Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Pope John Paul II To Be Canonized; Muslim Brotherhood Marches In Friday Of Rejection; As Many As 17 Dead, 260 Injured In Clashes In Cairo; Nelson Mandela On Dialysis, Not In Vegetative State
Aired July 5, 2013 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FIONNUALA SWEENEY, HOST: Welcome to a special edition of Connect the World. We're following the breaking news out of Egypt. Clashes taking place in the heart of Cairo. Supporters and opponents of the ousted Morsy facing off on a major bridge. They've been throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails. At least one car has been set on fire. And this scene just one of several violent confrontations reportedly taking place across the country right now.
A health ministry spokesman says at least five people have been killed nationwide, some 250 others injured.
Now this map gives you a sense of where the 6th of October Bridge is located in Cairo, its relation to Tahrir Square still filled tonight with anti-Morsy demonstrators.
So let's get the very latest now on the situation. Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is live in Cairo for us. Ben, what are you seeing and hearing?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK. Just a little while ago, Fionnuala, we saw four of five armored personnel carriers from the Egyptian army come down off the 6th of October Bridge and around the corner here. The people, the anti-Morsy people here starting to shout. The people and the army are one hand. Others are chanting a rather unflattering chant against the deposed president.
It appears that the army deploying some forces in this area may have been able to disperse the supporters of the deposed president who were lined up here along the (inaudible) and in front of the (inaudible) television building.
They were there, obviously protesting the fact that several pro-Morsy TV channels have been shut coverage by the Egyptian media.
OK, hold on, hold on, hold on.
So, no the army has intervened somewhat in this area. We don't know if that's sort of Cairo-wide or simply to disperse the clashes that are -- that were happening here just a little while ago -- Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: Extraordinary -- these are extraordinary scenes, Ben. And it does appear from the people that you've spoken to that they're extremely angry. These are the people who are the anti-Morsy demonstrators, extremely angry.
WEDEMAN: Yes, they're very angry. They're very angry, first of all with the Muslim Brotherhood. They're angry with the United States because of their perceived support over the last year for Mohamed Morsy, and very angry about the media coverage of the uprising, the coup, the revolution, whatever you want to call it.
But anyway, obviously emotions running very high.
Come on, let's actually go out and this is the main street along the (inaudible) the TV building. As you can see on the ground full of rocks, full of rocks that have been thrown during these clashes.
The clashes as I said, they seem to have dissipated once the armored personnel carriers showed up. So, yes, they're very, very dramatic scene here. Why don't we just -- yes, Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: Are you heading towards the TV station now?
WEDEMAN: Yes. We're going to head towards the TV station. Come with us.
SWEENEY: And let's see. Ben, (inaudible), Ben...
WEDEMAN: The TV station is just up the road here. OK, so now we're walking up the (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) CNN.
So we're walking up the street here. Lots of people heading toward the television building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN?
Obama is really bad. Obama is really bad. (inaudible) Obama.
WEDEMAN: As you can hear people angry with President Barack Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama killed Egypt.
WEDEMAN: Obama killed Egyptians.
OK, All right. Thank you very much, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama killed Egypt.
WEDEMAN: So here we have people (inaudible) dancing in front of a TV camera on top of a van here toward the television building, which has always been sort of the symbol of state propaganda. And in a -- an Egyptian government state media, whoever is in control is often considered to be dishonest serving the interests of whatever regime they've been charged.
So we're still walking in the direction of the TV building.
Throw me a question, Fionnuala.
SWEENY: I seem to recall that last time around in 2011, as you say, the state television building the focus of demonstrations, but surrounded already by APCs from very early on in the popular uprising. Do we know if there's any extraordinary protection from the state television now?
WEDEMAN: Well, under even normal circumstances since the revolution there has always been a military presence in and around the TV stations. Several armored personnel carriers are always based there. Under the heightened state of alert that Egypt is now on there would normally be -- there is an increased security presence.
So we're continuing on. The TV building is about 200 yards from where we are. No sign, Fionnuala, of the army yet. No sign of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood or Mohamed Morsy. It seems that they have evaporated, disappeared, headed to safer ground.
Now this entire crowd here, to the best of our knowledge, are all opponents of deposed president Mohamed Morsy.
SWEENEY: So where you are now, things appear to have calmed down.
I suppose to the military, it must be a fine line if one can try to be objective about this in any way between knowing how to let people let off steam after the events of the last couple of days and knowing when to perhaps tow the line, make them tow the line.
Is there any talk at all about states of emergency there?
WEDEMAN: It definitely (inaudible) that things are very out of whack at the moment. The Egyptian government initially was reported that they had announced in a state of extreme emergency, but they downgraded that to just high alert. High alert maybe somewhat below what is needed here at the moment.
