Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the head of the military, just finished the announcement as I’m writing this. Fun fact: He was appointed by Morsi himself after Gen. Tantawi, the head of the junta that preceded Morsi, was removed to avert his own possible coup attempt. Morsi must have thought Sisi would be more loyal/subservient. Oops.
Tahrir Square has gone berserk — flags, fireworks, cheering. No more Morsi:
Sisi says they tired to negotiate with Morsi since November, but refused. The constitution has been suspended. A technocratic government, run by the ned of the supreme constitutional court, will run the country until elections can be held. The people are ecstatic.
I’ve seen rumors on Twitter that Mohamed ElBaradei will be appointed interim prime minister but can’t find anything solid on that yet. More fallout:
Updates coming, but wrestle with this for now: Is this a U.S.-approved coup or a U.S.-opposed coup? As of yesterday, the answer was clear. As of this morning, it was … less clear. That’s “leading from behind” in action!
Update: More from Business Insider: “Military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi then called for presidential and parliamentary elections, the establishment of a panel to review the constitution, and a national reconciliation committee that would include youth movements.” Sounds like the next government will be more secular. Will it be more democratic? Does the State Department care at this point?
Update: Interesting news. Sunni clerics blessed the coup?
Egypt’s leading Muslim and Christian clerics and the leader of the liberal opposition alliance Mohamed ElBaradei will jointly present a roadmap for a political transition shortly, state news agency MENA said on Wednesday…
The clerics would be the Grand Sheikh of Cairo’s Al-Azhar institution, a leading authority in the Muslim world, and Pope Tawadros, the head of the Coptic Church and leader of Egypt’s millions of Christians.
There were religious figures onstage with Sisi when he made the announcement but I’m not sure who they were offhand. I believe one was Tawadros; was the head of Al-Azhar there too? I don’t understand at first blush why Sunni clerics would endorse toppling the country’s first Islamist president unless the army somehow made it worth their while. The question now is whether the clerical endorsement will soothe some of the opposition from the Muslim Brotherhood or whether it won’t matter.
Update: It’s not just Egyptians who are enjoying this.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fighting to crush a two-year-old uprising against four decades of rule by him and his late father, said on Wednesday the upheaval in Egypt was a defeat for political Islam.
“Whoever brings religion to use in politics or in favor of one group at the expense of another will fall anywhere in the world,” Assad was quoted as telling the official Thawra newspaper, according to an official Facebook page.
“The summary of what is happening in Egypt is the fall of what is called political Islam.”
Update: No criticism of the coup from the U.S. — yet. Not sure if that helps us answer the approved/opposed question up top.
Update: Morsi has reportedly posted a video on YouTube asserting that he’s still president. I haven’t seen a copy anywhere (yet).
Update: A minor snag in federal law: If this is indeed a “military coup,” then the U.S. government is required to suspend aid. I wonder what sort of Orwellian parsing Obama and the State Department will use to decide that no, technically, this is not a coup after all.