Coptic churches burn as Obama vacations.


 "Incensed by the bloody crackdown that has claimed more than 500 lives, Morsi loyalists orchestrated nationwide assaults on Christian targets Wednesday, wreaking havoc on churches, homes, and Christian-owned businesses throughout the country.
Coptic rights group the Maspero Youth Union (MYU) estimated that as many as 36 churches were "completely" devastated by fire across nine Egyptian governorates, including Minya, Sohag and Assiut — home to large Coptic communities.
The group, alongside media reports, said that many other churches were looted or stormed in ensuing street violence Wednesday.
Egypt's interior ministry told reporters in Cairo Wednesday that at least seven churches had been vandalised or torched by suspected Islamists"  Ahram on line


On the tube yesterday an MB man told an interviewer that "no matter what happens Egypt will remain Islamic."  IMO most Americns will not understand what he was saying.  Egypt is about 90% Muslim, so the possibility that Egypt would not be a majority Muslim country in the future is rather unlikely.  So, what was he saying?  IMO he meant that the Mursi/MB government had effectively seized power at the bsllot box and was embarked on creating a Sharia law state that would ensure that secular influences would be largely eliminated from Egyptin life.  This would be for all Egyptians not just those Muslims who want to live by salafist rules.  The interviewee was saying that he and his fellows will not allow the cancellation of that prospect.

The Coptic minority has always been a prime target for the MB and other salafists.  In this case the Copts serve nicely for the fanatics as surrogates for all the non-Salafists who are thought to be a threat to the "purification" of Egypt.  pl

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60 Responses to Coptic churches burn as Obama vacations.

  1. confusedponderer says:

    Just a thought: Assad could invite Egypt’s Kopts to Syria and guarantee them full citizen rights and freedom of religion (hardly unprecedented).
    They would have still have to deal with Salafists, but at least they’d have the government on their side. My impression is that the Egyptian government is somewhat passive in that regard.
    That said, what happened to Christian cvommunities iin the Middle East in the aftermath of the idiocies Bush kicked off in the region is beyond the pale. Civilisations that lived in the region for two milennia in the region are being uprooted in the resulting turmoil. Disgusting.
    I’d wish Obama woukld surprise me and make the plight of Middle Eastern Christians an issue.

  2. Charles ! says:

    God help them.

  3. F5F5F5 says:

    The Jews have been driven out of Egypt after the six day war, and the next best scapegoat are the Copts.
    Now let us not confuse violence with strength.
    The salafs/MB are violent, but are they strong?
    They sure can torch churches, they can raise angry mobs, they can blow up things and people, they can shoot AKs and possibly RPGs. But are they strong enough to take over?
    The army only showed its teeth. These 500 are but a slap on the wrist. They can hunt, arrest, and kill their way into civil peace. And it will be all the easier as their quarry is out in the open.

  4. Will Reks says:

    Pat, the title of this post implies, if I’m not mistaken, that Obama can do something about Coptic churches burning. If not then I’m not sure about the meaning of the title.
    Churches burned while Morsi was in power and they are burning now that he is not. The military and security forces bears responsibility for protecting these places, no?
    Syria is a worse situation where we have been actively arming a movement that has oppressed and murdered Christians and other minorities.

  5. turcopolier says:

    will reks
    I do not believe that Obama can do anything about burning Coptic churches, but his policy and bloviation with regard to Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, Russia, etc. has shown that he thinks that he can dictate the behavior of foreigners. I am mocking him. pl

  6. JLCampos says:

    The necrosis of a big toe is manifestation of a disease in the pancreas. The necrosis of Egypt is a manifestation of an illness in the civilization that arose after 1789. It has given rights , that justify vices, and has forgotten to create a list of the Obligations of Man. Morality has been degraded to the level of the arbitrary will. The system of extensive colonialism and exploitation is coming to an end, an end in which I might also be a victim..
    The troubles in the Levant are symptoms. The Muslims aren’t angels, the Jews neither and ourselves? well, let each one do an examination of conscience.

  7. twv says:

    Be careful mocking the boy king.
    Look at what happened in Missouri.
    ANY criticism, mocking, etc. is RACIST.

  8. turcopolier says:

    JL Campos
    I certainly will accept the condemnation of the civilization that arose after 1789 and largely attribute that to the long term damage dome by the influence of JJ Rousseau, but Egypt was a better place when it was more affected by 19th Century European culture. pl

  9. Walrus says:

    If the canal is affected, things will get interesting. I presume the Army has ironclad control of that asset?

