Egypt’s military has drawn up a plan to suspend the Islamist-backed constitution, dissolve the Islamist-dominated legislature and set up an interim administration headed by the country’s chief justice if President Mohammed Morsi fails to reach a solution with his opponents by the end of a Wednesday deadline, the state news agency reported.
The report Tuesday provided the first details on the road map that the military has said it will implement if Morsi fails to meet its ultimatum, as millions of protesters returned to the streets for the third straight day in their drive to force the Islamist president out of office.
Protesters also turned to a new target, massing a giant crowd outside the Qasr el-Qobba presidential palace where Morsi has been working in recent days, in addition to filling wide avenues outside another palace, central Tahrir Square and main squares in cities nationwide.
It was not clear if Morsi was in the palace.
Morsi’s supporters also increased their presence in the streets, after his Muslim Brotherhood and hard-line Islamist leaders called them out to defend the legitimacy of the country’s first freely elected president. Tens of thousands held marches in Cairo and other cities. Clashes broke out around pro-Morsi marches in several parts of the capital and a string of cities to the north and south. Morsi opponents stormed Brotherhood offices in two towns.
The army has underlined that it has no intention to take power. But the reported army road map showed it was ready to replace Morsi and make a sweeping change in the ramshackle political structure that has evolved since the 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
A retired army general with close ties to the military confirmed the news agency report on 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.
The problem for Morsi is that Egypt’s military has managed to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the people, many of whom would welcome its intervention to move Egypt away from the theocratic Islamist direction the Muslim Brotherhood and its fundamentalist Salafi allies are taking the country. Some protesters chanted, “The army and the people are one hand!” when they heard the military’s announcement.
The military has been careful to emphasize its temporary role, if needed, in facilitating a peaceful path to a more inclusive government. It wants to stay in general favor with the masses by re-assuring those in the opposition who worry about trading an authoritarian Muslim Brotherhood-led regime for another military dictatorship. However, to avoid a backlash from the country’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters who would feel disenfranchised if Morsi were to be forced out of power, the military’s roadmap might consist of some sort of coalition government in which Morsi would still play a role until new elections can be scheduled.
The Muslim Brotherhood is not appearing to back down just yet. “We understand it as a military coup,” one adviser to Mr. Morsi was quoted by theNew York Times as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity. “What form that will take remains to be seen.” The adviser went on to say that the Muslim Brotherhood should not be expected to necessarily “take this lying down.”
For Egypt's Military, There's No Turning Back
Just hours after publishing an unequivocal statement that put it firmly on the opposition’s side, Egypt’s military, late Monday night, issued a second announcement in which its leaders attempted to regain a more neutral position.
“Military coups are not part of our ideology,” the later message said. “The published statement was meant to push the sides towards an agreement… We have no plan of taking power into our own hands.”
The military’s late attempt to paint itself as an impartial broker between the secular and Islamist camps failed to sound convincing, however, especially when juxtaposed with the photo that may become the icon for the next revolution, of air force helicopters hovering over Tahrir Square with Egyptian flags dangling from them.
The sight of the helicopters, with the setting sun in the background, enthused the crowds on the ground who could only glean one thing from the display: the military had thrown down the gauntlet.
Morsi, who just a few days ago seemed to convey confidence in a public address, found himself on Monday night weaker than ever. Eleven Cabinet ministers as well as members of Parliament and regional governors have submitted their resignations. Belief that Morsi will survive is dwindling, especially in light of the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are still swarming to Tahrir Square.
He has two guns to his head now: one held by the opposition, whose ultimatum will end at 5 pm Tuesday, and one held by the army, whose ultimatum expires Wednesday afternoon. Protest groups have already announced that if the president isn’t out by 5 pm, they will announce a general strike that will bring the country to a standstill.
What will the military actually do when it’s 48-hour ultimatum to Morsi expires? Not much it seems. The chances of a military coup seem slim at the moment. It may be that as part of their promised “Road map” the army will demand Morsi take steps for appeasement or even leave office. If he doesn’t comply, the army may simply carry on its current policy of letting the protesters do as they like, including attacking regime institutions.
In such a scenario, Morsi may even turn to the army himself, requesting to be saved.
Opposition: Morsi's Speech Equivalent To 'Civil War'
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi vowed to stay in power and defend constitutional legitimacy on Wednesday as generals worked on plans to push the Islamist aside within the day and suspend the constitution.
In a defiant midnight television address responding to military demands that he share power with his opponents or see the army impose its own solution, Morsi warned that any deviation from the democratic order approved in a series of votes last year would lead Egypt down a dangerous path.
He was speaking as vast crowds of protesters rallied in central Cairo and across the nation to demand the Muslim Brotherhood politician's resignation in a third night of mass demonstrations. His supporters also turned out and some were involved in clashes with security forces at Cairo University.
"The price of preserving legitimacy is my life," Morsi said in an impassioned, repetitive, 45-minute ramble. "Legitimacy is the only guarantee to preserve the country."
An opposition spokesman called Morsi's defiance "an open call for civil war". Peaceful protests would go on, he said.
Egypt's opposition alliance said Morsi's refusal on Tuesday to accept a military ultimatum to share power had put the country on course for confrontation and raised the risk of violence.
"This is leading to confrontation, not offering any compromise or listening to people on the streets, and we are very alarmed about escalation of violence," said Khaled Dawoud, spokesman for the National Salvation Front.
WV....Congratulations from Mrs C and myself also. Somehow our entry on the last thread seemed to vanish.
Hey all here is a line from Glen Greewald the reporter from the Guardian newspaper who broke the Snowden NSA story ....."The NSA has a “brand new” technology that enables one billion cell phone calls a day to be redirected into its data hoards and stored, according to the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, who said that a new leak of Snowden’s documents was ‘coming soon.’
Calling it part of a “globalized system to destroy all privacy,” and the enduring creation of a climate of fear, Greenwald outlined the capabilities of the NSA to store every single call while having “the capability to listen to them at any time,” while speaking via Skype to the Socialism Conference in Chicago, on Friday.
Greenwald was the first journalist to leak Snowden’s documents, having travelled to Hong Kong to review them prior to exposure.
“What we’re really talking about here is a globalized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency,” he said.
Let that sink in .
Peace Nathan .
Caver - I have no idea what may have happened (?) - but it does happen periodically
Nathan - All I can say is....wow.....just....wow
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