At least 149 Egyptians are dead after a crackdown Wednesday by security forces against supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, leaving hundreds more wounded.
Military security forces opened fire on the encamped protesters in Cairo, with violence spreading beyond the capital and into other cities, according to Reuters.
The Obama administration condemned the violence Wednesday afternoon. "Today's events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion, and genuine democracy," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement to reporters.
The administration's handling of the turmoil in Egypt has drawn intense scrutiny in the six weeks since Morsi was removed from office, particularly the refusal of officials to say whether or not Morsi's removal constituted a coup. In an editorial Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Post sharply criticized the administration:
Before the July 3 coup in Egypt, the Obama administration privately warned the armed forces against ousting the government of Mohamed Morsi, pointing to U.S. legislation that requires the cutoff of aid to any country where the army plays a "decisive role" in removing an elected government. Yet when the generals ignored the American warnings, the White House responded by electing to disregard the law itself. After a prolonged and embarrassing delay, the State Department announced that it had chosen not to determine whether a coup had taken place, and Secretary of State John F. Kerry declared that Egypt’s military was "restoring democracy."
Because of those decisions, the Obama administration is complicit in the new and horrifyingly bloody crackdown launched Wednesday by the de facto regime against tens of thousands of protesters who had camped in two Cairo squares. More than 150 people were reported killed, including many women and children. Chaos erupted around Egypt as angry mobs stormed Christian churches, which went largely unprotected by security forces. The military imposed a state of emergency, essentially returning Egypt to the autocratic status quo that existed before the 2011 revolution.
The U.S. should threaten immediate suspension of aid.
The violence and subsequent resignation of a top Egyptian official is "making the regime in Cairo look increasingly not like a transitional military regime but a permanent military regime," Commentary's Max Boot wrote Wednesday.