  10. JohnH says:

    I don’t recall American leaders caring much about Christians in Palestine or Syria, either…

  11. VietnamVet says:

    Indeed, the President can’t do anything about the religious strife ongoing in the Middle East due to the causes of the current conflicts.
    The drone wars and continuing Palestine settlement testify that Islam is under attack. Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somali governments were overthrown by Christians. This alone would be enough send a true believer on a Jihad.
    Egypt and all of the Middle East are overpopulated and cannot feed themselves. The recent rise in the price of food incited riots and attacks on scapegoats.
    Saudi Arabia and Qatar are spending billions helping Sunni Jihadists overthrow the Assad regime in Syria. They are building a cadre of experienced Jihadists from Mali to Chechnya.
    The “greed is good” neo-liberal ideology has conquered the world including Turkey. Christian and Islamic fundamentalists are the only adversaries willing to destroy the current corrupt system to bring back the rule of God. Secular Westerners are left to watch the circuses.
    There is no chance that attacks on Coptic Christians will end. The Oligarchs would have to start caring about other humans not the billions in cash they are raking in.
    Our rulers would have to end the Crusades, feed the world, create jobs, secure the borders, and apply the rule of law to everyone.

  12. turcopolier says:

    I am equally shunned by both sides. pl

  13. Matthew says:

    JohnH: Including Evagelicals. They walk right past Palestinian Christian villages and then side with the Zionists. “Christiandom” died a long time ago.

  14. The Twisted Genius says:

    I bet this gets more press in Russia than in the U.S. Looks like this crackdown will be far bloodier than China’s Tiananmen Square. Probably a lot closer to the Algerian Civil War. I first thought this might draw some of the professional itinerant jihadis away from Syria, but with the Saudis strongly backing the Egyptian Army, I now doubt that.

  15. MartinJ says:

    Col. You raise an important point: the psychological dimension to the fight. How can the Egyptian military defeat the Brotherhood enough to seriously wound them? Will the event of the past few days plus the rounds ups that will follow and trials be enough? I believe there must be more steps taken and they should include humiliation if the military is to comprehensively win. Perhaps something embarrassing about Mursi’s private life or his meetings with Israelis leaked should be expected?

  16. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I would settle for doing no harm.

  17. turcopolier says:

    I was told today by a prominent Egyptian journalist that Sisi is wildly popular with the populous and that there is nothing like a majority in favor of the mb. Killing in a good cause is acceptable in Egypt. pl

  18. turcopolier says:

    Matthew American Christian Zionists have abandoned any loyalty to heir co-religionists. pl

  19. kao_hsien-chih says:

    This is something that I always find amazing: how many among the American Evangelicals (not their leaders) even know that a sizable minority of Arabs are Christians and that they are among the most endangered people in the Middle East, largely because of the policy that they support?

  20. steve says:

    Respectfully, if the preferred outcome for the US was the continuation of Mubarak as head of state, what could the US have done to achieve that outcome?

  21. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    In my opinion the American Christian Zionist have the “End of Times ” syndrome so deeply embedded in their psyche that they all live in their very own time & place . We have one such family in close proximity and nothing penetrates that End of Times world view.

  22. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    JLC, your comment brings to mind the exchange that allegedly took place between Henry Kissinger and Zhou Enlai over dinner during K’s secret trip to China that began the USA’s rapprochement with that country. Kissinger asked, “What do you think of the French Revolution?” To which Zhou replied after a thoughtful silence, ” It’s too early to tell.”

  23. turcopolier says:

    There were numerous options for a constitutional transition to a different Egyptian administration once Mubarak agreed to resign. The simplest was for Omar Suleiman, the vice president brought in for the task, to be supported in arranging new elections under the existing constitution. This would have provided a lawful transition under a legal caretaker government to a new administration. we did not support that process. Instead we supported the mobs in the streets, the same mobs that are now fighting on both sides of this dispute. don’t think for a minute that it is the army and police on one side and the Egyptian people on the other. Many, many Egyptians support Sisi. Most of the political parties support Sisi. Two years ago instead of supporting a legal and constitutional transition we flirted with the “liberal” Islamists like the MB and encouragds immature young people in the street to howl for Mubarak’s blood. As a result the military seized power without constitutional sanction of law and statred a process that resulted in an electoral coup by the MB in elections that were without the sanction of a constitutional structure. We, in our ignorance and naivete were largely responsible for all of that. pl

  24. F5F5F5 says:

    Do you think Sisi will be a new Sadat/Boumedienne/Ben Ali?
    In history, when safety and order are number one concern the conditions are perfect for a tyrant to take over.

  25. turcopolier says:

    A willingness to practice compromise as political method is largely absent from the Arab World as is the concept of the loyal opposition. As a general cultural feature, Arabs operate on the basis of a view of all life as a zero sum game. The reasons why this is true are too complex to discuss here. Such a setup inevitably leads to authoritarian government, sometime dolled up as representative democracy. In this paradigm IMO there will inevitably be another strongman in Egypt. He may be from the military or he could be a shariah law type like Mursi. BTW, the political culture of the USA seems to be degenerating toward something similar to that of the Arab World. pl

  26. steve says:

    Thank you, Colonel.

