Thursday, July 4, 2013

World News: Egyptian army ousts president

After spending one year in office, Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by the military Wednesday, by the same kind of Arab Spring uprising that brought the Islamist leader to power, media outlets reported Wednesday.

The Egyptian military announced they would install a temporary civilian government to replace Morsi, who called the action a “full coup” by the generals. The army also suspended the Islamist-drafted constitution and called for new elections.

While just about every other main event around the world held America’s attention, including the watch of former South African president Nelson Mandela’s health condition and the return of the Obama family from the country, and the George Zimmerman murder trial in Florida, things got real in Egypt pretty fast on Wednesday.

After the army chief announced the developments, millions of anti-Morsi protestors around the country erupted in celebrations with dancing, singing and shouting “Long live Egypt” and fireworks.

Avoiding the violent reaction by Morsi’s supporters, troops and armored vehicles wree deployed throughout the streets of Cairo and surrounding Islamist rallies. The Associated Press reported that clashes broke out in several areas when Islamists opened fire on police. Security official said at least nine people were killed.

A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood party said Morsi was under house arrest, along with presidential aides. All the while the army took control of state media and arrested the head of the Brotherhood’s political wing. 

It’s unbelievable this is happening since the country was on track to a peaceful democracy, until the 2011 Arab Spring that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

Now you may be wondering what this news has to do with the United States. The U.S. government sends foreign aid to Egypt - $1.5 billion a year in military and economic assistance, according to AP. President Barack Obama treaded lightly when commenting on the situation and urged the military to hand back control to a democratic, civilian government as soon as possible. Obama was “deeply concerned” and said he was ordering the U.S. government to assess what the Egyptian military’s actions meant for the aid to that country while not taking sides in the conflict.

The conflict actually began in the beginning of the week when army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi had given Morsi an ultimatum to find a solution to meet the demands of anti-government demonstrators in 48 hours but Morsi stood firm on the legitimacy from an election he won with 51.7 percent of the vote last June, according to AP. No deal was met, so the military made the move despite opposition activists and pro-reform leaders tried to bring a consensus, but the Brotherhood boycotted the sessions.
Ousted President Mohammed Morsi

In a statement issued by his office, Morsi said it is unacceptable to take sides in such a situation. “Justice dictates that the voice of the masses from all squares should be heard,” Morsi said. Morsi’s top foreign policy adviser Essam al-Haddad wrote on his Facebook page, “For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: Military coup.”

Meanwhile, nearly 50 people have been killed during clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents since Sunday. Morsi’s opponents told the AP that the president vowded to move the country forward but instead threw the country into deep polarization and mismanaged multiple crises. To Morsi’s credit, his allies say the opposition neve accepted the appeals for dialogue and that former president Mubarak’s loyalists sabotaged attempts to bring change.

Wednesday afternoon media outlets announced that the head of the Egyptian constitutional court will serve as president until elections.  

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