World View: Egypt's Army Deposes Morsi in a 'Non-coup Coup'

World View: Egypt's Army Deposes Morsi in a 'Non-coup Coup'

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Egypt’s army deposes Morsi, appoints Court head Adly Mansour
  • President Obama’s Egypt statement does not use the word ‘coup’

Egypt’s army deposes Morsi, appoints Court head Adly Mansour

Adly Mansour, head of Egypt's High Constitutional Court, now President
Adly Mansour, head of Egypt’s High Constitutional Court, now President

The army had given Egypt’s elected president Mohamed Morsi and itsMuslim Brotherhood party 48 hours to negotiate with the Tamarod(“Rebellion”), the opposition represented by massive crowds in TahrirSquare in Cairo and in cities across Egypt. When the deadline expiredon Wednesday afternoon, the army took action. It blocked all thestreets with armored personnel carriers, it shut down all thepro-Muslim Brotherhood television stations, and it issued some300 arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood members.

The military chief-of-staff Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi appeared on atelevised press conference and announced a “roadmap” that includes thefollowing:

  • The ousting of president Mohamed Morsi.
  • Suspending the constitution temporarily, until it can be changed.
  • Handing power over to a new appointed president, Adly Mansour, the head of Egypt’s High Constitutional Court.
  • Forming a council for “national reconciliation.”
  • Revising the laws for parliamentary elections.
  • Holding early presidential elections.

The army was responsible for governing Egypt for about a yearfollowing the fall of Hosni Mubarak, and it seemed pretty clear thatthey have no desire to have to govern again. At the press conference,El-Sisi gave the podium to a series of non-army officials, includingthe Coptic Orthodox patriarch and nobel Peace Prize winner MohamedElBaradei, who may yet become president of Egypt. The pressconference also included a representative of the extremely religiouslyconservative Salafist al-Nour party, who have been just as shut out byMorsi as the liberals and secularists.

The army has appointed Judge Adly Mahmoud Mansour, 67, head of Egypt’sHigh Constitutional Court (HCC) to be the interim president until newpresidential elections can be held.

The only major group that didn’t take part in the army’s pressconference was the Muslim Brotherhood. They were invited, butdeclined to attend. About 30% of Egypt’s population are MuslimBrotherhood supporters, and they are currently furious. So far, therehave only been sporadic acts of violence between the pro-Morsi andanti-Morsi groups, but it seems likely that much worse violence is tocome. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Al-Ahram

President Obama’s Egypt statement does not use the word ‘coup’

Egypt’s army is claiming that it’s coup is not really a coup.The reasoning is that a real coup is done in secret, killingthe leader and the replacing him with the leader of the coupplotters. But what happened on Wednesday is not a coup. Itwas the army enforcing the will of the vast majority of thepeople, and then providing a roadmap to return to civilianrule within a few months.

The reason that the army is saying this kind of transparent nonsenseis that Egypt receives $1.5 billion in U.S. aid per year, and theU.S. has a strict law that aid will be terminated to any country wherethe army stages a coup against a democratically elected leader.

Everyone understands that it would be a disaster for the entireregion, including Israel, if U.S. aid to Egypt were suspended.For that reason, both Cairo and Washington are being verycareful not to use the word “coup” when describing what happenedon Wednesday.

Preside Barack Obama issued a very tough statement that didnot use the word “coup”:

The United States is monitoring the very fluidsituation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future ofEgypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people. Nevertheless,we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian ArmedForces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptianconstitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quicklyand responsibly to return full authority back to a democraticallyelected civilian government as soon as possible through aninclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitraryarrests of President Morsy and his supporters. Given today’sdevelopments, I have also directed the relevant departments andagencies to review the implications under U.S. law for ourassistance to the Government of Egypt.

As of this writing, nobody seems to know where Mohamed Morsi is, andhe may have been arrested. Certainly some of his supporters have beenarrested. So one part of Obama’s statement has already been violated.

The last sentence is the most threatening. It says, in essence, thataid may be cut off if Egypt doesn’t return to civilian rule quickly. 

CBS News and White House statement 

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Egypt, Mohamed Morsi,Muslim Brotherhood, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi,Adly Mahmoud Mansour
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