Egypt’s state of emergency recalls Mubarak era
Islamists storm building in Cairo, Iraq security slips, and war shrine visit enrages Japan’s neighbors. Today is Thursday, August 15, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @clarerrrr.
Riot police and army personnel take their positions during clashes with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi around the area of Rabaa Adawiya square, where they are camping, in Cairo, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
Egypt emergency. Clashes in Egypt between security forces and pro-Mursi supporters escalated into violence across the country that killed hundreds yesterday:
Islamist supporters of former President Mohamed Mursi, ousted by the army on July 3, clashed with police and troops who used bulldozers, teargas and live ammunition to clear two Cairo sit-ins that had become a hub of resistance to the military. The clashes spread quickly, and a health ministry official said on Thursday that more than 500 people were killed and more than 3,500 injured in fighting in Cairo, Alexandria and numerous towns and cities around the mostly Muslim nation of 84 million.
The government crackdown and forcible clearing of Islamist camps raised the specter of life under former dictator Hosni Mubarak’s rule, as well as comparisons to Tienanmen Square. A photo of a veiled woman standing defiantly in front of a bulldozer recalled the famous “Tank Man” photo from the Chinese military’s deadly crackdown on protesters in 1989. The return to a state of emergency also harkens back to the Mubarak era, when the military enjoyed sweeping powers:
Egypt’s interior minister pledged on Wednesday to restore the kind of security seen in the days of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, a sign of renewed confidence permeating a police force whose reputation for brutality fueled the 2011 uprising.
Violence abetted overnight after the government imposed a curfew in several provinces and major cities, but the Muslim Brotherhood’s call for followers to march in Cairo signaled the potential for further violence. For updated throughout the day, follow the Reuters liveblog.
The mess left behind. Car bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital killed at least 33 people and wounded over 100 on Thursday, contributing to the highest monthly death toll since 2008.
Militant groups, including al Qaeda, have increased attacks in recent months in an insurgency against Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government, raising fears of a return to full-blown sectarian conflict after U.S. troops withdrew 18 months ago. Iraqi police sources said one bomb exploded just 200-300 meters (yards) outside Baghdad’s international zone, close to Iraq’s Foreign Ministry, killing four and wounding 12 people.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry referred to the conflict as “open war,” but later walked back their assessment to say the country would not become another Syria.
A group of lawmakers including Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker Hidehisa Otsuji (front 3rd L) and Japan Restoration Party member Takeo Hiranuma (2nd R) are led by a Shinto priest as they visit the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, August 15, 2013, on the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War Two. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Enshrined in controversy. Japan’s Prime Minister Abe played his hand in the back-and-forth politics of whether to visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine by sending an offering instead. However, a visit by Japanese ministers enraged China and South Korea anyway.
Japan’s prime minister sent an offering to a shrine for war dead on Thursday, the anniversary of Japan’s World War Two defeat, while cabinet members visited it in person, drawing harsh complaints from China and South Korea, and putting at risk tentative steps to improve ties [...] Visits to the shrine by top politicians outrage China and South Korea because the shrine honors 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, along with war dead.
China and South Korea see official visits to the shrine as unapologetic and blind to Japan’s past militarism, while Japanese conservatives posit that honoring the dead is natural and not meant to glorify the war. More information about the shrine is available here.
Nota Bene: On the first anniversary of the South Africa mine “massacre,” worker poverty and pay disputes still plague the industry.
Catastrophe of choice - The decisions that led Egypt to this week’s clashes. (New Yorker)
Doggonit - A Chinese zoo’s “African lion” is exposed when the substitute dog starts barking. (AFP)
Caught in the middle - A reporter describes an attack by the Egyptian military. (Washington Post)
Gold for goofing off - A study finds troubled teens make more successful entrepreneurs. (WSJ)
Spy kid - Did the U.S. use an 8-year-old to target an alleged al Qaeda operative? (The Atlantic)
From the File: