February 26, 2012 |
The criminal trial of 16 American pro-democracy workers opened in Cairo on Sunday as U.S. and Egyptian diplomats attempted to resolve a deepening crisis between longtime allies that have grown increasingly estranged since the uprisings that have swept the Arab world in the last year. The politically charged case, punctuated by bruising rhetoric on both sides, is a sign of Washington's ebbing influence in the region and a test of Egypt's ruling military council's ability to finesse an end to a drama that could result in the curtailment of $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid. Contradictory signals from the Egyptian government and perceived U.S. arrogance have hampered a resolution.
February 20, 2012 |
The headlines reflect a previously unknown cruelty: a woman gunned down in a rich Cairo neighborhood, a rash of carjackings, a deadly soccer riot, a stream of smuggled arms that have given muscle to criminal gangs once easily outgunned by police. The revolution that inspired this country one year ago has set loose a menacing air that Egyptians find unfamiliar. Bristling beneath the political battle for power against the ruling generals is an insecurity over crime and a bitterness that has darkened Egypt's congenial nature.
February 15, 2012 |
As 16 U.S. citizens await trial in Egypt for accepting foreign financing to promote democracy, for the first time in more than 30 years there is a serious debate in Washington about whether to end the $1.3-billion annual military assistance to Cairo. There's no debate in Egypt, however. More than 70% of Egyptians, according to a recent Gallup poll, no longer want U.S. funding. By deciding to prosecute Americans, post-Mubarak Egypt has intentionally provoked a bilateral crisis. But the legal assault on U.S.-funded nongovernmental organizations and personnel is merely a symptom of a larger, more serious problem.
February 6, 2012 |
Relations between Washington and Cairo plummeted further when Egypt's military-controlled government announced that 19 Americans working for pro-democracy groups, including the son of a Cabinet official, would be ordered to stand trial on licensing and financial charges. The provocative decision Sunday by investigating judges comes as the U.S. has threatened to suspend $1.3 billion in annual aid to Egypt's military. It highlights the widening divide between Washington and one of its closest allies over democratic reforms at a time of sweeping political upheaval across North Africa and the Middle East.
February 4, 2012 |
Young men wearing surgical masks and hurling stones rushed police barricades Friday against the pop-pop of tear gas rounds that spread white smoke like a gauze over the street as other protesters retreated with the injured draped in their arms. A new band of men waving flags and splotching their faces with yeast to cut the sting of gas made their run toward the barricades and black-clad riot police in front of the Interior Ministry. Surge and retreat has become a dangerous dance of revolt, full of fury but unable, so far, to break the grip of the nation's military rulers.
February 2, 2012 |
The coffins came down the hill in an intermittent procession Thursday as families focused their rage on police and military forces for not preventing a soccer riot that left 74 people dead and heightened the lawlessness threatening Egypt's unfinished revolution. Mothers wept and fathers railed as coffins were carried one by one from the morgue in Cairo. Sisters fainted and brothers, some with their own wounds bandaged, turned their heads as names were called and bodies, many wrapped in sheets, were collected and driven over a rutted road toward cemeteries across the city.
February 1, 2012 |
An Egyptian soccer match between two longtime rivals descended into a violent echo of the bloodiest days of last year's revolution as hooligans supporting the winning team stormed the field, attacking opposing players and fans in clashes that reportedly killed at least 73 people. The fighting on the pitch quickly took on broader political overtones. The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls nearly half of the new parliament, laid blame for the bloodshed on thugs connected to toppled President Hosni Mubarak who are plotting to destabilize the country.
January 30, 2012 |
The State Department's decision to provide refuge for three U.S. pro-democracy workers in Egypt illustrated the widening gulf between Washington and an ally it considers key to stability in the Middle East. After a month of friction over the status of Americans working to promote democracy in Egypt, U.S. officials confirmed Monday that they had agreed to provide shelter in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to the three, who fear they could be arrested or physically harmed because of their activities.
November 28, 2011 |
Once an outpost for camel traders, the Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba is an unforgiving stretch along the Nile, suspicious of political promises and candidates in polished shoes who disappear before the tea cools. The neighborhood's blacksmiths, spice sellers and boys who careen in motorized rickshaws known as tuk-tuks , work far from the protests in Tahrir Square. If the square is the epicenter of revolt and idealism, then Imbaba is the gritty crisscrossing of alleys and streets where Egypt, in all its desperation and anger, lives.
November 27, 2011 |
Ibrahim Shaban said he was 15, but he looked much younger in his pajama pants and sweat shirt with the worn-away rhinestones, dirt caked on his bare feet, a knife scar on his face. He strolled through the crowds in Tahrir Square the other day, watching banners unfurl, listening to speeches. He sometimes sounded like a miniature rebel, distilling the nation's rage in his narrow body. "My father died a month ago, so I've been living in the square," he said. "He had heart problems. He sold cups and glasses in the street.