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Markets Uncertain as Egypt Violence Waxes and Wanes

Bottom Line: Investors are pulling out but the Egypt stock exchange is at its highest since the ouster of Mubarak in 2011, as protests and violent clashes continue sporadically and the potential for chaos or political stability shifts back and forth.

Analysis: Overnight on 6-7 October some 50 people were killed, five of them outside of the capital city, and nearly 270 people were wounded across the country in clashes between Islamists and security forces, primarily with Egyptian security forces opening fire on Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators; tensions were particularly high on this date due to celebrations of the military’s role in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

That the military has overstepped is demonstrated by the pressure on Washington to distance itself. Last week, Washington announced it would cut back on the $1.3 billion in aid the Egyptian forces receive from the US. This is only a temporary halt in aid, which will see a halt (for now) in the planned delivery of Apache helicopters, Harpoon missiles and tank parts as well as a planned $260 million cash transfer and a $300 million loan guarantee. However, other forms of aid will not be reduced at all, including counter-terrorism aid and general economic assistance. Washington’s move should be perceived not as a snubbing of the Egyptian military but as the easiest way to relieve pressure coming at it from two different camps—those who would suspend all military aid to Egypt and those who believe…

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