Egypt’s military booted Mohammed Morsi and replaced Morsi with the chief justice of the constitutional court as the interim head of state.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt’s top military commander, said the country’s constitution has been temporarily suspended until new elections could be held.
In Tahrir Square and elsewhere around Egypt, millions of anti-Morsi Egyptians celebrated loudly while, in some instances only blocks away, thousands of Morsi supporters gathered. As of yet, it has been a bloodless coup. But, with the mercurial mid-East passions, journalists and commentators are speculating how long the “peaceful” overthrow will last.
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Morsi, whose whereabouts were not immediately known, said on his presidential Facebook page that the military’s action “represents a military coup and it is unacceptable.”
An aide said Morsi, who spent the day working in his office, had been moved to an undisclosed location.
In Washington, a U.S. official said nonessential diplomats and embassy families had been ordered to leave Egypt amid the unrest.
In appointing Adli Mansour the new interim leader, el-Sissi also said a government of technocrats would be formed with “full powers” to run the country. He did not specify how long the transition period would last or when new elections might be held.
Top military officials and opposition leaders met Wednesday and agreed on a political roadmap for the country’s future, el-Sissi said. A new presidential cabinet will be formed as well as a national reconciliation committee, which will include youth movements that have been behind anti-Morsi demonstrations.
Pentagon Spokesman George Little said there has been no change in terms of the U.S. military pre-positioning assets in and around Egypt in the event they are called upon to assist the U.S. embassy in Cairo.
The DEBKA file account:
Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Khalil Al-Sisi announced Wednesday night, July 3, that the head of the constitution court will act as provisional president and form an interim government of technocrats to run the country until early presidential and parliamentary elections.
He was flanked by Christian, secular opposition and Muslim leaders. Al-Sisi said that all the army’s efforts to effect a national dialogue and reconciliation were welcomed by all factions and blocked by President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt’s military coup d’etat has been bloodless for now. President Mohamed Morsi was taken from his palace to a military barracks. Muslim Brotherhood officials were detained and issued with travel bans. Army tanks, APCs and troops, including commandos, are deployed at key facilities in the capital and positioned so as to seal off and separate rival groups of demonstrators.
Muslim Brotherhood followers continue to stream into the city to join the pro-Morsi rally around Cairo University. Violence clashes have so far been averted.
Sources in Cairo report that top Muslim Brotherhood officials will be tried for “crimes” committed during their year in office. Prime Minister Hisham Kandil and the remaining ministers have left their offices with their possessions.
Defense minister Gen. El-Sisi spent the afternoon conferring with leading politicians and clerics. Muslim Brotherhood leaders refused to attend.
The crash of Morsi’s presidency would seriously undermine the objectives of the Arab Revolt pursued by the Obama administration as the arch-stone of his Middle East policy.
The Americans proposed instead to leave Morsi in place after stripping him of presidential authority and installing a transitional government to prepare the country for new elections to the presidency and parliament.
DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report that the army chiefs led by Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi rejected the American proposal.
For now the world waits and watches to see how the Muslim Brotherhood and other Morsi supporters react.
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