Bomb Attacks during American Visit Show Deep Divide in Egypt

In many ways, events are all about timing and place: when did they happen, and where? So when the Egypt Independent translated an Al-Masry Al-Youm news report saying that three bombs went off in Egypt outside a university on Wednesday and killed a police officer, the when and where take center stage. And it’s not good: The location is not far from the capital of Cairo and the timing occurred during an important visit to Egypt by American officials.

That makes it appear very intentional and far-reaching: terrorist forces were able to get into Egypt’s capital region and set off bombs while the US officials were in the next city over. The Egypt Independent-edited version of the Al-Masry Al-Youm report added one more wrinkle: “Who.” As in, the attacks were said to be by “resistance” forces in Egypt opposing the “occupation” police and military.

The voice making these claims belongs to a Muslim Brotherhood member, who said the attacks were “retaliation” for the authorities violence in the crackdown on opposition groups. The Brotherhood member did not claim his group undertook the bomb attacks, however.

The Brotherhood was ousted from power in Egypt last year in a military coup after millions protested the Brotherhood’s rule. The events have intensified a conflict between Egyptian security forces and Islamic terrorists.

But the timing of this attack, as noted above, makes it very interesting and raises questions about the potential for the Egyptian conflict to escalate to a genuine civil war or terror campaign like the one seen in Iraq.

American spokesperson Marie Harf, in comments released by the State Department, said that multiple US officials have been in Egypt this week “engaging at a very high level about how we can work with them going forward.”

“They’re meeting with senior Egyptian officials and business leaders to discuss ways to support Egypt, to encourage a sustainable and nonviolent transition to democracy, and explore ways to strengthen the Egyptian economy,” said Harf.

In other words, they’re talking about major issues in Egypt this week, and then a bomb goes off outside the same university where US President Barack Obama gave his speech in Egypt in 2009.

Reaching into the heart of Egypt’s political world, while Egypt is holding key talks with American officials—this attack sounds like a frightening revelation of just how troubling the violent conflict in Egypt really is… and what it could become.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, April 3, 2014)

What do you think?