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Egypt's Second Revolution

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Morsi Removed: Army Suspends Constitution, Announces Provisional Government

July 3rd 2013

General Al-Sisi

In an announcement on state TV that caused the Tahrir Square protesters to erupt in jubilation, Army head General Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi announced the suspension of the constitution, the removal of President Morsi from office, and the creation of a provisional government headed by Adli Mansour, Egypt's Chief Justice of the High Constitutional Court. General Al-Sisi made it clear that the new government will be inclusive of all sectors of Egypt's national constituency. He announced a "roadmap to national reconciliation," and a plan to include every Egyptian in the planning of the new government, appearing to hold the Army out of a direct role in that government--acting only as its guardian.

General Al-Sisi made his announcement surrounded by a number of top military, police, and civilian officials who sat in two rows on either side of the podium including: the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II; the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque, Ahmed El-Tayyeb; Mohammed El-Baradei; a representative of Nour Party; Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, one of the anti-Morsi Rebel campaign's founders; and a senior judicial figure. In setting out the initial scope of the four points of the Army's roadmap, Al-Sisi stated: "Our roadmap consists of: 1) Suspending the constitution; 2) Holding early presidential elections. The High Constitutional Court head will be in charge of the country until then; 3) Forming a national coalition government; 4) Forming a committee to look into amendments of the constitution. Taking measures to include the Egyptian youth in the decision-making process."

Egypt has been roiling in protest once again in the past week, as a year's worth of disenchantment and disappointment came to a head. Protests against Morsi have drawn much larger crowds than the still-substantial Muslim Brotherhood, pro-Morsi demonstrations. Since Morsi's arrival in the Presidency much of Egypt's society has complained of being mired in breakdown and failure on almost every social and economic level. There has been a profound uptick in Islamist religious violence against Copts, women, and secular Egyptians. Crime is rampant. Basic social services have been reduced to nearly nil. The Army has absorbed multiple deadly attacks by the Brotherhood's Gaza branch--Hamas. Furthermore, shortages of food, gasoline, and jobs are endemic, plaguing the economy. The groups in opposition to Morsi claim to have collected over 22 million signatures on petitions demanding Morsi resignation--more people than the number who voted for Morsi and Brotherhood candidates in the elections just over a year ago.

Three Muslim Brotherhood TV stations were shut down by the authorities just after the announcement of Morsi's sacking. Morsi himself has--as have numerous Brotherhood supporters and Parliamentarians--been on social media, furiously defending their government and President. Morsi is now under house under arrest, and there are reliable ports of arrest warrants issued for 300 Muslim Brotherhood members. Nevertheless, it appears that the Army and the other parts of Egyptian society that engineered this reset of the government want to steer clear of having their actions characterized as a military coup. Indeed, it does seem to fall short of the traditional definition, though the Army has gone through considerable verbal gymnastics to maintain that impression. They were clear, however, in Al-Sisi's statement that the Army will not allow the country to become a victim of "terrorists or fools," without making it clear which description they believe covers Morsi.

Russell Grayson is a former attorney and faculty member at Rutgers University Graduate School of Management, and serves as a correspondent and editor with The Cutting Edge.

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