Egypt is in serious crisis as the military is stepping in the religious and social tension. The big issue remains on selecting two options: An Islamic or a secular Egypt and we also have the Suez Canal Factor:
Egyptians are awaiting a televised army statement after a 48-hour deadline it set for a resolution to the country’s crisis passed. President Mohammed Morsi has already rejected the army‘s ultimatum to “meet the demands of the people” or face military intervention. He says he is Egypt’s legitimate leader and will not be forced to resign. The army entered the state TV building ahead of the deadline, which was at about 16:30 local time (14:30 GMT). Clashes broke out at rival protests across the country overnight, with at least 16 people killed at Cairo University. Mr Morsi’s opponents say he and the Muslim Brotherhood party from which he comes are pushing an Islamist agenda onto Egypt, and that he should stand down. The Brotherhood has said the army’s action amounts to a coup. In a defiant televised speech on Tuesday evening, Mr Morsi said he would give his life to defend constitutional legitimacy, and blamed the unrest on corruption and remnants of the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Egyptian troops were securing the central Cairo studios of state television on Wednesday, the head of state television and radio said. Shoukry Abu Amira said in remarks carried by state newspaper Al-Ahram that Republican Guards had been securing and protecting the building for the past several days. As a deadline approaches when the army high command is expected to step in and reorder Egypt’s political institutions, security sources said staff not involved in working on live broadcasts had left the building. Amira denied reports that the studios had been evacuated. Security sources have said that armored vehicles are patrolling the streets outside the building.
On the other hand, the Suez Canal is becoming the big issue for the international community:
The Suez Canal waterway is completely secure and the rate of ships passing through is normal, the head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Memish said in a statement on Wednesday.
Growing turmoil in Egypt is threatening to disrupt shipments through the Suez Canal and increase the costs for shipping lines as Cairo’s cash-strapped government seeks ways of bringing in revenue, reports Arab News citing a Reuters report. The Suez Canal Authority has said it may offer discounts or rebates to increase traffic through the canal, but a security source considered it unlikely they will be able to act on it given the growing political and bureaucratic chaos internally. Cities around Suez have already been flashpoints for violence this year, causing minor stoppages through the canal. Shipping sources say some vessels calling at Port Said also have experienced robberies in recent months.
The Suez Canal (Arabic: قناة السويس Qanāt al-Sūwais) is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows transportation by water between Europe and Asia without navigation around Africa. The northern terminus is Port Said and the southern terminus is Port Tawfiq at the city of Suez. Ismailia lies on its west bank, 3 km (1.9 mi) from the half-way point. When first built, the canal was 164 km (102 mi) long and 8 m (26 ft) deep. After multiple enlargements, the canal is 193.30 km (120.11 mi) long, 24 m (79 ft) deep and 205 metres (673 ft) wide as of 2010. It consists of the northern access channel of 22 km (14 mi), the canal itself of 162.25 km (100.82 mi) and the southern access channel of 9 km (5.6 mi). The canal is single lane with passing places in the “Ballah By-Pass” and the Great Bitter Lake. It contains no locks; seawater flows freely through the canal. In general, the canal north of the Bitter Lakes flows north in winter and south in summer. The current south of the lakes changes with the tide at Suez. The canal is owned and maintained by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) of Egypt. Under international treaty, it may be used “in time of war as in time of peace, by every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag.”
Finally, it is becoming clear that the Suez Canal is the geopolitical factor which internationalizes the current crisis situation in Egypt. It is directly affecting global trade sea transportation costs and oil prices. It is also clear that due to the global economic crisis and the tragic financial realities in the Euro Zone, global economy cannot “absorb” possible implications of the Egypt crisis in the Suez Canal.