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The boat with two captains sinks.
August 13, 2012 12:02 AM   Subscribe

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy sacks the head of the Army. Hussein Tantawi (head of the Egyptian Army and SCAF) has been dismissed as the Egyptian president asserts his power over the traditionally dominant military. Morsy has also cancelled the SCAF memorandum keeping legislative powers with the military council, and it's widely thought that the fight over that will end up at the constitutional court again. If the cancellation stands, Morsi will also have almost complete control of the constitutional drafting process.
posted by Hosni Mubarak (36 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Good: 'Bout time somebody showed the Egyptian military what's what

The Bad: That "somebody" is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood

The Caveat: He was voted in fair and square

I hope someone with a comprehensive knowledge of Egyptian politics can come in and give us a nuanced analysis of the situation. How exactly is the drafting of the constitution going to work, and have any checks and balances been put in place to ensure equal voice is given to minority views?
posted by schroedinger at 12:20 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's one of the more LOL-worthy usernames I've seen in some time there, Hosni.
posted by JHarris at 12:29 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't be a sore loser, Hosni.
posted by eurypteris at 12:32 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


if there was a "most fitting tags/username" contest, this would win it. agree w/ schroedinger... hope someone can step in with some great analysis here.

my (limited) understanding is that MB functions as a social aid group, which leads to their support among the electorate. of course, i'm probably wrong.
posted by raihan_ at 12:38 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


there's a little more backstory:

Tantawi stayed on as defense minister in the new Cabinet. Egypt launched airstrikes in response to attacks on military checkpoints in the Sinai. Morsi skipped the funerals for 16 soldiers that Tantawi attended. Morsi also fired 'Intelligence chief and governor of Northern Sinai' Murad Muwafi and later visited the town of el-Arish in the norhtern Sinai.

Marc Lynch of FP urges taking the long view. And Qatar has pledged $2 billion for Egypt's central bank.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:24 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Related AskMe: Did Mohamed Morsi really say these things? To paraphrase a translation from the best answer (by gg):

The Qur'an is our constitution. It has been and will continue to be, will remain, our constitution. The Qur'an is our constitution. And the Prophet is our leader. And jihad is our path. And death in the path/way of God is our highest hope. And above all this, God is our utmost aim.
posted by sbutler at 1:36 AM on August 13, 2012


Well, at this point this definitely has the air of a prearranged deal whereby Tantawi and others odiously implicated in the Mubarak regime get off scot-free and Mursi gets control of the government and the duly elected parliament gets to be seated. As such I feel this likely happened with appropriate foreknowledge in Foggy Bottom and thus the primary US interest here, the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, will remain intact. The press in Israel, indeed, seems almost calm about the situation.

As for the constitution, I think it's important to think of the overall process as more valuable than the document itself. The rule of law is not going to come from a piece of paper; it will take years of massive institutional reform, especially of the judiciary. A juvenile parliament, its chains shed after years of repression, is likely to feel little restraint regardless of what gets put into the basic law.
posted by dhartung at 1:50 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't be a sore loser, Hosni.

يا جزمة يا ابن الجزمة
posted by Hosni Mubarak at 1:57 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


There was a good overview of the powers possessed by the army in The Economist a few weeks ago.

I was disappointed that the Time article in the original post took the approach of insinuating that the matter is a battle between two different types of authoritarianism, which it is not. Unexplained quotations which mention 'jihad' in a scary-looking way are not helpful either.

The fact is that Morsi is a democratically-elected president, and the transition from dictatorship to a better society was never going to be easy. Of course it is legitimate to ask whether democratic institutions can be sustained over the long term, but it would be nice if the debate could be based on something more than pointing out that the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamist organisation and making vague statements about 'concerns'.

