Is Egypt Coming Unglued?

Egyptian Violence

That’s the question that’s in the back of everyone’s mind. 

What started as a secular uprising in the streets of Cairo (and other Egyptian cities) and quickly resulted in the overthrow of the Mubarak regime, is now showing signs of spinning out of control.

Churches are being burned to the groundSectarian violence has become an everyday occurrence.  Crime is so bad that even the police are frightened. 

The New York Times, whose coverage of the uprising and its aftermath in Egypt has been uniformly superb, has a typically chilling report today:

Three months after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, a surging crime wave in post-revolutionary Egypt has emerged as a serious threat to its promised transition to democracy. Businessmen, politicians and human rights activists say they fear that the mounting disorder — from sectarian strife to soccer riots — is hampering a desperately needed economic recovery or, worse, inviting a new authoritarian crackdown.

At least five attempted jailbreaks have been reported in Cairo in the past two weeks, at least three of them successful. Other similar attempts take place “every day,” a senior Interior Ministry official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk publicly.

And newspapers brim with other lurid episodes: the Muslim-Christian riot that raged last weekend with the police on the scene, leaving 12 dead and two churches in flames; a kidnapping for ransom of a grandniece of President Anwar el-Sadat; soccer fans who crashed a field and mauled an opposing team as the police disappeared; a mob attack in an upscale suburb, Maadi, that sent a traffic police officer to the hospital; and the abduction of another officer by Bedouin tribes in the Sinai.

Read the whole thing.