As Egypt lurches into civil strife, local militias raise their heads

Anti-government rioting sweeps Egypt

Anti-government rioting sweeps Egypt

After weeks of mounting anti-government turmoil across Egypt, army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi finally spoke up Sunday, June 23, to warn that the Egyptian army would “not watch the country descend into uncontrollable conflict” ahead of the planned June 30 mass opposition rallies” or allow “an attack on the will of the people.”

Meanwhile, Egypt lurches day by day closer to what US and Israeli intelligence diagnose as “low intensity civil war.” In outlying towns, law and order is breaking down as armed gangs attack governors and burn emblems of government, while the ruling Muslim Brotherhood deploys armed men strike back at government opponents. The police are not intervening in the disorder – any more than the army has to date.

DEBKAfile‘s military sources note that Defense Minister al-Sissi avoided defining which side the generals regarded as representing the “will of the people” – President Mohamed Morsi who pushed them off the national stage, or the myriad opposition groups sworn to overthrow him on the first anniversary of his rise to power. They aim to replace him with a high presidential council headed by a Supreme Court judge. A number of opposition groups say they have collected 15 million signatures in support of their demand.

If they succeed in their high-stake bid, Egypt would undergo its third revolution in three years. The first in 2011 ousted President Hosni Mubarak, whose successor, the Supreme Military Council, was itself unseated in 2012 by the Muslim Brotherhood.

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