[Marxism] Egypt Recalls Algerian Ambassador As Soccer Rift Grows

Greg McDonald sabocat59 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 19 16:24:02 MST 2009


CAIRO — Egypt on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Algeria for
consultations as part of a growing diplomatic row caused by a bitter
soccer rivalry between the two Arab nations that has sparked violence
among fans.

Egyptian fans were attacked after Algeria won a make-or-break World
Cup qualifying game Wednesday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, and
offices of Egyptian companies in Algeria were ransacked after a
matchup in Cairo over the weekend.

On Thursday, Egypt's Foreign Ministry summoned Algeria's ambassador in
Cairo to express to him "extreme dismay" over the attacks. Egypt's
ambassador in Algiers, Abdul-Aziz Seif al-Nasr, was instructed to
return to Egypt as soon as possible, a ministry statement said.

Late Thursday night, hundreds of angry soccer fans marched through the
streets near the Algerian Embassy in Cairo, beating drums and chanting
anti-Algerian slogans and "Allahu Akbar." They threw stones over the
wall of the nearby Indian Embassy, but riot police at the scene
allowed the crowd to continue marching toward the Algerian Embassy as
they screamed "To the Embassy."

Algeria advanced to the World Cup for the first time since 1986 after
its 1-0 victory in Wednesday's game. That match was a playoff after
Egypt won Saturday's game in Cairo, 2-0.

Ahead of Saturday's game, Egyptian fans pelted a bus carrying Algerian
players soon after their arrival in Cairo. Three players were injured
and two of them played with head bandages. Clashes between Egyptian
and Algerian fans after that game injured 32 people.

A separate official Egyptian statement Thursday said the summoning to
the foreign ministry of the Algerian ambassador, Abdul-Qader Hajar,
was ordered by President Hosni Mubarak himself.

The Egyptian leader also chaired a top level meeting Thursday to look
into the situation in Khartoum, to which thousands of Egyptian fans
traveled, according to the statement.
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It said most of the fans have returned safely to Egypt, but made a
brief mention of the "difficulties" encountered by some on the way to
Khartoum airport.

Egyptian media reports said several buses carrying Egypt fans to the
airport were pelted with rocks, allegedly by Algerians, and that
several of them were slightly hurt.

Charges in some Egyptian media outlets that Sudanese security forces
stood by as Algerian fans attacked the Egyptians in Khartoum led to
another diplomatic row, this time between Cairo and Khartoum.

Sudan's official news agency said the Sudanese Foreign Ministry
summoned Egypt's ambassador in Khartoum Thursday to express to him the
government's "absolute objection" to the media reports, which it said
insulted Sudan and its people.

For the Algerians, however, Wednesday brought sweet revenge.

Egypt qualified to the 1990 World Cup at their expense, beating them
in a decider played in Cairo in 1989. The Khartoum win sent thousands
of people celebrating on the streets of Algiers, Paris and the French
port city of Marseille. France is home to a large Algerian community.

Cairo was subdued after Wednesday's game, with only several hundred
noisy fans protesting near the Algerian Embassy against the attacks on
Egyptians in Sudan and Algeria. The protest continued until the early
hours Thursday, but a riot police cordon kept protesters away from the

Headlines in Cairo's Thursday newspapers reflected the soccer-mad
nation's disappointment to reach the 2010 World Cup in South Africa,
with front-page photos of tearful Egyptian players.

Egypt, a record six-time African champion, last appeared on the game's
biggest stage in 1990.

"Algeria qualified and the dream is lost," bemoaned the red banner of
the daily Al-Gomhuria. "The World Cup dream turned into ruins," said
the independent Al-Masry Al-Youm daily.


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