Egypt’s Military Ousts President Morsi, Angering His Islamist Supporters

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After days of mounting speculation and brinkmanship, the Egyptian army carried out its threat to end the country’s crippling ideological divide by ousting President Mohamed Morsi — just over one year after he was inaugurated as the country’s first democratically elected civilian President.

Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sissi announced the move shortly after 9 p.m. Cairo time, following two hours of military deployment with soldiers and armored personal carriers taking up positions around the capital.

Flanked by an array of public figures including opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, Coptic Pope Tawadros II and sheik of al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb, al-Sissi — who was promoted to the position by Morsi last August — announced that Adli Mansour, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, would serve as a caretaker executive until a new presidential election could be held later this year. The constitution — which Morsi’s government rammed through with a rushed referendum in January, a divisive process that alienated large swaths of the public — has been suspended.

(PHOTOS: Egyptians Protest the Rule of Morsi, Celebrate Ouster)

Al-Sissi’s announcement capped a year that has witnessed a devastating reversal of fortune for the Muslim Brotherhood, the historic Islamist group that seemed poised to be the prime beneficiary of Egypt’s post-Mubarak democratic windfall.

It captured a parliamentary majority only to see that parliament dissolved by the judiciary in the first salvo of what would turn out to be an extended war between the Brotherhood and Egyptian judiciary. The loss of the parliament was largely assuaged by the subsequent presidential victory by Morsi. But now it seems that has been snatched from the Brotherhood’s grasp as well.

Exactly how the Brotherhood will react to this maneuver now becomes the most crucial and immediate question facing Egypt. Earlier in the day, as thousands of Morsi supports rallied outside the Rabaa Adaweya mosque in the Cairo district of Nasr City, the Brotherhood cadres expressed an ironclad determination to fight and die for their cause if necessary.

“All of these people here are standing their ground,” said Ahmed Mourad, a 38-year-old engineer, who like many at the rally was wearing a construction helmet in anticipation of an attack. “There will blood on the streets tonight and the army — especially al-Sissi will be responsible.”

The mood at the Nasr City rally as the clock ticked down to zero on Wednesday was difficult to define — marked both by a dogged defiance and mounting helpless anger. Absolutely nobody would admit to being worried about what the rest of the day would bring, but most seemed increasingly angry and bitter. They complained that they have been sold a fraudulent vision of democracy — that they played by the rules only to be conspired against by the deep state and a cynical religion-hating opposition.

“There have been some mistakes,” Ahmed Mohammed, a 39-year-old lawyer and Morsi supporter, told me. “But if President Morsi is removed, it won’t be because of his mistakes. It will be because of a war against Islam.”

Many acknowledged the widespread popular anger on the streets against Morsi and the Brotherhood. What they couldn’t understand was why that anger wasn’t directed toward defeating the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in parliamentary elections — and then targeting Morsi in the next presidential election in 2016. They asked: Why did he have to go now? And why like this?

“I have an elected President. If he leaves it will be because of elections. I can’t accept that he leaves because of protests,” said Ayman Shaaban, a 31-year-old economics professor at al-Azhar University. “I know he is unpopular now. I wasn’t surprised by the crowds on June 30. If I was surprised then I wouldn’t have been living in Egypt for the past year.”

There has been a distinct difference between the rallies of the two opposing sides as this crisis has built since Sunday. The anti-Morsi protesters have been festive and optimistic, buoyed by a sense of momentum; the Morsi supporters defensive and a little paranoid. The Brotherhood people don’t just feel cheated; they feel hunted and persecuted. Their numbers in Nasr City have been robust and consistent. The Brotherhood has always been famously efficient at marshaling a crowd. But the pro-Morsi rallies have also been dwarfed by the size of the anti-Morsi rallies — a fact that became immediately and permanently clear on June 30 when the current protest wave began.

Around 4 p.m., an announcement from the main stage at the main pro-Morsi rally said that senior Brotherhood leaders had refused an invitation to meet with military and opposition officials to discuss some sort of transition plan. “We won’t negotiate under threat,” the announcer shouted as the crowd roared in approval.

It was probably too late for negotiations anyway. About 90 minutes after the deadline had passed, the army mobilization began. Soldiers and armored personal carriers deployed around the city — particularly around the pro-Morsi rallies. State TV reported that Morsi and several other senior Brotherhood leaders had been hit with a travel ban.

