Rad­i­cals in­fil­trate Cairo rally

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

THE FIRST large-scale par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Mus­lim Brother­hood party in demon­stra­tions in Cairo’s Tahrir Square last week­end has raised fears that the rad­i­cal Mus­lim group is plan­ning to par­tic­i­pate in a new Egyp­tian gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing elec­tions in Novem­ber.

On Fri­day, tens of thou­sands of pro­test­ers staged one of the largest demon­stra­tions in Tahrir Square since the top­pling of Pres­i­dent Hosni Mubarak in Fe­bru­ary.

This demon­stra­tion, how­ever, was dif­fer­ent to the many that pre­ceded it. This was the first time that the Mus- lim Brother­hood as a whole has protested, even though pro­test­ers iden­ti­fy­ing with the party have taken part in demon­stra­tions be­fore. The Brother­hood called for an Is­lamist state to es­tab­lished and some of its pro­test­ers chanted anti-Is­rael slo­gans.

On Sun­day, fol­low­ing the protest, se­cu­rity forces evicted the few hun­dred pro­test­ers who had re­mained in the square as part of a pro-democ­racy sit-in. Dozens were ar­rested and tents were smashed. The raid has given rise to re­ports on op­po­si­tion web­sites that the Supreme Army Coun­cil — cur­rently gov­ern­ing Egypt be­hind the scenes — has cut a deal with the Brother­hood, guar­an­tee­ing it a share of power af­ter the elec­tions in re­turn for its sup­port in restor­ing or­der. Army chief of staff Gen­eral Sami Anan de­nied these ru­mours.

For now, Is­rael is re­ly­ing on the Egyp­tian army to main­tain the peace treaty be­tween the two coun­tries. De­fence Min­ster Field Mar­shal Mo­hammed Hos­sein Tantawi promised in an ad­dress two weeks ago that Egypt would con­tinue to abide by the peace treaty.

For­mer Pres­i­dent Mubarak, whose trial on mul­ti­ple charges of corruption and mur­der of pro­test­ers be­gan this week in Cairo, is also be­ing ac­cused of harm­ing na­tional in­ter­ests by sell­ing gas to Is­rael. Mr Mubarak has de­nied charges that Is­rael paid un­der-mar­ket value prices for the gas.

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