RIA Novosti: Russian Pundits Warn Of Disintegration Of Egypt, Civil War

Map of Egypt and Environs`

(Moscow, August 19, 2013) Egypt is facing the threat of a civil war breaking out and only the Egyptian Army could prevent this from happening, experts think. The disintegration of the country is also likely, experts interviewed by RIA Novosti suggested. (Passage omitted: events of past week)

Commenting on the current situation, a doctor of philosophy and a specialist on Islam, Aleksandr Ignatenko, noted that the probability of a civil war could be estimated at 30-40 per cent. “The possibility of a civil war exists. What is more, a civil war in some of its forms is already under way on the territory of Egypt, it is a different matter that the scale of this war is not yet big enough to decisively affect the future of the Egyptian state,” Ignatenko noted.

In his view, if the civil war reaches a large scale and takes the forms seen in Syria, for example, then “Egypt would definitely disintegrate and there would be a drawn-out civil war, combined with ethnic cleansing, genocide and so on”.

Ignatenko’s position was echoed by an adviser to the deputy speaker of the Federation Council, Andrey Baklanov. He thinks that “the disintegration of the country is probable”. According to him, in Alexandria and Cairo in the north, where it is predominantly thought that governance under the Islamist slogans is ineffective, the squeezing out of Islamist elements to the southern parts of the country could begin. “The military are behaving very dramatically and are prepared to go for extreme measures, they fear the country splitting up, which would involve the flow of population from the north to the south and from the south to the north,” he said.

Both experts see the role of the Egyptian Army as positive. “One could say that the Egyptian Army is the saviour of the fatherland” Aleksandr Ignatenko thinks. “What the Egyptian Army has done is the prevention of a large-scale civil war, to which Egypt was led by the Muslim Brotherhood with the policy conducted by the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’s president’ Muhammad Morsi after he took up the post,” the expert said.

Baklanov thinks that at present the Egyptian Army could play a very important historic role. “The military are facing a very difficult task. In the past months and weeks the country has been sliding towards a civil war. It faces the task to overcoming this trend even by not shying away from using force and extreme measures in particular. The previous periods of the development of crises in Egypt in the 20th century show that there have been situations of this kind and that it were the military who turned out to be the politicians who during certain periods were the only ones who could come out with viable slogans,” he said.