The Muslim Brotherhood has a long and complex history, but its brand of Islamism is quite different to that of other groups which are frequently given that label in the Western media, i.e. al-Qaeda. And it is not as extreme as the Salafist Al-Nour Party, which did well in the parliamentary elections.
posted by mattn at 2:14 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


In related news, the Egyptian Shura Council (the Egyptian Parliament's upper house) has just sacked fifty editors of state-run newspapers and replaced them with ones who are friendlier to the new regime. I understand that the Speaker of the Shura Council, Dr Ahmed Fahmi, is actually Mohammed Morsi's brother-in-law.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:50 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


In related news, the Egyptian Shura Council (the Egyptian Parliament's upper house) has just sacked fifty editors of state-run newspapers and replaced them with ones who are friendlier to the new regime. I understand that the Speaker of the Shura Council, Dr Ahmed Fahmi, is actually Mohammed Morsi's brother-in-law.

Well, they've had a good 50 years in opposition to keep these plans in the drawer. I'd imagine they have Lists.
posted by jaduncan at 2:58 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


In related news, the Egyptian Shura Council (the Egyptian Parliament's upper house) has just sacked fifty editors of state-run newspapers and replaced them with ones who are friendlier to the new regime. I understand that the Speaker of the Shura Council, Dr Ahmed Fahmi, is actually Mohammed Morsi's brother-in-law.


Question: how many state-run newspapers are there in total? Having the state appoint newspaper editors doesn't sound like a good system, but if that is what is going to take place (and presumably dismantling a loss-making industry that employs 30,000 people is not an easy task) it is not necessarily illegitimate that some of them will be supportive of a party which won 37.5% of the popular vote in the parliamentary elections.

By all means be critical of the Muslim Brotherhood and its approach to governance, but it seems like a lot of these articles begin with the a priori assumption that Egypt is going to descend into extreme Islamist tyranny, which is not necessarily the case.
posted by mattn at 3:36 AM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Question: how many state-run newspapers are there in total? Having the state appoint newspaper editors doesn't sound like a good system, but if that is what is going to take place (and presumably dismantling a loss-making industry that employs 30,000 people is not an easy task) it is not necessarily illegitimate that some of them will be supportive of a party which won 37.5% of the popular vote in the parliamentary elections.

Especially given that the previous guys were selected by a dictator.
posted by jaduncan at 3:56 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I acknowledge that the previous guys were (partly? mostly? solely?) Mubarak's party hacks, but honestly: sacking them and replacing them with MB party hacks does not inspire confidence in the new regime. I don't know that the new guys will be worse than Mubarak's regime, but so far there is zero evidence that they're going to be any better.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:04 AM on August 13, 2012


As always, The Arabist is a good source for what is happening the MENA. Good reading on Syria as well.
posted by NoMich at 4:07 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good reading on Syria as well.

Ummm...in addition to what is happening in Egypt as well. I didn't mean to make it sound like Syria was in a different part of the world.
posted by NoMich at 4:26 AM on August 13, 2012


Meet the new boss...same as the old boss
posted by Renoroc at 4:46 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know that the new guys will be worse than Mubarak's regime, but so far there is zero evidence that they're going to be any better.

Except that the MB have participated in parliamentary and presidential elections which were far more open than those which occurred under Mubarak. The current political system of Egypt and that of the Mubarak era are not equivalent 'regimes'.

Had I been eligible to vote, it would not have been for the Muslim Brotherhood, and in many ways it is too early to tell what the outcome of the political settlement of the Arab Spring will be. But the fact that Egypt has not immediately become a secular liberal democracy does not mean that there are no grounds for optimism. The task of replacing a dictatorship and its attendant state was never going to be easy and will inevitably lead to new grabs of power, but this does not mean that Egypt will necessarily descend into a new tyranny.
posted by mattn at 5:04 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh, for Pete's sake. Some people ought to stop pretending they can predict the future just so that others will think they've got the smartest, most jaded, cagiest, realpolitikiest world view.

I don't know what is going to happen in Egypt and neither do you. But every time someone asserts that an Islamic party can't protect democratic institutions, the Patriot Act gets its wings.
posted by samofidelis at 5:18 AM on August 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


But every time someone asserts that an Islamic party can't protect democratic institutions, the Patriot Act gets its wings.