Now as far as the army goes, the army -- I've seen opinion polls where more than 90 percent of the population has a high regard for the army. They -- keep in mind that its a conscript army, so everybody has a relative who serves or has served in the army and therefore it's the one institution that really commands respect more than definitely the police who are widely hated for their abuse over the year, of brutality, torture and their widespread corruption.
The army on the other hand is very highly regarded. And as I said, it's really the only institution that can intervene in affairs and be assured of not too much of a backlash -- Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: And if you're just joining us, you're following Ben Wedeman. We're following our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman as he makes his way up along the banks by the river Nile there towards state television where it seems that pro -- I should say anti-Morsy demonstrators have been marching. There were many clashes earlier this evening in and around that area, but Ben just telling us now that it seems the focal point of traveling to the TV station is really only being made this journey by anti-Morsy supporters.
But certainly clashes earlier in the day. And you can see the distances there on that map. The 6th of October Bridge is where earlier in the evening some of the pro-Morsy supporters came across and they quickly, you know, found themselves in clashes or were looking for what they found - - found what they were looking for in terms of clashes with the anti-Morsy demonstrators.
But where Ben Wedeman is right now is very near the TV station where it seems while there are a lot of people, Ben, things seem to be relatively quiet.
WEDEMAN: At the moment -- yeah, we're right in front of the TV building. Let's get a shot of it. It's a massive building, built during the time of (inaudible), a symbol of the resistance (inaudible).
And here we have a man. He's celebrating -- this man is celebrating that the Brothers, huen (ph) as they calls them, terrible -- they left. They've run away.
OK. This is another man who is (inaudible) demonstrations. Or maybe this was the guy -- OK...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...has gone too. (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) square. Nobody has gone to over there. We are (inaudible) in Tahrir Square (inaudible)...
WEDEMAN: So what he's explaining is that the supporters of Mohamed Morsy were over (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) which is another part of (inaudible). And so they're saying that the Brothers came here to attack them, that they did not go to Robola Dawiya (ph) where we've seen all of these demonstration taking place.
Here, this man saying game over, game over for Morsy.
OK, now they're chanting...
SWEENEY: Ben, we'll leave you there, Ben, for the moment, because as you make your way away from the state television station, obviously a lot of people following you. I'm glad you can even hear me, but we'll report from you, thank you, bye.
We will be able to report, though, from Ben's reporting in the last few minutes, that there have been no clashes in and around the state television station, but as he said quiet for the moment following, really quite serious clashes earlier this evening in and around that area.
This is Connect the World. We'll have much more on Egypt, but also still to come tonight, as the demonstrations continue to unfold, I'll be joined by a guest who says there's been a propaganda war against the Muslim Brotherhood.
SWEENEY: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Fionnuala Sweeney. Welcome back.
We've been following the clashes in Egypt taking place in Cairo this evening, mainly along the 6th of October Bridge where pro-Morsy supporters had been clashing with anti-Morsy demonstrators. Not far from Tahrir Square, we're hearing the death toll now of something like seven people killed, 260 injured across the country. But what we've just heard in the last few moments from our producers on the ground is that the 6th of October Bridge and a bridge south of that, the Cairo University bridge, both of those now cleared of protesters by the Egyptian military.
Now you're looking at pictures from Nile TV. And you can see there are various scenes of Cairo this evening. And I'm pretty much willing to bet that these are all in and around the 6th of October Bridge and Tahrir Square.
Armored personnel carriers being seen about 10 minutes ago coming into the scene of the clashes. And it was really a question of when the military were going to move these people and how long they were going to allow the Molotov cocktails to be thrown, the cars to be burned, automatic gunfire to be heard. And obviously the number of casualties to rise along with that.
This coming following a day of really the Muslim Brotherhood resetting themselves after a couple of days of digesting the implications of the ouster of President Morsy.
So let me now bring in my next guest Mohamed ElMasry. He's a professor at the American University in Cairo.
Thanks for joining us. You are of the view that there's been a propaganda war against the Muslim Brotherhood. Obviously you're aware that there are those who are of the view on the other side that they, too, are victims of a propaganda war.
What is your take on what is happening in Egypt right now?
MOHAMED ELMASRY, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF CAIRO: Well, I mean, I think it's really tragic. You know, I actually just got home, so I'm kind of a little bit late and I don't know everything that's been going on, but I did see some images on TV of violence. And, you know, it's tragic to see Egyptians fighting against Egyptians. And you know as I was saying last evening on this very program, it's hard to understand how the military and the opposition assumed that a coup over -- against a democratically elected president in his first -- just finished his first year of his first term in office would create stability.
Clearly, you know, people that vote in democratic elections want those votes to count. And this -- there's just this increasing sense of frustration and a sense of being excluded by the Muslim Brotherhood. They won the parliamentary elections and then those -- the parliament was disbanded. Then they win the presidential elections and the president is overthrown in just a year.