But the day’s clearest sign that the writing was on the wall for Morsi came unexpectedly from the Brotherhood itself.

Around 6 p.m. — an hour after the army’s ultimatum deadline — Essam al-Haddad, Morsi’s senior foreign policy adviser, posted a long statement on the presidential office’s Facebook page. It read like a mournful, bitter and frustrated eulogy for the Morsi administration and the era of the Muslim Brotherhood in power. Ominously, it also sounded like the manifesto of an organization that might just decide to give up on the idea of accomplishing its goals through the ballot box.

“As I write these lines I am fully aware that these may be the last lines I get to post on this page. For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: military coup,” al-Haddad wrote. “There are still people in Egypt who believe in their right to make a democratic choice. Hundreds of thousands of them have gathered in support of democracy and the presidency. And they will not leave in the face of this attack. To move them, there will have to be violence. It will either come from the army, the police or the hired mercenaries. Either way there will be considerable bloodshed. And the message will resonate throughout the Muslim world loud and clear: democracy is not for Muslims.”

Khalil is a Cairo-based journalist and author of Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation.

92 comments
Yvonmoua
Yvonmoua

US should cut aide to Egypt military now, may be next few weeks the ppl kill each other like jungle animals in Africa. 

Yohana7
Yohana7

@TIME @TIMEWorld must learn to listen more to people who put you in power than to the interest of your political power.

DarylBrunt
DarylBrunt

I really pity Morsy. There is one logical explanation for most of this. The MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD actually Voted. I guarantee that the % of people who voted in Egypt wasn't 100%. it was likely the usual 56% or something. Just like in the US and in AUS a fair % of the Voting population are TOO ignorant to understand the process. Based on that there is actually no legitimate democracy in the world. So Morsy won, and then the opposition decided to go collect signatures. How about they just re-elect. Save all the drama. 

HeatherOMalley
HeatherOMalley

"Angering His Islamist Supporters" Is their such a thing as a non angry Islamist? And who, besides Obama, cares anyway? 

msuozzi
msuozzi

This puts a thorn in Obama's Muslim ass.

Hopefully the dreams of his father, and himself, are turning into nightmares.

If Egypt won't stand for a Muslim dictatorship; we will certainly not stand for his dream of "The United States of Islam"

Discursions
Discursions

Why not mention all the anti-Obama signs in the crowds?

1rebeldeep
1rebeldeep

@TIME @CNN @ALLWESTERNMEDIA in 2011 you called it the ppls revolution and now your calling it a coup? Leaders of the free world my ass

MohammedYousef
MohammedYousef

Dear Mr. Obama,

For the past 15 years your CIA brains have been planning to change Egypt into another Iraq. Well, NICE TRY. You have FAILED. You don't understand a lot about Egypt, sir. Maybe you should ask your Kenyan Muslim relatives about the status of our country in the Holy Qur'an, or how Prophet Mohamed ,peace be upon him, described our army. Egypt has been mentioned in our Holy Book five times, and is described as a secure country where people live in peace and harmony. Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) has described our soldiers as the best on the planet, stating clearly that our army and the Egyptian people remain united till the end of time. In the Bible, the Egyptian people are described as the blessed nation of Jesus Christ. So Mr. Obama, you can kindly oblige us by calling in your lady of doom Mrs. Anne Patterson back home to the USA, as she is no longer welcomed in Egypt. We hope you have learnt that not all countries yield to manipulation and that you should not attempt to spend the money of American tax payers creating dictatorships in countries of independence and sovereignty. We call upon all Americans whom we know as a peace loving people to seriously investigate their government's sincere endeavors to aid terrorists imposing a fascist regime, is this what they pay taxes to achieve? Are these the human values upon which you have been elected??

Respectfully,
The Egyptian People

bahareh_bahar
bahareh_bahar

@TwitEzel it's really surprising that some force their political views upon others and they call it democracy :/

theOracle
theOracle

Can anyone tell me:

1. What is the relationship between Sharia Law and Morsi's fall?

2. What are the bases for the following groups, Shiite or Sunni?

    Muslim Brotherhood

    Al Qaeda

    Saudi Arabia

Thanks.

btt1943
btt1943

When Morsi came to power after Mubarak was disposed, it was never a revolution per se for the fact that the generals had opposed adamantly to his being elected as the new president. Even then the under current had been strong and unsettling.

