufti and “freedom-loving Muslims” in the Holocaust. In the second half of the 1930s, the Muslim Brothers were strongly engaged to help the Palestinians. They raised and channeled funds to fight the Jews, and intensified contacts with religious leaders in Palestine. Banna was interned from 1941 to February 1942 due to his “critic” of the British presence. The secret apparatus of the Muslim Brothers bombed British clubs during the Second World War and assassinated Egyptian officials. In 1945, the Palestinian question became even more explosive, and the Muslim Brothers were organizing violent demonstrations against the Jews. Military training centers were set up to send volunteers in Palestine to fight “Zionism.”[7]

    I would describe the Muslim Brotherhood as the upper middle class version of the “muhajedeen” fighters, and should both be seen as fascist. We should distinguish between Islam, which is one of the world’s great religions along with Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and others, and this kind of militant Islamism, that is being used by the Empire to destabilize and overthrow sovereign nations such as Syria, Libya and now Egypt. On the recent violence in Egypt, I come down entirely on the side of the Egyptian military. You are very rightly suspicious of those “snipers” – it is indeed exactly like the early days of the Syrian conflict.

    There are genuine nationalist forces within the Egyptian army and they did act in response to the huge size of the demonstrations. I am hoping that these forces will prevail over those of imperial corruption, and we will see a genuine nationalist president emerge from this turmoil. The Egyptian army brought to power a real anti-imperial nationalist once before, Col. Gamal Abdel-Nasser, and they could do it again. There is a perfectly situated Nasserist waiting in the wings, with a fine, principled record of opposition to the Sadat, Mubarak and Morsi regimes – Hamdeen Sabahi. He came in third in 2012 with 21% of the vote. This is the guy I think we should be supporting.

  2. hermaph says:

    Telling that DEBKAfile and many others refer to the shooting with – army ‘defends’ against ‘Muslim loyalists’ – no mention of snipers and the like. Which brings to mind how important the irate minority are … listening to and reading articles by Eric Draitser, Andrew Gavin Marshall, Sibel Edmonds, James Corbett, William Engdahl, Rick Rozoff and of course many more, makes clear a narrative that brings to light an aspect of power that wishes to remain outside of the narrative. Co opting, blackmail, murder and the like prevent ‘principled opposition’ to established power gaining power.

    These recent – deja vu – sniper tactics work to create chaos and crisis. The strategy of violence and war without a need for winning – just war and violence because it achieves desired results and is the business of military power (security and intelligence) in general raises the question –

    Can civilian populations around the world put the genie back in the bottle?

    Are they/we all to be compromised? The track record of the last 100 years speaks for it self and offers the answer YES! Yes, we can all be compromised. Yes, we have been compromised. Yes we are being compromised. All around the world we have blatant violence as reality. From the symbolic minutia to macro global governance we exist with mass acceptance of brutality wrapped in freedom myths. On a local/personal level I think I am at peace; I step on the ash felt, breath in the fumes, read the signs, hear the buzzing, dodge the traffic, see the headlines, eat the toxins, pay the bills, see the sickness, feel the stress, realize the violence, plug in, turn on, digest, become.

    “I’ve seen the future, brother: it is murder”

    We(public record) have evidence in the way of factual information about killers killing and … nothing has been done, in fact as documented we just see more killing.

    Yes we can grow our own communities and share our understandings, but we also see time and time again that when ‘principled opposition’ is a real possibility then strategies are employed.

    Does anyone want to give this a happy ending?

  3. The first video of snipers in Syria at the L.A.Times link is now “private”.

    Not sure if this is the same footage, but at this link you’ll find the Syrian snipers…

    Also note at time-stamp 1:45 the snipers are caught red-handed. They are clearly westerners. There’s an RT stamp on that particular video but no context. Is that in Syria or somewhere else? Iraq? Libya? Presumably the Arabic text/announcer in the video explains. Any Arabic translators here?

  4. The you tube video raises more questions than answers , What building were they shooting off of and who controlled access to rooftop? Was that a state TV or Aljazera video camera man with snipers and where is tape ? Who did sniper shoot first and could this person have been targeted ,with other victim’s shoot to cover targeted assassination ? Why didn’t crowd move out of sniper field of fire and wait for them to exit building at doors ? Army would set up a more secure and concealed vantage point in my opinion these were provocateurs if first targets were mot key players in protest !

  5. hermaph says:

    what where who why when how – good questions as details are important if anyone was to track the very mobile factories of terror that seem to set up as easily as a McDonald’s franchise ice cream dispensers do. Someone ‘market forces’ swipes the card and makes the call and then magically appear the agent provocateur.

    Directives from the top have allowed and facilitated decades of terrible atrocities and now it is globally known if you speak out you go down too, so where does this leave the ‘principled humanist’? I’m starting to think that the latest whistle blowers are taking on an air of ‘so what-ism’.

    Go tell ya mama – what she gonna do?

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