...who here said that? It's stupid on its face because of Malaysia, Indonesia and whatnot.
posted by jaduncan at 5:50 AM on August 13, 2012


Add Turkey and the JDP/AKP, if we're looking more locally.
posted by jaduncan at 5:52 AM on August 13, 2012


An article in the Wall Street Journal this morning suggests that the dismissals may be part of a larger bargain with the military...
The president will retain both Field Marshal Tantawi and Lt. Gen. Anan as advisers, said Yasser Ali, Mr. Morsi's spokesman. The arrangement suggests that the men were consulted in advance and had prepared their resignations willingly. Mr. Morsi also awarded each of them "Order of the Nile" medals—Egypt's highest state honor—and appointed Mahmoud Mekki, a senior judge who built his reputation on challenging Egypt's former regime, as vice president.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:54 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]



يا جزمة يا ابن الجزمة

You shoe, you son of a shoe.
posted by Mojojojo at 5:56 AM on August 13, 2012


You can't have a functioning democracy in which the military can overrule the elected government. Appointing the top military brass to important government posts seems like a good way to be allowed to do (or unimpeded in doing) the transition of power.
posted by parudox at 6:13 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't have a functioning democracy in which the military can overrule the elected government. Appointing the top military brass to important government posts seems like a good way to be allowed to do (or unimpeded in doing) the transition of power.

It's gradual; look at how many times Turkey, Greece and Pakistan have gone back and forth between civilian and military control.
posted by jaduncan at 6:19 AM on August 13, 2012


jadunacan -- I think it's pretty clear from the remarks in this thread that some people think the Muslim Beotherhood could never conceivably safeguard a democratic regime, that the most incendiary quotations they can find light a clear path toward the formation of a fundamentalist state. In five minutes time I could find far more apocalyptic Reagan sound bites. In point of fact, I don't think they really believe this is how the situation will evolve; they just think it sounds cool to say ominous ish on the internet.

As far as having lists is concerned? Everybody has lists. I bet the municipal government of Schaumburg, Illinois has lists. Excuse me, Lists. I missed that Significant Capitalization Nudge Nudge New Boss Same as the Old Boss. Good grief.

This could all go pear shaped. Or it could all go fine. No one knows. Anyway, I don't mean to single you out, jadunacan, since I think that's clearly not your line of argument -- though I do think it is precisely that of a large number of commenters; I just wanted to respond to you directly in kind.
posted by samofidelis at 7:03 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Also because I'm quite certain you have a far more fluent understanding of the situation than I do.)
posted by samofidelis at 7:06 AM on August 13, 2012


samofidelis, concern about the Muslim Brotherhood is not necessarily "Oh but what does this mean for AMURIKA nand our freedoms and the Islamists will jihad all over our flag" hand-wringing. Plenty of secular and non-Muslim Egyptians are also concerned about these developments. They're hardly fundamentalist extremists, but given Egyptian has existed as an ostensibly secular state for so long the concern is the same as if a president explicitly representing particular Christian interests (say, running for The Baptist Political Collective of America) was elected in America.
posted by schroedinger at 7:16 AM on August 13, 2012


Boy, can those Egyptians swear: "'May God destroy your house.' Also on the milder end of the scale of insults."
posted by benito.strauss at 9:37 AM on August 13, 2012


>Don't be a sore loser, Hosni.

> يا جزمة يا ابن الجزمة

>You shoe, you son of a shoe

You son of a shoe is more helpful than google's "O son of my boots boots".
posted by skrozidile at 11:21 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Schroedinger -- but that's not what's going on here. Instead, people are too busy trying to tap their nose and nod at you as though they've got some highly sophisticated read on the situation, as though the rest of us were dumb mooks too happy to see the Egyptians straight wrecking shit in Tahrir Square without thinking about the Serious Consequences (tm). Of course, I could certainly be importing my frustration with my colleagues, who do this as though it were both their job and a genetic imperative.

You son of a shoe is more helpful than google's "O son of my boots boots".

Maybe, but the latter really speaks to me. Sing, o son of my boots boots, of the rage of Achilles (etc).
posted by samofidelis at 11:32 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]




Foreign Affairs: Morsi Makes His Move
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:04 AM on August 14, 2012


"My Boot Boots" was the Shaggs' followup to their biggest hit, My Pal Foot Foot.
posted by msalt at 8:45 AM on August 14, 2012






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