Now the military staged a daring coup, after many mass protests that demanded Morsi's departure. This is not a second revolution, Egypt has been under military supervision for decades. Back to square one.        (btt1943, vzc1943)

alpago
alpago

ooo fellow egyptian muslim. You dare call Morsi a failure only one year in power while you all have been living under oppression and tyranny  all your life. Huh, what a waste. It just show how impatience you are, and yet you call it democracy.


isoliman
isoliman

Extremists are cowards and if  our government is honest and supports the truth instead of the unbelievable statement from Mr Obama then Egypt will be safe. Who is responsible for the administration supporting a radical islamic dictator.

SayedRizk
SayedRizk

To the biased Western Media,

Have you forgotten Morsi’ s anti-Semitic remarks (e.g. calling Jews sons of apes and pigs), the sectarian incitement against Christians, and his horrendous record of human rights violations? It seems that as long as he is able to mediate between the US/Israel and his terrorist friends, he can do whatever he likes with the Egyptian people. Do not try to conceal your hypocrisy by shedding those crocodile tears on democracy. Calling what has happened in Egypt a military coup is just another example of your hypocrisy.

radwagamal
radwagamal

@TIME @TIMEWorld unexpected biased view from an ignorant reporter!! Morsi supporters disappeared in front of the millions demanding freedom

EfeSaatcisaatci
EfeSaatcisaatci

@TIME @TIMEWorld Why would you begin as 'Morsi's Islamist supporters'? You degrade Islam and ordinary voters in the same sentence

lbinen
lbinen

Even if Morsi is an intolerant Islamist creep and a terrible, power hungry President, he was democratically and fairly elected by the majority of Egyptians.

The constitution needs to be ratified before new elections.

I hope blood is not shed in the meantime and that the problems are not insurmountable.  Egyptians deserve the peace and prosperity for which they strive. 

kelghayesh
kelghayesh

What happened in Egypt today wasn’t a military coup. It was the implementation of the will of the Egyptian people in rejecting a failed president and the policies of his group. It’s not much different from recalling California Governor Gray Davis in 2003 or forcing President Nixon to resign (to avoid impeachment). The Obama administration failed again to convey a strategy to advance both American interests and values in Egypt. 

chahersoliman
chahersoliman

Clearly, Morsi's speech on July 2 sealed his fate. Being defiant and insisting on the "righteous Constitution (Al Dostur) and all but the Constitution...and the total RESPECT of the Sharia and all for the SHARIA..." (I didn't count how many times he said Sharia!). As he explained that the Sharia is to protect and respect of all Egyptians. He so embraced wholeheartedly the Sharia and highly insisted upon the Sharia's merits to the his ultimate sacrifice of himself, shedding his own blood... He said something like "... People [those anti Moslem Brotherhood] would prefer to go along with yesteryear 'vices' (for lack of a better word or my translation being off - al fassâd in Arabic... I suspect he was referring (subconsciously maybe!) to the western way of life in terms of women attire and other petty issues, but too major for the extremist and prude Moslems...

His speech proved he was staunchly unyielding, hence he's out. A little later, on July 3 -- I believe out of desperation --, Morsi offered to share power with the oppositions, negotiate with them. All too little and so, so too late -- so, game over!

Morsi and the MB out - good riddance!

I am an Egyptian-Canadian for forty-some years now and I sincerely hope and pray that REASON, TOLERANCE, FAIR PLAY and WISDOM will lead the Egyptian to a lasting PEACE along with a thriving genuine DEMOCRACY and much prosperity.

Congratulations to all Egyptians of all creeds.

SherifKozman
SherifKozman

@TIME @TIMEWorld haven't you seem the millions of people pouring into the streets ousting a fascist dictator! Turn on your TVs people

pdmclamore
pdmclamore

I wonder how much the Egyptian military would charge to come over here and oust our white house occupants.


fforrett
fforrett

This must be upsetting to Obama; his friends in the muslim brotherhood may be replaced with secularists.