And then the constitution has also been suspended.
So, you know, there's kind of a sense that, well, what's the point of voting and why should there be democracy for everyone but us?
And I think that the Brotherhood is also putting this in a larger context. Rightly or wrongly, if you look at Algeria in the 1990s we had the first -- they had the first freely -- free and fair elections in that country's modern history and Islamists won. And then a coup broke that regime up. And then in 2006, in Palest...
SWEENEY: Are you suggesting that what we're seeing tonight in Cairo is the beginning of something dreadful like that?
ELMASRY: Well, I certainly hope not. I certainly hope not.
SWEENEY: Let me ask you, if I may jump in...
ELMASRY: I think the last thing anyone wants is violence.
SWEENEY: If I may just jump in here, what strategies are open to the Muslim Brotherhood now in your view?
ELMASRY: Well, I think there are two options. I mean, one option is to try and maintain pressure in the streets. And they said today, I saw a snippet of the interview -- excuse me, the speech of Mohammad Badia, the supreme guide, and he basically said they're going to stay in the streets and they're just not going to accept this decision to overthrow the president.
The other strategy, of course, would be to withdraw, kind of accept the reality and then try to regroup and try to go forward politically.
I think the problem with that strategy from their perspective might be that, you know, there's kind of -- there are people kind of already cooking up plans to exclude them from the political process. And we've had some reports of this already of people wanting to, you know, to create a law that would ban the Brotherhood in the same way that the national democratic party of Hosni Mubarak was banned.
So, that -- you know, they do not want to be excluded, certainly. And so I think the best strategy for them -- it's debatable. But from based on everything that we're seeing and hearing, they have no intention of just letting this go.
SWEENEY: Certainly from what we're seeing this evening. We leave it there. Mohamad ElMasry, thank you very much for joining us.
I want to go to London now where we are joined by Fawaz Gerges. And he's going to help us analyze today's important developments.
You're a frequent contributor to this program and others on CNN International. A professor of Middle Eastern politics and international relations at the London School of Economics.
Thanks for being with us.
I guess my first question is, was it inevitable that there was going to be some kind of violence? And can we put it what has taken place tonight in Cairo in perspective?
FAWAZ GERGES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Yes, I think so. I think what we have seen today is an indication what most likely unfold in Egypt in the next few weeks and next few months. Far from being over, I think what we are seeing, what's unfolding before our eyes is really further polarization between the Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand, and a sizable segment of the Egyptian people.
I think Morsy supporters, the Muslim Brotherhood, will not back down. The supreme guide of the Brotherhood basically came out today and made a major speech in which he said we will fight. We will fight peacefully. We will protest until President Morsy is basically legitimately back in the presidential palace.
I think you're going to see a great deal of protest. I think you're going to see every Friday after Friday prayers, the Muslim Brotherhood will try to mobilize its supporters. There will be clashes, as we have seen today. There will be casualties. And this will further polarize the system. The army, despite the restraints that the army basically is exercising, yet today it fired on the protesters, reportedly fired on the protesters and the presidential Republican guards and three members of the Muslim Brotherhood were killed. Blood, mobilization, polarization, unfortunately this is very bad for Egypt and this does not really bode well for either the transitional process or even the stability in Egypt.
SWEENEY: Fawaz, thank you for that.
We're going to stay with you if you bear with us for a moment, because we just want to take a break. Before we take this break, though, we want to show you the pictures here from the pro-Morsy rally in Nasr City, which is a part of Cairo, northeast of Cairo. And you can see the crowds have really swelled over the last few days. And if we contrast that at 10:20 in the evening in Cairo with the scene in Tahrir Square near where those clashes earlier in the evening took place -- I think we can bring that shot up now -- you can see that there are still people there, but nothing like the numbers of crowds of people who had been there earlier in the week, indeed earlier in the day.
So a sense, really, that the Muslim Brotherhood have after a couple of days really galvanized their forces and their supporters and they're out in strength tonight.
We'll go back to Fawaz in a moment, but coming up on Connect the World, we'll have a look at some of the other this day's news as well.
And just eight years after he died, Pope John Paul II will be canonized. We'll be discussing why and how next.
SWEENEY: You are watching Connect the World. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney.
Now just eight years after he died, the Vatican says Pope John Paul II will be made a saint. It is the fastest beatification in centuries, but John Paul's legacy isn't without controversy. The Polish born pope played a crucial role in the fall of Communism in Poland and apologized for many of the church's past sins. He was also the most widely traveled pope in history visiting more than 120 countries. And under his leadership Catholicism increased in places like Africa and Asia.
But the cleric sex abuse scandal that rocked the church tarnished John Paul's legacy. The revelations and the coverups happened on his watch. And many feel he could have done more.
