Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Egypt: Morsi declares war

With my blood
The Army stepped in, sending five helicopters with the Egyptian flag dangling below them, to fly over the packed Tahrir square in Cairo, and helicopters – sans  flags – to fly over a pro-Morsi gathering.

Earlier, the Army had leaked its own plan for the next few months:

A retired army general with close ties to the military confirmed the news agency report's version of the road map.
 Hossam Sweilam said a panel of experts would draft a new constitution and the interim administration would be a presidential council led by the Supreme Constitutional Court's chief justice and including the defense minister, representatives of political parties, youth groups, Al-Azhar Mosque and the Coptic Church.

He said the military envisaged a one-year transitional period before presidential elections are held.

Morsi has now risen to the challenge, and faced up to the Army:

Egypt's president has vowed to defend the legitimacy of his elected office with his life, amid deadly protests.
 In a late-night televised appeal for calm, Mohammed Morsi rejected an army ultimatum that the country's crisis be resolved by Wednesday.

Mr Morsi admitted he had made mistakes, pledging his loyalty to the people but urging protesters to remain peaceful, insisting he would not be dictated to.

Morsi gave his reasons, as these extracts show:

24:25 A defiant speech from President Morsi. His supporters at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque are celebrating, while massive anti-Morsi crowds at Ittihadiya palace and in Tahrir Square are chanting "Leave!"
24:22 "My iron will is with my people and is unshaken." President Morsi finishes the speech after saluting the nation.
24:19 "Legitimacy and legitimacy alone, the constitution and constitution alone, and the elections and the elections alone."
24:17 "There are many challenges but the biggest is not to fall in the trap and take the country in the wrong direction, and make our enemies happy."
24:15 "To save the nation we need to sacrifice, but not against each other....when we announce jihad that must be against foreign enemies and not against each other. We sacrifice for our country and I am the first to sacrifice. If the cost for legitimacy is my blood I will give it easily."
24:12 "The constitution which we all uphold and respect says that the government that will be chosen by the parliament will have more authorities than the president."
24:10 "We have to prove to the world that we are capable of democracy...peacefully we protect the legitimacy...legitimacy is our only guard from future faults....I do not accept anyone saying anything or taking steps against legitimacy; this is completely rejected."
24:07 "After this I decided there is no alternative for legitimacy and keeping an open channel for dialogue...Legitimacy is the only guarantee against violence.The old regime won’t return....If this initiative isn’t accepted, the country will go down a dark road and we’ll be back to square one."
24:05  "I called for dialogue. An initiative was made to talk with the opposition, form a new government, hasten the elections laws to hold parliamentary elections soon after 6 months, resolve the crisis of the prosecutor-general, empower youth in decision making."
24:02 "There is no problem with peaceful protests."
24:00 "I want to say some clear points...There is no alternative for legitimacy, constitutional legitimacy, legal legitimacy, the legitimacy of elections held before."
23:58 Morsi continues: "We want a strong army; don’t ever insult the Egyptian army. Safeguard the army with me because it is our support. Don’t ever use violence against it. I’m telling all Egyptians - no violence between each other or towards the army or police.
Violence and bloodshed is a trap, if we fall into it, its the end of us."
23:56 "I will safeguard legitimacy with my life."
23:54 "My message to you all, to the opposition, is that I will stand by this legitimacy. And to the supporters who respect democracy and love legitimacy, safeguard Egypt and the revolution. Don’t let the revolution be stolen from you, opponents and supporters."

Now the Army has to take the steps it said it would. This means a repudiation of Morsi's call for the Army to back off, appointment of an interim governing body, and the beginning of constitution-drafting.

Some key things to watch for in this new Army-driven constitution: whether women are given equal rights; the role of Sharia law; what powers the Army retains for itself; the extent of civilian oversight the Army will tolerate.

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