We have followed events in Egypt with little enthusiasm, as the “Arab Spring” there appears to be dominated not by pro-Western liberals, but by Islamic radicals who see the opportunity, finally, to overthrow the secular regime they have battled for decades. The one possible force for stability has been the military, which threw Mubarak under the bus (with the encouragement of the Obama administration) while retaining control, at least for the time being.
But Egypt’s security forces have acquitted themselves poorly, and over the last few days events have spun out of control. Protesters have wreaked havoc in Cairo:
The inevitable result was a crackdown by the security forces–which, unfortunately, are not only brutal but undisciplined. The result was a disaster that is only now beginning to reverberate. Worst were the soldiers’ attacks on women, some of which were captured on video. The Daily Mail offered this lurid description of what happened to one woman:
After being viciously beaten by a 10-strong mob of Egyptian male soldiers, this woman lies helplessly on the ground as her shirt is ripped from her body and a man kicks her with full force in her exposed chest.
Moments earlier she had been struck countless times in the head and body with metal batons, not content with the brutal beating delivered by his fellow soldier, one man stamped on her head repeatedly.
She feebly tried to shield her head from the relentless blows with her hands.
Unfortunately, that description is accurate. Here is the video that shows the “blue bra” woman, as she has become known, and others being beaten with metal rods, kicked and stomped on:
This photo of the same incident is now being widely circulated in Egypt:
The protesters are said to be widely disliked by Egyptians, so the inevitable outrage over the military’s excesses will, in all likelihood, redound to the benefit of the radical Islamic parties. Should they come to power, Egyptians will find that they are no less brutal, if perhaps more disciplined, than the military who now administer the country.