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)
One of the purposes of the formation of the 10-member Association ofSoutheast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was to present a united front to themembers’ powerful neighbor, China. However, ASEAN unity was shatteredat last month’s meeting, when Cambodia strongly sided with Chinaagainst Vietnam and the Philippines in negotiations over control ofthe 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 hasgrowing influence with Laos and Myanmar (Burma) as well. As I’ve beenwriting for years, Generational Dynamics predicts that China, Pakistanand the Sunni Muslim countries will oppose the West, India, Russia andIran in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war. This newanalysis gives greater insight into how the countries of southeastAsia 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 dramaticmoves 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 16Egyptian soldiers were ambushed and killed in Sinai by jihadistmilitants, near the border with Israel. Field Marshall Tantawi andSCAF have been extremely unpopular since they took control early lastyear, 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 beabrogated.
2- Article 25, clause 2 of the 30 March 2011 ConstitutionalDeclaration is to be replaced with the following text: “And he[the president] will undertake all his duties as stipulated byArticle 56 of this declaration.” [Article 56 outlines theauthorities of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and grantsthe latter full executive and legislative powers, now held byMorsi.]
3- If the Constituent Assembly [tasked with drafting a newconstitution] is prevented from doing its duties, the presidentcan draw up a new assembly representing the full spectrum ofEgyptian society mandated with drafting a new national charterwithin three months of the assembly’s formation. The new draftconstitution is to be put before a nationwide referendum within 30days after it is written. Parliamentary elections are to be heldwithin two months of the public’s approval of the draftconstitution.
4- This new Constitutional Declaration is to be published inEgypt’s official gazette and will be put into effect the followingday.”
There were initial fears expressed that SCAF would mobilize troops tostop Morsi’s “coup,” but so far there have been no signs of anythinglike that happening. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi is Egypt’s firstdemocratically 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, Salafistsand Islamists in Egypt is the insistence that law and order must bereimposed in the Sinai region where 16 Egyptian border guards werekilled last week. The army began a military crackdown in earnest onWednesday, and on Sunday killed five militants in a firefight wherethe Egyptian troops came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades.Under the 1979 peace agreement with Israel, Egypt is not permitted tobring troops into Sinai, but Israel is now demanding that Egypt bringthe region under control, and so the fighting is the most seen sincethe 1973 war with Israel. There is some evidence that the Sinai isbecoming the new great attraction for militant Jihadists who wish tofight against Israel and a moderate Egypt. Reuters