Egyptian military ousts Morsi as leader decries ‘full coup’

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Gen. al-Sisi said the army’s hopes for reconciliation had been dashed by Mr. Morsi’s defiant speech Tuesday night when he vowed to defend his “constitutional legitimacy” with his life.

U.S. officials also were critical of Mr. Morsi’s speech.

“There was an absence of significant specific steps laid out in President Morsi’s speech,” said State Department spokesman Jennifer Psaki. “We had said that he must do more to be truly responsive and representative to the justified concerns expressed by the Egyptian people. And unfortunately, that was not a part of what he talked about in his speech.”

Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, headed by Gen. al-Sisi, responded to Mr. Morsi’s speech by saying it would “sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool.”

The military denies that it has any intention of holding on to power, but it had been openly supportive of the anti-Morsi protesters with army helicopters dropping Egyptian flags on the demonstrators in Tahrir Square.

Mr. Morsi criticized the military for “taking only one side.”

The military held power for a year and a half after Arab Spring pro-democracy protests ended Mubarak’s 29-year rule on Feb. 11, 2011.

Egyptian defense leaders Wednesday assured Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that they had no interest in long-term rule and would soon put a civilian government in place, The Associated Press said.

Egypt receives around $1.3 billion in U.S. aid, which mostly goes to the military.

Brotherhood vows fight

On Wednesday, a senior adviser to Mr. Morsi and a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman accused the military of carrying out a coup.

“As I write these lines I am fully aware that these may be the last lines I get to post on this page,” Essam al-Haddad, Mr. Morsi’s adviser on foreign affairs, said in a Facebook post.

“For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: Military coup.”

Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, said in a Twitter post that a “full military coup” was underway and in another post said Mr. Morsi was “under house arrest” at the presidential guard’s club. Mr. el-Hadded said most of Mr. Morsi’s principal advisers also were under house arrest.

As the clock ran out on the military’s ultimatum earlier Wednesday, Mr. Morsi’s office said he was committed to his own reform plan that included the formation of a coalition government and an independent commission to reform the constitution.

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About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.

 

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