Pope Francis cleared the way for John Paul's sainthood on Friday morning after attributing a second miracle to him. At the same time, he also approved the sainthood of Pope John XXIII.
So, what is the process behind sainthood? And why the apparent sudden rush?
With me to discuss this is Raymon Arroyo. He's director Eternal World Television Network.
Thank you for joining us.
First of all, can we just talk over the process by which one is made a saint? And the requirement of two miracles.
RAYMOND ARROYO, ETERNAL WORLD TELEVISION NETWORK: Right.
Well, Fionnuala, what normally happens is any individual that is designated a saint material, to open the cause there's usually a five year waiting period. That was waive by Pope Benedict in the case of Pope John Paul II. Then what happens is the church begins to investigate the life. They probe into it, they do extensive interviews, all of the written material is collected. That's submitted to the Vatican. And after a thorough review, they declare the person a servant of god.
When one miracle is attributed to their intercession, and that's usually -- that has to be approved by a panel of doctors who are not Catholic -- once that one miracle is approved, that individual becomes blessed, OK. That's beatification.
And the last step is canonization. And that usually requires a second miracle. But as we saw today, popes can waive that rule, or at least Pope Francis has.
Whether this will be precedent making or not, none of us really know. But it certainly is emblematic of this maverick pope who sort of sees a problem, sees an obstacle and is not unwilling to change things and reassess the rules if they need changing.
SWEENEY: And why do you think he's anxious to, if I may put it, fast track these two popes to sainthood?
ARROYO: Well, I mean, to begin with you had this outpouring of affection for Pope John Paul II all over the world. So there's certainly the public is crying for that on one hand.
On the other, Pope John XXIII has waited 50 years, this has been a long process. And I think what the pope -- Pope Francis is indicating is, look, there are progressives who have long championed John XXIII, traditionalists who love John Paul II, what he's saying is, look, you need both these sides to come together. This is really a statement of unity, of the continuity of the papacy, that's part of what the message is here.
But, you know, this whole day looks like a papal buddy movie. You know, you get two for one everywhere you look. Pope Francis released this encyclical today, this bit of papal teaching with Pope Benedict. They also prayed together. They appeared in the Vatican gardens together.
So there is this continuity and unity theme that runs throughout the day of all these news events we've seen at the Vatican.
SWEENEY: And the sainthood of Pope John XXIII obviously responsible for Vatican II, which I think wasn't completed until after his death, but it really was about bringing the church up to speed in the 20th Century. But it also, if I may say, drew a lot of criticism as well from other quarters of the church. For example, it said that Latin didn't have to be spoken at mass.
And I'm wondering why -- what does it say about Pope Francis that he's chosen to canonize John XXIII?
ARROYO: Well, John XXIII was the father, if you will, of the second Vatican council. He didn't live to see it completed, so you can't really fault him with the various ways that it may have been implemented or not implemented.
In the case of the mass, there were mistakes. The corporate manning of Latin was something that the fathers of the Vatican council did not require. And if you read the letter of Vatican II, that's not there.
But it was an interpretation. And in the enthusiasm of the moment, you saw these abuses of Vatican II as well.
But I think what Francis is saying is, look, there was a -- this man led a holy life. It didn't mean, incidentally, that Karol Wotjyla, what John Paul II, or John XXIII, were perfect individuals in every way or that they didn't make mistakes, what the church is saying is they led a holy life of heroic virtue in their personal life, in their personal spiritual life. That's what this canonization speaks to.
So we have to sort of separate it. It doesn't mean this person is an angel or that they're somehow on the level with god, but they are enjoying the beatific vision and in heaven, that's all they're saying.
SWEENEY: They're probably certainly closer to god than most people.
ARROYO: Well, certainly closer than the guy you're talking to. So...
SWEENEY: All right, well, listen thanks very much indeed, Mr. Arroyo for joining us there.
I don't know, where are you. Are you in Washington?
ARROYO: In Washington, D.C.
SWEENEY: All right, thanks very much indeed.
Now a change of gear, let's turn to Syria now. In a city already destroyed by fighting, the bombardment is continuing. The city of Homs was heavily attacked by regime forces on Friday. United Nations officials are now worried that thousands of civilians could be trapped.
And as Mohamme Jamjoom reports, the death toll just keeps rising.
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In Homs, already so devastated, the government bombardment is unrelenting. Mosques have become morgues, places of worship now housing the dead.
"Haven't you gotten tired of killing us," this distraught woman asks of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad? "Aren't you full enough from our blood? In what religion is this permissible? What did this child do to you?"
Everyone has become a target in rebel held areas. The victims are getting younger. And medics struggle to revive children with mortal wounds.
