World View: Egypt's President Morsi Grabs Power in Dramatic Declaration

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • China's neighbors pick sides in South China Sea dispute
  • Egypt's Morsi fires the army chief and announces a Constitutional Declaration
  • Egypt forces fight Sinai militants, in biggest battle since 1973

China's neighbors pick sides in South China Sea dispute

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen at ASEAN meeting, where he strongly sided with China against Vietnam and Philippines.  (Reuters)

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen at ASEAN meeting, where he strongly sided with China against Vietnam and Philippines. (Reuters)

One of the purposes of the formation of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was to present a united front to the members' powerful neighbor, China. However, ASEAN unity was shattered at last month's meeting, when Cambodia strongly sided with China against Vietnam and the Philippines in negotiations over control of the South China Sea. Unlike many other southeast Asian countries, where students usually wish to learn English as a foreign language, Cambodian students are learning Mandarin Chinese. China also has growing influence with Laos and Myanmar (Burma) as well. As I've been writing for years, Generational Dynamics predicts that China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will oppose the West, India, Russia and Iran in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war. This new analysis gives greater insight into how the countries of southeast Asia might pick sides in that war. Reuters

Egypt's Morsi fires the army chief and announces a Constitutional Declaration

President Mohamed Morsi stunned Egypt on Sunday with two dramatic moves to take power from the army and give it to himself:

  • He fired Defense Minister and Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, 76, who had headed the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the junta that ran Egypt since Hosni Mubarak was deposed in February 2011. He fired other military chiefs as well, and replaced them.
  • He unilaterally threw out a Constitutional Addendum that SCAF had announced several weeks ago to give itself almost total control over the government. He announced a new Constitutional Declaration giving himself similar powers.

The move comes one week after Egyptians were shocked to learn that 16 Egyptian soldiers were ambushed and killed in Sinai by jihadist militants, near the border with Israel. Field Marshall Tantawi and SCAF have been extremely unpopular since they took control early last year, and last week's ambush seems to have sealed their fate.

The text of President Morsi's new Constitution Declaration is as follows:

"1- The 17 June 2012 constitutional addendum is to be abrogated.

2- Article 25, clause 2 of the 30 March 2011 Constitutional Declaration is to be replaced with the following text: "And he [the president] will undertake all his duties as stipulated by Article 56 of this declaration." [Article 56 outlines the authorities of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and grants the latter full executive and legislative powers, now held by Morsi.]

3- If the Constituent Assembly [tasked with drafting a new constitution] is prevented from doing its duties, the president can draw up a new assembly representing the full spectrum of Egyptian society mandated with drafting a new national charter within three months of the assembly's formation. The new draft constitution is to be put before a nationwide referendum within 30 days after it is written. Parliamentary elections are to be held within two months of the public’s approval of the draft constitution.

4- This new Constitutional Declaration is to be published in Egypt's official gazette and will be put into effect the following day."

There were initial fears expressed that SCAF would mobilize troops to stop Morsi's "coup," but so far there have been no signs of anything like that happening. The Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi is Egypt's first democratically elected President in the country's 5000 year history. CS Monitor and Al-Ahram (Cairo)

Egypt forces fight Sinai militants, in biggest battle since 1973

One issue that seems to have united secularists, liberals, Salafists and Islamists in Egypt is the insistence that law and order must be reimposed in the Sinai region where 16 Egyptian border guards were killed last week. The army began a military crackdown in earnest on Wednesday, and on Sunday killed five militants in a firefight where the Egyptian troops came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades. Under the 1979 peace agreement with Israel, Egypt is not permitted to bring troops into Sinai, but Israel is now demanding that Egypt bring the region under control, and so the fighting is the most seen since the 1973 war with Israel. There is some evidence that the Sinai is becoming the new great attraction for militant Jihadists who wish to fight against Israel and a moderate Egypt. Reuters


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