Conservative media outlets have claimed that President Obama is to blame for the outbreak of violence in Egypt. In fact, news reports and human rights groups have reported that the violence broke out when supporters of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak attacked demonstrators.
Right-Wing Media Claim Violence In Egypt Is Obama's Fault
Wash. Times Blames Obama's "Words" For Fact That "The Formerly Peaceful Protests In Egypt Turned Violent." In a February 2 editorial titled, "Egypt's blood on Obama's hands?" The Washington Times asserted that the "White House is fanning flames of Islamic revolution" and suggested the Obama administration is responsible for clashes among protesters in Egypt. From the editorial:
President Obama is signaling the Egyptian opposition that their time has come. In a terse statement last night, Mr. Obama announced a "moment of transformation" had arrived in Egypt, "the status quo is not sustainable" and a new government must begin to form "now." An administration official later reiterated, "the key part of the statement was 'now.' " Today the formerly peaceful protests in Egypt turned violent. It turns out that words do have consequences.
Egypt is at a crossroads, a time of suspense when change could come gradually and peacefully, or quickly with maximum instability. The White House has chosen to back the latter course, which will play into the hands of the best organized, most radical factions, which in this case is the America-hating Muslim Brotherhood.
Pushing for immediate regime change in Egypt is not in American or Egyptian interests. Cutting the legs out from an already tottering regime could easily lead to widespread violence. If so, some of Egypt's blood will be on Mr. Obama's hands. [Washington Times, 2/2/11]
Fox Nation: "White House Is Fanning Flames Of Islamic Revolution." Linking to the Washington Times editorial, Fox Nation posted a headline reading "White House Is Fanning Flames of Islamic Revolution: Editorial":
[Fox Nation, 2/3/11]
Rush Limbaugh: "Shouldn't Obama Be Held Accountable For His Inciteful Rhetoric?" From the February 2 edition of Limbaugh's radio show:
LIMBAUGH: Now, let's go back to last night and Egypt. Could it have been Obama's remarks that started all of the new violence in Cairo? He insisted that the transition start immediately and it looks like it started with a vengeance. And we have news reports Egypt's foreign ministry is blaming last night's remarks by Obama about how the transition must begin immediately for inciting today's violence. And this is what David Rodham Gergen is so worried about when he went home. So where's the outrage? Shouldn't Obama be held accountable for his inciteful rhetoric? Folks, I'm being dead serious. I can be watching a football game on a Saturday afternoon, bothering nobody, minding my own business. A congresswoman gets shot in Arizona and I hear that Sarah Palin and I are responsible for it 30 minutes later.
LIMBAUGH: Well here's Obama going on television demanding all these changes in Egypt, getting out in front of the mob. And the Egyptian foreign ministry is even suggesting that maybe Obama's speech last night had something to do with the outbreak of violence. Why don't we send Obama over to Egypt to be their president? And don't' tell me he can't run for president of Egypt because he wasn't born there. I don't want to hear that. Apparently he can be president anywhere he wants to be.
[Premiere Radio Network's The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/2/11]
News Reports And Human Rights Groups Say Mubarak's Supporters Launched Assault On Protesters
AP Article: New Egyptian Prime Minister "Apologized For An Attack By Government Supporters On Protesters." From an Associated Press article headlined "Egypt Army Moves to Stop Assault on Protestors":
Egypt's prime minister apologized for an attack by government supporters on protesters in a surprising show of contrition Thursday, and the government offered more concessions to try to calm the wave of demonstrations demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
Vice President Omar Suleiman promised that Mubarak's son, Gamal, will not seek to succeed his father in presidential elections in September, state TV said. The prospect that the president intends to hand power to his son has been opposed by many Egyptians.
Also, the prosecutor-general banned travel and froze the bank accounts for the former interior minister whose police led a bloody crackdown against the protesters last week and against two other former ministers who were among the unpopular millionaire businessmen wielding heavy influence in the previous government.
The steps came after the protesters who have camped out for days in central Tahrir Square fended off the assault launched Wednesday afternoon by regime supporters. The uncontrolled violence raged through the night, killing eight people as the two sides battled with rocks, sticks, bottles and firebombs and soldiers largely stood by without intervening.
The military finally took its first muscular action after a barrage of deadly automatic weapons fire against the protesters before dawn Thursday. Soldiers pushed back the pro-government attackers and took up positions between the two sides. Then Thursday afternoon, the soldiers largely stepped aside as the anti-government side surged ahead in the afternoon in resumed clashes.
The protesters accuse the regime of using paid thugs and policemen in civilian clothes in an attempt to crush their movement -- tactics used by the ruling party and security forces in the past against opponents. The Interior Ministry denied any of its police were involved.
Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq acknowledged that the attack "seemed to have been organized" and said elements had infiltratated what began as a demonstration against the protesters to turn it violent. But he said he did not know who, promising an investigation into who was behind it.
"I offer my apology for everything that happened yesterday because it's neither logical nor rational," Shafiq told state TV. "Everything that happened yesterday will be investigated so everyone knows who was behind it." [AP, 2/3/11]
Washington Post: Mubarak "Loyalists Fueled The Showdown [With Protestors] With A Charge By Men ... Wielding Whips And Clubs." From The Washington Post:
Wednesday's violence came after the army had urged pro-democracy demonstrators to go home, saying Mubarak's pledge the previous night to hand over power this fall showed that their voices had been heard. The coordinated nature of Wednesday's events suggested that his supporters were determined to show, as Mubarak had warned, that the country faced a "choice between chaos and stability."
Thousands of Mubarak supporters, encouraged by state television and spoiling for a fight, faced off against anti-government demonstrators starting at midday, while the army mostly stood by. Both sides then went at it with rocks, sticks and firebombs.
The president's loyalists fueled the showdown with a charge by men riding camels and horses and wielding whips and clubs. Hospitals reported that three people had been killed Wednesday and more than 600 injured. [Washington Post, 3/3/11]
Human Rights Watch Calls On Egypt To "Stop Attacks On Peaceful Protestors." From a Human Rights Watch press release headlined "Egypt: Stop Attacks on Peaceful Protestors":
The Egyptian government should stop what appear to be organized attacks on pro-democracy demonstrators, which resulted in three deaths and several hundred injuries, and hold all those responsible to account, Human Rights Watch said today. The Egyptian security forces failed to protect those peacefully assembling in Tahrir Square in Cairo on February 2, 2011, from pro-government provocateurs armed with petrol bombs, sticks, and whips. [Human Rights Watch, 2/3/11]
Amnesty International: Violence In Egypt "Appeared To Be Orchestrated In Part By The Authorities." From an Amnesty International press release headlined "Egyptian vice president must halt attacks on peaceful protestors":
Amnesty International has called on the Egyptian Vice President, Omar Suleiman, to stop the violence unleashed by pro-government supporters in Cairo and across the country amid fresh reports of a renewed crackdown on journalists and activists.
The Amnesty International fact-finding team in Egypt also reported yesterday that the violence then appeared to be orchestrated in part by the authorities to suppress continuing mass protests calling for political reform. [Amnesty International, 2/3/11]