Revolutionaries Vow return to Tahrir Square in face of Military Power Grab

Several parties, unions and organizations called for big demonstrations on Tusday in Tahrir Square in Cairo. They will be protesting the issuance on Monday by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of a constitutional ‘addendum’ that appeared to grant the military council wide powers and to whittle down those of the elected president.

Former presidential candidates Abdel Moneim Abou’l-Futouh and Hamdeen Sabahi joined in a chorus of political leaders that condemned the constitutional addendum as unconstitutional.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its party wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, will join in this demonstration. Its members are furious not only about the addendum but also about the dissolution of the elected parliament, which they had dominated. As Richard Spencer points out, the Brotherhood is playing a double game, joining demonstrations but also making a separate peace with the military so as to be able to assume at least some of the powers of the presidency. Some of the MPs are insisting that the parliament is valid and is still in session. Some tried to go to the parliament building on Monday to hold a session, and were dispersed. They are vowing to try again on Tuesday, or to meet in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo if they cannot meet inside the parliament building (which the military has under lock and key).

SCAF said in the addendum that it would assume the powers of the legislature until a new parliament is elected, would have authority over the budget, would decide on military appointments and promotions, and would shape the constituent assembly that will draft the new constitution. It envisages that a new constitution will be drafted, and new elections held for parliament, by the end of 2012. The protesters say that there is no basis in Egyptian law for the military council to appoint a constituent assembly to draft the constitution.

In addition, on Monday SCAF created a National Security Council, to be chaired by the president, with both civilian and military members, but with the officers in the majority. Such institutions have been deployed in places like Turkey and Pakistan in the past to constrain the control of a civlian president over military affairs.

At the same time, Maj. Gen. Mohamed el-Assar, a member of SCAF, insisted that the military would in fact turn power over to the president before July 1, and denied that the president’s prerogatives would be curtailed. He insisted that no one can turn back the clock in Egypt to the time of the Mubarak dictatorship. The military said that the president would appoint a new government (prime minister and cabinet ministers). SCAF denies that it has made a coup, and urged people to trust its good intentions toward the revolution.

The assurances sounded hollow in the face of SCAF’s high-handed dissolution of parliament afer a ruling by the supreme administrative court, and its decree that civilians may be arrested by military and intelligence personnel.

Posted in Egypt | 8 Responses | Print |

8 Responses

  1. What a surprise that the enterprising “generals” are keeping their talons sunk and locked into the body of what might have become what, a “different state”? Any examples out there of a well-entrenched, fortified idustro-military kleptocracy ever “turning power over” before a replacement elite figured out how to starve the fat old beasts out of their caves and fortified cities?

    Anybody notice how our own Kleptocrats-General are setting up their own strongpoints, with perimeter defenses aimed outwards, out from the Green Lines around their newly renamed “joint bases,” right at the slobs who fund the war-ization of everything and are busily hitching their minutely profitable little techno-wagons to the rapidly accelerating US manifestation of the Juggernaut?

    Not to worry though– like the burning of the last few tons of “clean coal”and “OUR natural gas (sic)” it’s a self limiting plague…. eventually.

  2. American has invested way too much in Egypt’s military apparatus to let Egypt’s leadership decided by voters. This coup d’etat, with a wink and a nod from Obama/Clinton, will keep Egypt squarely in the America column.

    • You’re talking about the “American” that paid to train the people who led the Tahrir Square protests in organizing and politics, using USAID funds provided to the International Republican Institute, right?

      Man, that must have been the worst strategy for supporting the power of a military dictatorship EVER!

      • America supported the revolution? You must be kidding. I don’t know where you got that idea. America supported Mubarak right up to the point where his fall seemed inevitable.

        • America supported the revolution? You must be kidding.

          link to

          Perhaps you should follow events more closely. The arrest of IRI employees for engaging in pro-democracy training and poll-watching was very widely reported:

          link to

          If these unassailable facts don’t fit your pre-packaged narrative, perhaps it’s time to expand your understanding.

      • There is a simple reason America CANNOT support democracies in the Middle East as democracies there will inevitably be anti-American and anti-imperialist. And the reason for that is that America supports the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, something which is at the heart of the Arab world and a daily reminder of imperial and colonial humiliation.

        • Ron,

          Do you think the Turkish and Tunisian govenrnments, both of which are Middle Eastern democracies that are supported by the United States, are more anti-American or anti-Imperialist?

          How about this: which of those America-supported Middle Eastern democracies is more anti-American, and which one is more anti-imperialist?

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