  27. Charles ! says:

    I think there’s been cooperative Egyptiian Israeli anti jihadi activity in the Sinai too. An Israeli drone struck the Sinai this week.
    “Sinai ‘drone strike’ highlights Israel-Egypt operations”

  28. Charles ! says:

    I heard a snippet on CBC radio that he has planned for this all his life, calling himself “General” as a child.

  29. MS2 says:

    Viewing the world as a zero sum game is appropriate to economic-minded people when the economy is dominated by extractive wealth, entrenched capital, or competition for government favors. It is also appropriate to those ideological people who believe they possess a perfected scheme, religious or political. By this scheme, the middle east has four strikes against it, while the US has been at least debatable on these points, with the trend going the wrong way on each one as you say.
    (PS not for posting: if the above is too grad-seminarish, fair enough, don’t post it, I respect that the main value of your site is Middle-East specific knowledge.)

  30. FB Ali says:

    I doubt if the Saudis have any control over the real jihadis. The Saudis can facilitate their operations by funding and arming them when they are fighting against targets that suit the Saudis, ie, Assad’s Syria. But I don’t think they can call them off if they turn against Egypt.
    In my opinion, the jihadis will first concentrate on Syria, a much more accessible and achievable target. Only after they win there or are successfully checkmated will they turn towards Egypt.
    BTW, I would not consider al Ahram a reliable guide to what is happening in Egypt. I think these were random attacks by MB thugs on soft targets, and not a policy of the organization.

  31. JohnH says:

    There’s a long history. Crusaders couldn’t distinguish between Muslims and Christians, either. It doesn’t seem like we’ve evolved very much, despite our great universities…

  32. Bill H says:

    Again, Colonel, you make my day with another of your compact, cut through the smoke and mirrors summaries of a situation. What a politician manages to obscure in several thousand words, you clearly reveal on a couple of dozen. And you do it without using PowerPoint.

  33. Bill H says:

    As I was reading this, before I got to the last sentence, I was thinking that I would need to respond. My response would have been your last sentence.

  34. turcopolier says:

    The thing about the crusaders is a lot of crap. Inter-marriage between local Christians and the immigrant crusaders was a commonplace. pl

  35. turcopolier says:

    FB Ali
    “I think these were random attacks by MB thugs on soft targets, and not a policy of the organization.” Wishful thinking? pl

  36. turcopolier says:

    Yes, this is grad-school bilge, received wisdom derived from too many lectures from marxist professors. I find it amusing that social science types like you usually seek to denigrate an opponent’s general knowledge and opinions when they lose an argument on specifics. pl

  37. turcopolier says:

    Charles !
    Sisi called himself “general” as a child? You think that is unusual for people who become generals? pl

  38. turcopolier says:

    Charles I
    People don’t seem to understand that Israel likes what has happened in Egypt. pl

  39. Tigershark says:

    But might not Egypt ended up in the exact same position, even if constitutional procedures been followed and Suleiman named President? He clearly was in ill health and would not have been President long. If he did not appoint a Vice President what would have been the constitutional procedure? An election? MB victory?

  40. turcopolier says:

    Yes. Things MIGHT have gone the same way. Next question? pl

  41. JohnH says:

    I beg to differ. The Fourth Crusade, when Crusaders sacked and looted Christian Constantinople, was infamous. And during the First Crusade, Crusaders massacred most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Christian, Muslim and Jews alike.
    Granted that Frankish settlers inter-married and formed alliances with Muslim emirates. But waves of invaders were notorious for taking no prisoners.

  42. turcopolier says:

    The Fourth Crusade was diverted by Venetian state scheming to Constantinople because of a Venetian desire to eliminate this military and commercial rival in the eastern Med. It can hardly be called a crusade. the Christian population of Jerusalem was expelled by the Egyptian garrison of the city before the arrival of the army of the First Crusade. The Fatimid authorities knew of the approach of the crusade for a year before it arrived. The Christians went to what is now Jordan and returned after Muslim and Jewish blood stopped flowing. BTW, the Jews of Jerusalem played an active role in the defense of the city against the crusaders. “Waves of Invaders?” It sounds like you have a dog in this fight. What you say is true of later crusades. This was a continuous problem for the Christian governments of the Latin states and the Byzantines. pl

  43. MS2 says:

    As a matter of fact I am an engineer with no post-high-school background in social science beyond a class on linguistics, I have not denigrated anyone’s knowledge, and I don’t know what argument you refer to. If I had Marxist professors, they had few opportunities for indoctrination via equations. The intent of the postscript was to say I would not take it personally if you did not want to publish my comment because it was devoid of specifics. Regardless of the personal stuff, I remain interested in your zero sum comment.