Rebel fighters have warned an onslaught was coming since they lost Qusayr, a strategically important town between Homs and Syria's border with Lebanon.
Now, the military has momentum. And Bashar al-Assad's forces are aiming to vanquish the rebellion in the heart of the Syrian uprising.
Activists say this is the worst violence they've yet experienced in two years of conflict, that Homs is hit harder every day.
The opposition Syria National Coalition is urging the international community to intervene immediately. The UN agency for human rights warns it is extremely concerned about the human rights and humanitarian impact of the assault in Homs. It says between 2,500 and 4,000 people may be trapped there, many in need of medicine and food.
As residents look for more bodies, fears are only growing. With help for noncombatants nowhere in sight.
Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Beirut.
SWEENEY: The civil war continuing to rage in Syria. We're going to continue to follow obviously developments in Egypt later in this program, Connect the World.
We will have the latest World News Headlines just ahead after the break. Plus, Nelson Mandela, he's on dialysis as a bitter family feud plays out around him. We'll have an update from Pretoria, South Africa coming up.
SWEENEY: This is Connect the World. The top stories this hour. It seems we have a new update on the number of dead across Egypt in clashes. We're now hearing from the health ministry that 17 people have been killed today -- earlier we had heard seven -- and 260 injured. These are in clashes between supporters and opponents of the ousted President Mohamed Morsy. The video here showing a confrontation on the 6th of October bridge in the heart of Cairo. The military has now cleared that bridge. Of course there have been clashes elsewhere in the country.
The Syrian city of Homs has come under a new attack from government forces. This video purporting to show a rocket strike in a residential neighborhood. The UN agency for human rights says as many as 4,000 people may be trapped in Homs in need of medicine and food.
In the United States, almost 200,000 new jobs were created in the month of June. The figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are more than expected. The unemployment rate remains unchanged at 7.6 percent.
France is running the same type of spying programs used in the U.S., that's according to the French daily newspaper Le Monde. The paper says the country's external intelligence agency runs a vast electronics surveillance operation, tapping citizen's phone calls, emails and internet activity.
Bolivian President Evo Morales says he won't hesitate closing the U.S. embassy in his country. Appearing in a rally with the Ecuadorian and Venezuelan leaders, he blamed Washington for delaying his flight home. It was rumored the American fugitive Edward Snowden was on board, but that turned out to be untrue.
Nelson Mandela is responding to people and is not in a vegetative state, that's according to a source who has direct knowledge of the former South African president's condition. And the same source also said the 94- year-old is getting Kidney dialysis.
All right, let's go back to our top story, which is of course the developments and the clashes in Egypt. And there you're looking at two very different scenarios. On the right of your screen, you see the swelling of the crowd there, swollen crowds of pro-Morsy supporters in a part of the capital Cairo called Nasr City. And then you see southwest of that in Tahrir Square on the left-hand side of your screen the rather less than swollen crowds that we have noticed there over the recent days in the lead up to the ouster of Mohamed Morsy as president.
Less numbers there than the Muslim Brotherhood members crowds there in Nasr City.
And we should say that on the back of that, we have that updated death toll from the Egyptian health ministry following clashes today after Friday prayers not only in Cairo, but throughout the country, some 17 people have been killed in clashes and 260 at least injured.
We're staying with this story. I want to bring in another guest now. Jon Alterman is director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He's joining us from Washington.
Thank you very much for joining us.
Let me ask you from where you're sitting in Washington, what do you think the White House is making of all this? And all the anger that seems to be directed at them from both pro and anti-Morsy supporters?
JON ALTERMAN, DIRECTOR OF MIDDLE EAST PROGRAM, CSIS: The White House first doesn't want to become the focus of the story. There has been a lot of hostility toward the U.S. view. Some people think the United States has been in bed with the Brotherhood, some people think that the United States has been in bed with the military, ultimately this is going to have to be worked out among Egyptians. And I think the White House is very cautious not to be in the middle of the story.
The other part of this is U.S. law prohibits giving assistance to a government that has displaced a democratically elected government by coup. The White House is trying not to make that determination, not to make that decision, because of the strategic importance of a U.S. government relationship with the government of Egypt. In the mind of many people, I think, throughout the U.S. government, including Capital Hill is more important than trying to stand up for a principle of democracy, especially for a president who was democratically elected, but was becoming less democratic over time.
SWEENEY: And it's obviously one would focus on the clashes that is taking place. And the day by day developments following the ouster of Mohamed Morsy. But if you can stand back and give us a sense of just the role Egypt plays in the region and just how these clashes fit into that overall perspective?
ALTERMAN: First, there's an intimacy that people feel with Egypt, because everybody in the Arab world knows somebody from Egypt. They either have a school teacher or they have a physician, they listen to Egyptian music, they follow Egyptian journalists, they read Egyptian novelists. There's a way in which Egypt isn't foreign to anybody in the Arab world, so what happens in Egypt has a huge impact.
