8:30 p.m. July 3, 2013
UPDATE: President Morsi is now under house arrest, along with several members of his inner circle, and the former Chief Justice is now the interim leader of Egypt. The constitution has been scrapped and a road-map for the next steps has been arrived at with steps that include the re-writing of the constitution, followed by national elections.
Effectively, without a shot being fired by the Egyptian military, (financed to the tune of some $1.4 billion annually by the U.S. although some of that money is dedicated to humanitarian needs.)
So, now that the Egyptian version of the Muslim Brotherhood has been removed from power by a military that upheld former President Mubarak (an American ally and some would say puppet) will the question be asked, Was Morsi removed from power indirectly by the American-supported military leaders?
And if that becomes the national perception, after the dust settles on the latest chapter of this drama, then will the U.S. be hung with the reputation of placing fast and loose with Egyptian political life?
While there is considerable evidence that the Muslim Botherhood were extremely ineffectual in providing good governance for the people of Egypt, (the economy is still in tatters along with the standard of living of many of their people, and the peace treaty with Israel seems to be less important under Morsi that it was under Mubarak) there is also a clear indication that the Muslim Brotherhood did not and would not listen to other groups in the society, costing Morsi his job, albeit an elected post.
The world will be watching as this fluid story continues to play itself out....
And the Situation Room in the White House will be "on alert" for the foreseeable future...
6.00 a.m. July 3, 2013
Are we watching, in Cairo, the struggle between the Muslim Botherhood (Morsi's forces) and the secularists, a struggle that could see another civil war in the Middle East?
In refusing to step down, and also refusing to accept the military's ultimatum, is Morsi so determined to cling to power because he is also determined to create an Islamic state, as the western media seems to suggest?
Obama's phone call reminded Morsi that the U.S. is not a supporter of any specific political party, but is a supporter of democracy for Egypt....and urged Morsi to meet with and to negotiate new terms with his political opponents, something Obama himself has found extremely difficult in Washington, given the itransigence of the Republic opposition.
While there have already been casualties in the streets of Cairo, with both sides firing on the other, and while there seems to be some public support for the army's ultimatum in the streets, if this "Mexican stand-off" is not de-escalated through the prevailing of calmer heads, Egypt could become a boiling cauldron of civil conflict, a turn which could and would only worsen the chances that her economy and her liberty and her standing on the world stage would improve.
Anyone who thinks, naively, that "we do not have a dog in this fight" is sadly mistaken, considering the significance of another Islamic state in the Middle East. If Morsi is either permitted or forces his will on the people of Egypt, and the country morphs into another Islamic state, there will be serious consequences for other moderate countries in the region, not to mention the danger to Israel.
The world watches, seemingly helpless and seemingly only as spectators, while the streets of Cairo are brimming with human flesh, so far mainly in two separate contingents, keeping their distance, in order to prevent all-out violence.
By the end of today, the world will have some idea of which was this conflict is turning....and Morsi's threat to defend his constitutional right to hold power "with his life" is hardly a sign that he is willing to make the kind of compromises, for his country's long-term benefit, that seem to be at the centre of his opponents' demands.
A serial movie, "remove the dictator" seems to be playing out on the streets of Cairo....and Morsi's apparently "tin ear" to the demands of his opponents is doing little to resolve the mess.