News / Africa

Egypt's President and Military on Collision Course

In this image released by the Egyptian President, an Egyptian military officer salutes President Mohammed Morsi, third from right at a graduation ceremony at a military base east of Cairo, Egypt, July 9, 2012.
In this image released by the Egyptian President, an Egyptian military officer salutes President Mohammed Morsi, third from right at a graduation ceremony at a military base east of Cairo, Egypt, July 9, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
CAIRO —  Egypt's newly elected president Mohamed Morsi appears on a collision course with the country's powerful military generals after ordering the parliament to reconvene, in defiance of a high court decree last month that dissolved the legislature.

Last month, Egypt's generals dissolved parliament in line with an order from the country's highest court. On Sunday, President Morsi, who was sworn-in only one week ago, decreed that the legislature - which is dominated by his fellow Islamists - should reconvene until a new one has been elected.

He said elections would be held within 60 days of a new constitution being drafted and approved in a referendum, a process that analysts say could take months.

The surprise announcement sent the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces or SCAF into emergency mode, with a hastily called meeting Sunday night that resumed on Monday.

Later on Monday, the Supreme Constitutional Court declared that its ruling on dissolving the parliament was final and binding.

Hafez Abu Saada, a lawyer and head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, says he believes the president could have handled this differently and has now created a politically fraught situation.

He says he believes this could have been dealt with in different ways, but that it is a clash and it could mean the emergence of a kind of cold war between the presidency, the military council and civil forces.

Fahmy Howeidi, a columnist with the independent daily ElShorouk, notes the timing of the president's decree, just days ahead of his first overseas trip and before a visit to Cairo by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I think this decision could have been delayed, but why did he decide to declare or to decide about the parliament before his departure to Saudia? Is he sending a message saying he is the real ruler, not the military? You know that Washington criticized the military for their latest statement [dissolving parliament], so was he encouraged by this criticism, in order to embarrass the military?,” Howeidi said.

Lawyer Abu Saada says President Morsi's decision to challenge a verdict of the Supreme Constitutional Court is unprecedented in modern Egypt -- something that even Hosni Mubarak, Anwar Sadat and Gamal Abdel Nasser never did.

He says the president took an oath to respect the law and the constitution and did so in front of the constitutional court, yet he is the first to violate the rulings of that court. As a result, he says, this is a message to society that you can challenge the verdicts of the judiciary and not respect them.

While no one expected an easy relationship between the army and the conservative Muslim president, most believed Morsi would move more cautiously and not provoke a confrontation with the generals so quickly.

But Fahmy Howeidi is taking a wait-and-see approach. He says private talks are still continuing on all sides and the people must wait a bit longer to see how this first act will play out.

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Comment Sorting
by: Mohammad Kamran Umar from: Kabul, Afghanistan
July 10, 2012 2:25 AM
A leopard can change it's skin if you donkeys let him to change...
they Islamists shown to the world that Muslims no longer tolerate the governance of Western Servants and nor they can tolerate the intervien of the western cranks in their internal affairs...
It has got nothing to do with these stupid cranks that they intervene about the execution of a woman on what she has been caught on ...
This is the God 's Sharia Law let to to enforced on anybody who caught on such sin regardless of their rank, color, ethnicity
I am Sure Inshallah one day such Hodods will be implemented not only in Islamic countries but also in European and Western contries that is not far ....

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 09, 2012 2:32 PM
A leopard cannot change its skin. The Arab man only knows rules through the nozzle of a gun and brute force. Look at the jungle justice in Afghanistan and tribal Pakistan, (Morsi will still publicly execute a woman caught in adultery). Civilized justice system is too drab for him, even though you think his education in the West means anything. It's in keeping with the saying that even though you bath a pig and dress it in suite, it must still return to the refuse dump. It's not because US criticized the court dissolution of the house, it's to be true to his type - know only brutal force. And that's what to expect from Egypt henceforth.
In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Nigeria/Cote d'ivoire
July 10, 2012 4:10 AM
You are right my dear. President Morsi should be wise. He shouldn't be faster than his shadows. Democracy is still a virgin in Egypt and as such Morsi should not make any force trust into into. He should also lead by example by respecting the supreme court. If he fails to do so, then Egypt would likely fall into a Democratic anarchy.
In Response

by: Mike from: USA
July 09, 2012 6:57 PM
You are right, the fox change his hair but not his behavior, the ignorance of the west in Islam that what make them look so dummy in the eye of everyone how comes from middle east or Africa, we know them better, I think it is a time for Obama to kick the 80 some Muslim advisers and replace them with middle eastern Christian and he has to close all the Muslim organization in the USA, if their bylaws and their religion calling to kill every Jewish and Christian, how any government could allow these organization to exist. Would Obama allow any organization that call for the killing of all Muslims where ever you find them to exist in the USA or any part of the world? If Muslim denies that their religion does not say that then they have to change the Koran and make it more human to women and others.
In Response

by: Nad from: Canada
July 09, 2012 6:46 PM
Only a disillusioned nig nog raisin head would think to type a piggish response as you (Godwin) did. You are true as the savage country you live in. Arabs tried to make you African wilted grapes into human-beings . Know your Masters!!!

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