Certainly the fact that you had a Muslim Brotherhood president in Egypt set a tone for the region a sense of inevitability that you'd have Islamist politics. Now I think a sense among many people that Islamists won't be allowed to compete freely.
Certainly, one of the other ways this could play out is as you've seen a split between salafis, the more conservative Muslim political actors and the Brotherhood, bringing the salafis on board into the ruling coalition as has happened in Egypt may actually mean giving them more space to contest the Brotherhood's space. The salafis may be the great winner in this, not leading toward a more liberal Middle East, but in fact toward a more religiously conservative Middle East.
How this all plays out is going to take years to figure out.
SWEENEY: Let me bring in Fawaz Gerges there who is in London, Jon, if you don't mind. I mean, the salafis, correct me if I'm wrong Fawaz as you join this conversation, they were in favor of having early elections which one would be surprised given that they were sort of right of center of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Do you agree with Jon Alterman's view?
GERGES: Well, one point must be made very clear, the salafis are deeply divided. You're talking about one element of the salafist movement, that is the party -- the Nour party, that has basically joined the military and the various oppositional groups and said -- called for early elections and basically agreed with the opposition and the military that Morsy must go.
But remember, there are multiple salafist movements. In fact, today's clashes in Egypt, one of the leading components of the Islamists today was the ultra military jihadist elements who joined the Muslim Brotherhood basically in protesting the exit and the ouster of President Morsy.
The reality is, the Muslim Brotherhood can mobilize tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of protesters and the salafis are deeply divided. And the reality is at the end of the day the more clashes, the more polarization, the more and more salafis will side with the Muslim Brotherhood against the secular leaning opposition, in particular if the polarization continues, and in particular if the Muslim Brotherhood decides to mobilize its followers for the long-term.
Remember, the Muslim Brotherhood now is in a shock. Once it overcomes this particular shock, you're going to see a great deal of mobilization. The Muslim Brotherhood might be out, but they remain a potent and one of the most important political movements in Egypt that can mobilize tends of thousands, hundred of thousands of followers in a matter of hours and days.
ALTERMAN: Fionnuala, if I may, I think it's absolutely true that the salafis are split, but I think -- and the Brotherhood can actually mobilize millions. The salafis are the second more powerful political -- organized political force in the country. Nour is the largest one. Nour rumored to have connections to the intelligence services who are as built up -- a counterbalance to the Brotherhood.
The salafis, the Nour Party, also rumored to be getting assistance from Saudi Arabia. And Saudi Arabia very, very happy with what just happened this week in Cairo.
I am not confident that when push comes to shove, when the Brotherhood is more isolated, that the salafis in bulk are going to be supporting the Brotherhood. I think what they may be doing is trying to make a deal with the new government. They'll have more social space in Egypt, more political space. They'll be getting a wink and a nod. And then you may be dealing with a much more powerful salafi element.
And the real question is, can the liberal forces, can those forces unite on what they're for instead of merely what they're against. And this was the main problem the liberal forces had after the fall of Mubarak is they were against Mubarak, but they couldn't coalesce around something they were for.
In the presidential elections, they couldn't coalesce around somebody they were for. And this is the real challenge.
GERGES: What's really -- what's ironic is that if the opposition, the secular leaning opposition and the military could not really make a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, a mainstream centrist organization, how can the secular leaning opposition deal with a particular component of the salafist movement that tends to be ultra conservative and hyper in terms of its entity politics and emphasis on the sharia.
The reality is --- the reality is, the Nour Party has been split. And the Nour Party that joined the opposition is really -- does not represent a critical segment of the salafis, but regardless, the reality is now what we are seeing further polarization. The Muslim Brotherhood is down, but is not out. And what has happened today is an indication what's most likely to happen in the next few weeks and next few months.
The reality also. the Muslim Brotherhood brand, the Islamist brand has been damaged for good. This is a reality. And the implications and the ramifications for the Islamist movement throughout the Arab world and the Middle East are very tremendous because of the incompetency and the economic mismanagement and the blunders that the Islamists have done in the last one year.
SWEENEY: May I ask you a final question, both of you if you could answer briefly. First of all Jon Alterman, do you see any room for compromise at the moment given what we've seen in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt over the last couple of days?
ALTERMAN: Well, I think there's a lot of room for compromise. There's not likely to be room for a compromise with the Brotherhood. I think what is going to happen is there will be an effort to isolate the Brotherhood. The problem is the Brotherhood can still organize millions in the streets, that's why they were successful in the elections. I don't think they're going away.
SWEENEY: Fawaz, do you think that there's any possibility of compromise at all? And I do mean specifically between the Brotherhood and the military or the Brotherhood and the opposition and the military, the interim government, all of them?
