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from The Great Debate:

Everything is negotiable in Egypt

As Egypt’s military-led government appears to be solidifying its gains, and Cairo largely succumbs to its harsh measures, talk of civil war has, for now, abated. One big reason for this is because in Egypt everything is negotiable.

An old Egypt hand told me this in 2011, when I moved there to work at the American University in Cairo. I thought his advice referred to navigating turbulent academic waters. I soon realized, however, that it applied to the entire country. Throughout my two years in Egypt, this advice helped me make sense of the head-snapping events taking place in the political arena. It can also help predict a likely outcome of Egypt’s current situation.

When everything is negotiable, there can be no fixed prices, or fixed principles. Opportunities for deals abound. This includes political support, alliances, ideologies -- even constitutional articles. Mortal enemies one day are allies the next.

Instead of civil war, an “uncivil” war will likely ensue, a prolonged and fluid slow burn of unsavory power politics played out by the established elites -- the generals, judiciary, Mubarak-era politicians and an as-yet-unformed iteration of the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile the liberal groups, including Cairo’s intellectuals, will offer support and momentum for the right price. The line will likely never be crossed into civil war because the ultimate deal always beckons on the horizon.

from John Lloyd:

In Cairo, protesters challenge Mursi’s rule

CAIRO -- I’ve been in Egypt the past few days to witness the Egyptian people’s indignation at their president, Mohamed Mursi. But where best to watch? On Sunday I joined a march from a metro station in Cairo's Heliopolis district to the presidential palace. My fellow journalist Abdallah Hassan thought Tahrir Square would be jammed full early, and that the palace would be where the real action -- different from what preceded the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak two and a half years ago -- would be.

It proved to be, in part. The two or three thousand of us who had debouched from metros in the early afternoon heat swelled to many tens of thousands in the evening. Marchers came from every direction, packing into the wide boulevard before the palace complex. In all of Egypt's cities, the same scenes were repeated. It was one of the biggest, best coordinated protests of our times, much larger than those that swept out Mubarak. Reuters quoted a military source who estimated as many as 14 million turned out countrywide.

from Photographers' Blog:

Under attack in Tahrir Square

Cairo, Egypt

By Amr Abdallah Dalsh

I was on assignment on the Turkish-Syrian border when I was asked to come back home to help the Cairo team as the situation in Egypt developed with protests and clashes.

I arrived in Cairo early yesterday morning and planned to go to Tahrir square later in the day. When I reached the scene of the clashes near the square, which has witnessed a lot of clashes in the last few days, I found some members of the riot police coming close to reaching protesters. The police and the protesters normally do a tit for tat (cat and mouse) sort of thing. Police sirens blared. Usually the protesters run away quickly when they hear that sound. It was obvious that there were about five or six riot police to the left of the vehicle and they wanted to hit back at protesters with stones the protesters were hitting them with. Those few riot police entered a building near the protesters.

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