  44. turcopolier says:

    Feel free to be offended. IMO the general proclivity to zero sum game attitudes has deep roots in the low and sporadic amounts of rainfall in the region. Amounts of rain wax and wane on an unpredictable basis. This creates a mentality in which dependable bits of well watered land are fought over literally and figuratively. this can be seen clearly in the
    levant, especially in lebanon which was settled over millennia by “refugees” from deep within the poorly watered Arabian heartland. the Lebanese are the most zero sum people of all. pl

  45. Tigershark says:

    Next question, since you asked.
    What is keeping the “hired help” in the smaller Gulf states, or even Saudi Arabia, from overthrowing the powers that be? Plenty of examples in history of that happening, or attempts at that sort of take over. Praetorian Guard, Jannisaries, William Walker, etc.
    Qatar has a population of 1.9 million, just 250,000 citizens, many of whom are apparently very rich and overweight.
    Are they paying the help and security services that much that peace can be kept? And for how long?

  46. FB Ali says:

    Col Lang,
    I don’t think the MB, engaged in a desperate struggle with the regime, would adopt a policy that it knows will alienate public opinion in the West.
    On the other hand, the regime, and its obedient media, would like to see such alienation since Western reaction and pressure is (at least) inconveniencing them. They have every reason to spread such a story as being a deliberate MB policy in operation.

  47. turcopolier says:

    Incentives and disincentives variously applied to different groups, South Asians and other Arabs get more disincentives and no citizenship. Europeans and Americans get more incentives. I never sank so low as to work for Saudis. pl

  48. turcopolier says:

    FB Ali
    Sorry to to disagree, but I do. you are making an unsupported assertion. Occam’s Razor would indicate that the people who are saying that the Coptic Church caused the downfall of the MB are most likely to be the culprits. pl

  49. Fred says:

    ” Frankish settlers inter-married and formed alliances with Muslim emirates.”
    That appears to be the case with one of my distant relatives from 900 or so years ago, if the genealogical research is accurate.

  50. turcopolier says:

    Many. many people in Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and Syria are descended from such unions. Some have remained Christians, others not. There is a family of Lebanese Muslims named “Salibi” (Crusader. ) At the same time I know a family of Bethlehem Christians whose records indicate that they are descended from Genoese burghers of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and local Christian women. There was a large settlement project sponsored by the Canons of the Holy Sepulcher (of which I am honored to be a protector). There were many villages of mixed ancestry in existence when Saladin cut short the project. The truth of this directly contradicts the older scholarship that believed the crusaders to be people isolated in cities and ruling over a peasant muslim population. In fact the rural population was mixed. pl

  51. Tigershark says:

    Then I suspect that one of these days, the “hired help” will attempt a “hostile takeover” of the country/company.
    Will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  52. turcopolier says:

    I have been waiting for that for 40 years. pl

  53. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No it won’t happen; the historical cases among Arab ruling houses always involved non-Arab (Turkic) mercenary soldiers.
    Saudis have kept the mercenaries outside of the Kingdom, it seems to me.

  54. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Only industrialized economies seem to be able to alter that mold over several generations.

  55. turcopolier says:

    I agree. The whole Saudi security structure is built to protect the status quo. The Narional Guard is a Bedouin force built from the Wahhabi Ikhwan tribes of the 1920s. It s sole purpose is regime protection. they have had Pakistani mercenaries from time to time as have the Qataris but I think these are gone now. pl

  56. Charles I says:

    Dunno, never came across one, so in my limited experience it is unusual, and for some news copywriter, remarkable.

  57. Charles I says:

    People don’t seem to understand much until prodded by an intellectual force of argument or circumstances that no lucid ego can deny without toxic levels of Soma. Sir.
    What’s not to like? You don’t even have to worry about Hamas, just squeeze and de-legitimate and shoot at them from both sides, offer the Gazans a choice in 9 months – submission to regime change or permanent ghettohood, only shame is that the positions are not reversed, Fatah ruling worthless Gaza and Hamas precluding any peace process in the Occupied Territories.
    Of course one would have to be nuts to believe such a state of affairs propitious.

  58. turcopolier says:

    Charles I
    “People don’t seem to understand much until…” Incomprehensible – to me. pl

  59. Stephanie says:

    “Churches burned while Morsi was in power and they are burning now that he is not. The military and security forces bears responsibility for protecting these places, no?”
    They do. A Christian activist noted to the AP that they don’t seem to be trying very hard, though.

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