Hundreds of people have died, and thousands are injured, as the violence continues in Egypt. It all started Wednesday when the country's military cleared several protest camps in Cairo. Our Candace Hopkins takes a look at the conflict, and why Americans should be paying close attention to the situation.
CAIRO--Some say the Obama administration has been sitting on the sidelines while Egypt has descended into chaos. In July Egyptian President Mohamed Morsey was removed from office, and placed in detention. A military-backed transitional government took over, although the U.S. has stopped short of calling the actions a coup. That's a move Syracuse University Maxwell School Associate Professor of Political Science Miriam Elman disagrees with.
"In my view it should have been defined as military coup by the Obama administration from the get-go, that may have made a difference, that may have tempered the transitional government today in Egypt from reacting the way it has been doing to unarmed civilians who are protesting", said Elman.
The death toll of those protesters hit 600 this week and continues to climb. In 2011 Egypt was just one of many Arab nations to rise up against their leaders as part of the Arab Spring. Their revolution forced the first the democratic election in Egypt, and was a key step forward in encouraging democracy across the Middle East.
"There was a real hope that democracy would emerge in Egypt, and Egypt is an important lynch pin in the Middle East, and that would have sent a remarkable message to the rest of the region, if the democratic promise had succeeded", said Elman.
This set back is dangerous for American interests in the region for many reasons. Unstable nations and governments have proved to be breading grounds for terror networks, like Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. And the upheaval could threaten the crucial peace talks that just started between Israel and the Palestinians.
"It's really been a long time of stalled negotiations, they've just restarted, and to have these types of tensions could mean that both the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority might decide this is not an auspicious time to be having peace talks, when there's this kind of volatility", said Elman.
Experts add that Americans should closely monitor the situation in Egypt, because the U.S. currently sends the nation one billion dollars in aid each year. If the violence continues, the county could face sanctions and the loss of that funding.