Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Cairo’s terror


Egyptian police officers and firefighters gather at the Egyptian police headquarters after a blast in downtown Cairo last Friday.


Four bombs in Cairo last Friday that killed at least six people underscore Egypt’s long-term problems. The country tasted democracy during the Arab Spring, but now is ruled by the military after a coup d’etat.

The attacks occurred at a police headquarters, a subway station, a museum, and a movie theater. The first bombing directly targeted the security forces of the regime of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The other targets appeared chosen to strike fear in the civilian population and among tourists — an important part of Egypt’s economy.

Egyptians drove former President Hosni Mubarak from office in 2011, an early chapter in the Arab Spring. Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was chosen as president in democratic elections in 2012.

A year later, the Egyptian military, led by General el-Sissi, overthrew Mr. Morsi. It has since used arrests, suppression of demonstrations, and muzzling of news media to consolidate its power.

The culmination of the military’s takeover occurred this month with a referendum on a new constitution, which includes special measures that benefit the armed forces. The Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the election, and the voter turnout was a feeble 38.6 percent.

The new constitution was approved with a dubious majority of 98.1 percent. Rumors that General el-Sissi will run for president are widespread.

Friday’s bombings indicate the rough ride ahead for Egypt as it moves toward banana-republic government. The United States still pretends that what the military did last year was not a coup, so it can continue to provide cash to the Egyptian government to pay for military purchases from American suppliers. It is clear that this policy won’t work.

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