GERGES: Very unlikely. Today we heard from the supreme leader. In fact, my fear -- and this is my fear, the idea to -- behind the ousting, the ouster of Morsy, was to basically prevent civil strife, to prevent mobilization -- polarization. What we might see is that the more clashes, in particular if the Muslim Brotherhood decides to mobilize its followers after every Friday prayers, the military would have to take very stringent actions. And what we're going to see -- and this is my fear, the return some of the old elements of what we call the deep state, the security apparatus. Now the army says it sanctions protests. What will happen in a few weeks? And this basically harms the democratic transition process in Egypt.
SWEENEY: All right. We'll have to leave it there. But both gentlemen, thank you very much indeed. John Alterman in Washington, D.C. And Fawaz Gerges in London.
Let's take a quick look now at the scene on the ground in Cairo if we can. And you can see there are armored personnel carriers have now entered the city and the area around the 6th of October Bridge and I gather also a bridge just south of that over the Nile called the University of Cairo Bridge.
And, you know, this also demonstrates, I think picture, about how both sides want or believe or both that the army is with the people, because as we saw in 2011 they have been welcomed but welcomed by the demonstrators. And this place in 2013, they are also being welcomed by the demonstrators. Now sure if they are pro or anti-Morsy demonstrators.
We do know the APCs came in about an hour ago and cleared those bridges of what were quite serious clashes that looked like they might go on for quite some time. We heard reports of automatic gunfire, machine gun fire. We also heard -- saw Molotov cocktails being thrown. We know the death toll has risen throughout the day and the evening.
And so there you see that scene there to the left of your picture of how the army really in some ways it looks being greeted by the people and being rather passive.
And what you're seeing on the right-hand side of your screen is the scene in Tahrir Square.
Now it's not the same shot we saw earlier, but what we do know is that the numbers of people that are in Tahrir Square have decreased somewhat throughout the evening and they're not quite as swollen as the numbers who are supporting the former President Morsy elsewhere in the city.
But that is an extraordinary site. That's Tahrir Square. But you can still hear, I can hear it in my earpiece, there is plenty of chanting there, plenty of whistles and still plenty going on. And so this really is a very clear demonstration of the polarization that's taking place in this country. But for the moment, in this city, the capital of Egypt, Cairo tonight, the army sitting quite passively it seems and not too much hint of tension.
Well, this is Connect the World, coming up we're going to have an update on the health of Nelson Mandela. Of course, he has been in hospital now for almost a month. Stay with us. We're back in 90 seconds.
SWEENEY: Welcome back to Connect the World.
Nelson Mandela is not in a vegetative state. He is responding to people, and that's according to a source who has been briefed on his condition. They also said the former South African leader is getting kidney dialysis.
CNN's Robyn Curnow sent us this update from Pretoria.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nelson Mandela's wife, Grace Machel, says that sometimes he's uncomfortable, that he's in pain, but generally he's OK. What we know is that Mandela is still on a ventilator, needs assistance to breathe. He's also on dialysis. We also know, though, that he's responding to stimuli. If somebody speaks to him, he opens his eyes.
But still, Nelson Mandela is doing what he's always done, says those who know him. He's a fighter. He's always survived. He's never capitulated.
Robyn Curnow, CNN, Pretoria.
SWEENEY: And Mandela who is 94 is apparently unaware of the family feud playing out around him. The Archbishop Desmond Tutu is calling for the bitter public squabble to end. CNN's Nkepile Mabuse has more on the rift dividing the Mandelas.
NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I first interviewed Mandla Mandela in 2008. The former businessman and university graduate had just given up a cosmopolitan lifestyle in Johannesburg to take over as chief of his grandfather's rural birthplace, Mvezo. At the time, the village had no clean running water or electricity, but he said just like his grandfather Nelson Mandela, he was there to serve the people.
MANDLA MANDELA, NELSON MANDELA'S GRANDSON: Our family has always been a part the greater cause of the people.
MABUSE: Fast forward to 2013 and Mandla is being accused by members of his own family of being self-serving by moving the remains of Mandela's children from the family graveyard in Qunu to his village of Mvezo where he's planning to open a heritage center, a prime attraction for tourists.
In line with a court order Wednesday, the sheriff went to Mandla's now upgraded Mvezo compound to retrieve the remains of the children, remains the rest of the family says Mandla relocated without their consent.
Mandela's eldest daughter Makaziwe led the court application that forced Mandla to return the remains to where Mandela will ultimately be buried. She argued that her father's wish is to be buried near his children.
In court papers she said, "by controlling the area in which these descendants' remains are buried, he" -- meaning Mandla -- "expects that the remains of Mr. Nelson Mandela will soon follow."
