Notice those rising gas prices? I told you they were coming. And one of the main points of tension in the Middle East isn’t getting better. More than 260 people were injured and seven killed earlier this week in Egypt, as police clashed with Islamic supporters of the previous government, which the military recently deposed.
A new Egyptian government has been sworn in, but Ahram Online reports there are no Islamists in the transition regime, and the most powerful of the Islamic groups refused to take part. The Muslim Brotherhood’s refusal to be involved means finding a clean, political solution to this mess won’t be easy. That’s not good for Egypt or us.
Former-President Mohammed Morsi, who was removed from power by the army after massive protests called for him to step down, was a high-ranking member of the Brotherhood. While millions called for Morsi to leave office just one year after being elected, his supporters have launched their own protests in response to his removal.
The crisis has not only caught the attention of governments in Europe and the United States, but officials from both are visiting Egypt this week. US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns just finished his trip, after meeting with a wide range of Egypt’s political players. His only contact with Islamists, according to a press release from the US State Department, was a phone call with the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Wednesday, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was set to begin her Egypt tour. In a statement from her office, Ashton said she is going to “reinforce our message that there must be a fully inclusive political process, taking in all groups which support democracy. I will underline that Egypt needs to return as rapidly as possible to its democratic transition.” The US has made similar calls.
In all, it shows the West is taking a serious view of the situation, and they should. Egypt controls the Suez Canal, a vital gateway for ships carrying oil from the Middle East. The tensions in Egypt have contributed to a surge in oil prices—which you’re now feeling at the pump.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that oil prices finally dropped after their spike. But with the violence in Egypt continuing and the Islamists not wanting to be a part of the new government, will things really improve?
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 17, 2013)