Monday, July 09, 2012

Things...

...are getting really, really interesting in Egypt:

Egypt parliament set to meet, defying army

State TV: Egypt's highest court says its ruling to dissolve parliament is final
"Egypt's highest court insisted Monday that its ruling to invalidate the Islamist-dominated parliament was final and binding, setting up a showdown with the country's newly elected president after he ordered lawmakers to return.

The announcement on state TV came a day after President Mohammed Morsi recalled the legislators, defying the powerful military's decision to dismiss parliament after the Supreme constitutional Court ruled that a third of its members had been elected illegally."
[---]
""The last of the two declarations, issued June 17, gave the military far-reaching powers after handing over control to Morsi on June 30.

The statement said the military would continue to support "legitimacy, the constitution and the law" — language that means the generals would likely oppose take (sic) the judiciary's side in its tussle with Morsi over the fate of parliament."
And moving with lightning speed.

I remember reading years ago, probably on one of the Egyptian blogs that I read religiously back then, that the Army is really popular with the country's common citizen, because just about everyone had a close relative in the armed forces, it being one of the very few sources of employment in the country.

If this is true, we are indeed in for an interesting summer.

In any case, the army is painting itself into a wee bit of a corner if it sites the constitution and a court ruling as the basis for their actions.
"Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) never resorted to taking "exceptional" measures during its interim tenure in power, the military council declared in a Monday statement, one day after parliament's lower house was reinstated via presidential decree.

The SCAF went on to assert that its decision last month to dissolve the People's Assembly (the lower house of Egypt's parliament) had been based on a ruling returned by Egypt's High Constitutional Court (HCC)."
[---]
"The full text of the military council's statement is as follows:

Given recent developments, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces stresses the following:

The SCAF since assuming responsibility [power] has always been on the side of the people, and has never resorted to any exceptional measures, and has improved the institutional work of all state institutions, stressing the importance of the legitimacy of law and the constitution to preserve the status of the Egyptian state, and out of respect for its great people.

Decree number 350 for the year 2012, issued by the SCAF, came in accordance with the council's authority and represented the implementation of a verdict delivered by the High Constitutional Court, which declared the People's Assembly null and void since its election.

The Constitutional Deceleration (sic) issued on 17 June 2012 came as a result of the political, legal and constitutional circumstances that the country was facing. It ensures the continuity of state institutions and the SCAF until a new constitution is drafted. We are confident that all state institutions will respect all constitutional declarations.

The malicious accusation that the SCAF cut a deal [with the presidency] is an important issue that shakes the pillars of patriotism that we have always stuck to and respected.

The Armed Forces belongs to Egypt's great people, and will always fulfil its promises and be on the side of legitimacy, the constitution and the law for the sake of the people."
So, is the army asserting the rule of law or are they just looking after their own interests issuing more Arab doublespeak?

In any case, the people are mobilizing, yet again, in Tahrir Square. Lord knows how this will all come out in the end. Me thinks a civil war is a distinct possibility. The country seems to be divided pretty evenly - pro-Army versus pro-Muslim Brotherhood.

Another thing I know, from being a Middle East watcher since forever, Egypt is and has been for years and years, the leader in the Arab world. What comes down in Egypt spreads to the entire region. Call me Polly-Annish if you like, but I also see in this, a lot of Western influence, and I mean "influence", not interference. If the Egyptian Army can assert court rulings and a constitution as the bases of their decisions, they are reflecting Western ideas. And if they are reflecting Western ideas, they must think a substantial portion of Egypt's citizens want to adopt those ideas.

(For years, Third World hell holes, like Egypt, have been sending their best and brightest young folks to Western universities, many times for graduate degrees. I'm sure these folks return to their home countries with a much better understanding of how "Western" ideas, such as the rule of law and constitutional governments play out. Did you know, the Egyptian Sandmonkey, has an MBA from some university in the USA? Yup. It's true.)

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