Saturday, February 04, 2012

An Egyptian Theme?

In the aftermath of the deadly Egyptian soccer riot in Port Said, many have accused the police of intentionally letting the violence escalate without intervening. The video above shows police in riot control gear standing idly while thousands of fans from the victorious home team Al-Masry stormed the field and attacked fans from the popular Cairo-based Al-Ahly. This is not the first case of its kind. In an African Champions League match in which an Egyptian club hosted a Tunisian club, fans stormed the field while police were offered little crowd control.

Some theorize the the police inaction is aimed at further destabilizing the fragile country. Perhaps the police are reluctant to engage in with soccer protestors, who have shown a history of organizing anti-police demonstrations. I cannot help but think of the military ineffectiveness that we read about in Arabs at War. Egyptian forces often failed miserably to adjust to changing circumstances on the battlefield. Although one would think riot police would be trained for controlling riots, perhaps the harrowing sight of thousands of fans pouring from the seats paralyzed the riot cops in the same way that clever Israeli counter attacks discombobulated the Egyptian army.

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