MohamedBekEisa
MohamedBekEisa

@Yvonmoua Egypt are civilized people .. and The muslim brothers are liars so ther are overthrown , thank you for your bad words , I'm as an Egyptian won't say like these words to you or your people .

theOracle
theOracle

@DarylBrunt Yes, the MB DID actually vote, so to speak. This is probably why Thomas Jefferson thought the vote should only be limited to land owners. 

In support of Jefferson, you can tell when a bond vote will be passed or not passed in LA by looking at the % of renters vs. owners. Renters are 70% there. So it's not surprise that school bonds are defeated by 70%.

benjaminhargy
benjaminhargy

@MohammedYousef .... It is only the weakest of people that blame their problems on someone else, and that is exactly what you are doing. How is it OUR president's fault that YOU elected a radical Islamist, then YOU changed your minds halfway through his term and YOUR military removed him from office? I'll admit that the US sometimes meddles too much in the affairs of other nations, but EGYPT created this mess on its own. You can choose to blame your country's political issues on an imaginary foreign conspiracy, or you can accept the fact that you need to fix your own messes and stop trying to find a scapegoat. Oh, and by the way, you're welcome for all those millions of dollars in financial assistance and military aid. 

Sincerely,

The American People.

theOracle
theOracle

@isoliman I have always said that if an Al Qaeda mole were in the White House, he couldn't have done a better job that Obama.

billorights
billorights

@SayedRizk 

Exactly right.

Morsi came to power because the Obama administration, with the help of Qatar and Turkey's Erdogan, put him there.

The mainstream media here in the U.S. utterly refuses to show the general public the countless anti-Obama banners and posters these demonstrators are carrying, to this effect.

It's a complete outrage.

billorights
billorights

@lbinen 

Morsi was elected by a majority, in the same way that Obama was elected by a majority.

The Morsi regime is a sham.

theOracle
theOracle

@kelghayesh I agree with most of what you say, except that Gray Davis was a decent and honorable man. He was demonized and lost the recall election.

The only candidate the Republicans thought could win with a vote from those foolish enough to recall Davis was Arnold Schwartzenegger. And we all know what an awful man he was. The man the Republicans asked to step aside so that AS could run was Darryl Issa. Can you believe it? I would have voted for him.

Most reasonable Americans think well of Egypt, with its ancient and wonderful history, and they are sad to see how difficult it is for them through these times. Many of us are quite familiar with their antiquities chief, Zahi Hawass, and enjoy his enthusiasm for all of Egypt's historical things. Isn't it ironic that now when many of Egypt's purloined treasures are finally being returned, that they are in danger from within?

lbinen
lbinen

@kelghayesh 

As I recall there was a legal, non-military, process for removing a democratically elected leader such as Nixon and Gray Davis.  You may be happy that Morsi is out, but it was a military coup, sir.

billorights
billorights

@SherifKozman @TIME @TIMEWorld 

Perhaps Americans could really learn something from the Egyptians, in this regard.

littlelizard
littlelizard

@pdmclamore why don't you lead the charge instead of hoping or wanting someone else to do it for you? No guts?

theOracle
theOracle

@pdmclamore I hear they're having a special this week, with Easy Pay. lol The problem was they couldn't get tickets to the WH.

Discursions
Discursions

@benjaminhargy @MohammedYousef you do NOT speak for the American people but only the cult of personality on the left -- whicjh usually would agree that the CIA has manipulated overseas politics but can't BEAR to do so when it's Obama's CIA.

theOracle
theOracle

@benjaminhargy @Discursions @MohammedYousef One of the reasons for such bitterness overseas is that we spout democracy, but our CIA blantly thwarts it, often in a brutal fashion. The CIA funded, equipped, trained and solicited Al Qaeda members, and had the nerve to be surprised when they turned on their "infidel" handlers.  Remember the FBI and the Black Panthers? Ollie North and Iran-Contra?

The fight is for the Caliphate, often called "The Region." 

benjaminhargy
benjaminhargy

@Discursions @benjaminhargy @MohammedYousef I realize that I don't speak for everyone, just as this Mohammed does not speak for every Egyptian. It was meant sarcastically. In addition, I fully believe that the American intelligence apparatus ATTEMPTS to manipulate politics, but I don't think it's appropriate for Egyptians to lash out at the US when this political mess is clearly one of their own making.