The judge has described Mandla's behavior as scandalous. And police are now investigating allegations of tampering with graves.
Authorities say the public prosecutor will decide whether to press charges.
On Thursday, Mandla fired back, calling the ruling to return the remains erroneous. He also accused his family of turning against him, because he's criticized their legal battle to control some of Mr. Mandela's companies, which are estimated to be worth millions.
MANDELA: This is the very family that has taken their own father, their own grandfather to court for his monies.
MABUSE: Mandla, who is the only young politician in the family and the eldest grandson has for years been considered among Mandela's favorites. Even with the recent criticism, there are those in his village who see a true grandson of a legend in him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of these developments came when Mandla was here, because he take all of the children (inaudible) he want them to work. We wish if the grave of Madiba was here, because Madiba was born here.
MABUSE: On Thursday, the family reburied the children's remains where they believe Nelson Mandela would have wanted them. To those in attendance, the small ceremony will go a long way in ensuring that when the time comes, Mandela himself will be able to rest in peace.
Most family members will tell you that Nelson Mandela, who lies critically ill in this hospital behind me is the glue that keeps the family together. The fear in South Africa is the day he is gone, these accusations and disagreements will worsen, harming his legacy.
Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, Pretoria, South Africa.
SWEENEY: You're watching Connect the World. And after this short break, we are going to go back to Cairo and also show you that there are protests as well as pyramids there. This is Egypt's painful political change as holiday makers stay away yet again.
SWEENEY: Yes, unrest in Egypt, definite unrest this evening. There were clashes in Cairo, also around the rest of the country. 17 people reported dead. More than 260 injured, according to the health ministry. But look at that scene on your left, because the clashes for the moment would appear to be over. We'll check that with Karl Penhaul, our correspondent in Cairo in a moment.
But there is an extraordinary scene at the left-hand side of your screen. Live pictures coming to you from where the clashes had been taking place in and around 6th of October Bridge and the bridge south of that, which was the University of Cairo Bridge. The army moved in with their APCs and suddenly the clashes appeared to disperse.
Not only did they disperse, the crowd didn't, because the crowd stayed. And you can see in some sense that the army really is as both sides in this conflict seem to believe and say that the army really is with the people.
I guess the army hasn't been tested quite on that just yet. Hopefully they will expect not to be tested on it.
But tonight, four or five APCs going in to this part of Cairo. And the clashes, it would appear at least there, are now over.
Tahrir Square was the other shot that we were showing you. And there are people there, of course, the supporters of the opposition who are against Morsy who is now ousted from office. You can hear in the background still quite a scene there.
We also know that there are also demonstrations elsewhere in favor of Mohamed Morsy.
But let's go to Karl Penhaul, because he, I understand, is overlooking Tahrir Square in Cairo, for an update.
Karl, can you give us an update on the clashes that have been taking place this evening and whether, as the pictures seem to indicate that they're over?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly as far as we can, Fionnuala, because as you've already indicated, it is a fluid situation and an ongoing situation, it must be said. Really, the rallying point for the start of today's events was Friday prayers. Supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsy had called for the faithful to come to Friday prayers and told them at that point they would be taking decisions about what to do next. And the decisions that came down were to march, to turn strategic points around the city.
There was one flashpoint by the Republican Guard headquarters. That building very significant, because that is where we believe Mr. Morsy is still being detained.
There was some fighting there. And we understand from protesters, they accused the army of opening fire with shotguns and also with automatic weapons. And one protester was killed. That death was confirmed to us by the health ministry, but the health ministry did not say exactly who was responsible for that killing.
And then, as you indicate, after night fell, not far here from Tahrir Square. In fact, a group of pro-Morsy supporters trying to cross the Nile from the other side over the October 6th Bridge. And there, again, fighting broke out. From our CNN teams on the ground there, they saw protesters throwing Molotov cocktails. A car was set on fire. And there were gunshots as well.
That CNN team on the ground there said that they had heard shotguns being fired. And even here in Tahrir Square, we did hear the sporadic fire from a heavy machine gun, not from automatic weapons, but something much heavier, a heavier machine gun that we were hearing from Tahrir Square, but it seems that it came from that bridge area as well.
As far as the official figures, what the health ministry has confirmed to us so far, five dead, 250 wounded across Egypt, although state TV is now giving that figure of up to 17 dead.
But no sign that Mr. Morsy's supporters are heading home any time soon, Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: And no sign that some of the demonstrators against Morsy are heading home, either.
Karl Penhaul, thank you very much indeed for joining us live with that update from the Egyptian capital.
We were going to bring you a report on the lack of tourism, but we thought we'd bring you a live report from Karl instead.
That is Connect the World. We leave you tonight, though, with some striking images from these tumultuous events in Egypt over the past few days. I'll have more news after this quick break.