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Egyptian President Overthrown, Constitution Suspended 413

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you're-there,-stay-safe dept.
Al Jazeera and other publications are reporting that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has been overthrown by the country's army. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, head of the Egyptian armed forces, said in a televised announcement that Morsi had been removed from power, the Constitution had been suspended, and Adli al-Mansour, leader of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court, had been appointed to lead the country until elections can be held. "Sisi called for presidential and parliamentary elections, a panel to review the constitution and a national reconciliation committee that would include youth movements. He said the roadmap had been agreed by a range of political groups." According to the BBC's report, "General Sisi said on state TV that the armed forces could not stay silent and blind to the call of the Egyptian masses," and "The army is currently involved in a show of force, fanning out across Cairo and taking control of the capital."
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Egyptian President Overthrown, Constitution Suspended

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  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:17PM (#44181995) Homepage Journal

    Egypt was a better place back then, center of culture and learning in the world.

    Now it's just shit.

  • by dnaumov (453672) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:18PM (#44182005)

    Why is it that it's precisely in times where upholding the constitution is at it's most important (in times of turmoil), that so many countries do away with the constitution entirely and suspend it?!

  • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@nosPAm.hotmail.com> on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:20PM (#44182039) Homepage

    That'd mean getting rid of Islam... and I can't see a downside here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:22PM (#44182057)

    Because constitutions are often flawed, often very flawed. They are not some perfect piece of paper that is immune to error and corruption. I take it that they intend to draft a new one.

    Plus, any coup is a de-facto suspension of the constitution, even one like this where it is done with the support of the populace of the country.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:29PM (#44182157)

    North Korea is better than Egypt was under the Pharaohs. Different time, different standards.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:29PM (#44182161)

    Your concerns are misguided. This constitution wasn't *worth* upholding. It's a mishmash concocted by Islamist and other enemies of democracy. They are probably better off if they scrap it and go back to the old one.

  • by Cederic (9623) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:32PM (#44182195) Journal

    You mean the recent free and fair elections weren't democratic?

    They voted in a religious fuckwit but that's an unfortunate flaw with democracy.

  • Re:news for nerds (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:36PM (#44182255)

    "News for nerds" does not mean, and at no point in Slashdot's history ever has meant "exclusively news that is exclusively for nerds".

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:47PM (#44182387)
    Didn't the Egyptians just elect this guy a year ago?

    Yep, they elected a Muslim Brotherhood guy who made election campaign statements like

    '"The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal" [businessinsider.com]

    Now they found it shocking that the guy is just a tiny bit of an Islamic fanatic.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:47PM (#44182393) Journal

    It's different in that tens of millions of people were sufficiently angry about their constitution to go to the streets.

    Constitutions are not magical self-contained documents that work by virtue of their very existence. They do not hold any meaning or weight if they are rejected by the citizens en masse.

  • Re:news for nerds (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsborg (111459) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:49PM (#44182421) Homepage

    yeah thats right baby

    You do realize that the protests leading up to this overthrow were the most massive in human history?
    The numbers bandied about were anywhere from 20-35 million in the streets. At least 22 million signed a petition denouncing Morsi.

    With a population of 82M, that's anywhere from 25-40% of the country's populace. If even 1/10 of that number (much less %) got out on the streets in the USA, there'd be dozens of /. posts as it impacted the largest block of slashdotters on a daily basis.

    Furthermore, Egypt is keyholder of the Suez canal. Instability in this country would be like instability in Panama - and impact world trade.

    I'd say this is news for nerds.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:01PM (#44182559) Journal

    Flawed they may be but the poit is to set the ground rules so people know what to do and have something to look to when things get crazy and emotion runs high. Frankly I agree with the parent, the fact that Egypt can't ride it out until the next election and then replace Morsi having learned a lesson about electing theocrats, suggests to me the nation is unlikely to develop the spine it takes to have a democracy and keep it.

    This does not bode well for a free Egypt. Whenever things get wierd form now on the military will just take over.

    our state department is doing nothing because they in their usual sort sightedness jus don't want anyone unpredictable near Isreal.

  • by Valdrax (32670) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:06PM (#44182619)

    I remember when the Constitution was a real Badge of Honor, not something Our Government Wipes its collective Ass on whenever they want.

    I don't. I just remember when I was more ignorant of history.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:13PM (#44182731)

    Technocratic benevolent dictatorships are a lot more attractive on paper than they turn out to be in real life.

    Nobody but you said anything about "benevolent dictatorship". The Egyption Army is using the phrase "technocratic" as a code word that means "non-Islamic". The current government in Egypt has no actual skills for government, other than "be fanatic Islamicists and use the Quran as the guide for all things", and I personally am dubious as to the value of that one.

    And if the military intends to (again) establish a democracy, will the people just vote the Muslim Brotherhood back into power?

    No, they won't. The uprising is because the government was a de-facto Islamic theocracy, and the majority of the people don't want that.

    I may not like Morsi but he was the democratically elected leader, with no more than the usual level of shenanigans in the election.

    The election had two candidates, one who was associated with the repressive Mubarak government, and Morsi. Morsi seemed the lesser danger, and to make himself more attractive he made a bunch of promises: he said "sure I'm the Islamic candidate, but I'll respect the rights of non-Islamic people." Then he broke his promises. Thus, the whole "technocratic" thing: the Army and the people are looking to install a secular government.

  • by Valdrax (32670) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:25PM (#44182861)

    So Obama throws Mubarak under the bus so Egypt can have democracy, now he supports a military coup to remove a democratically elected leader by the same military that used to keep Mubarak in power. Way to have a consistent foreign policy, chief.

    Really, the only inconsistency was favoring democratically elected officials that don't like us in the first place. Pretty much the sum of all US foreign policy in the post-WW2 era is "find the biggest strongman that will play nice with us and put in charge of the rabble that doesn't." The history of the Middle East and South America during the Cold War is pretty much this story cloned and stamped over and over again.

    In this situation, I'm not really sure what the best policy is. As much as I dislike realpolitik and prefer letting democracies elect people who don't like us over the strongman policy, Syria has turned into a huge clusterf--k that is probably about to boil over into a decades-long sectarian Shia-Sunni conflict, and if this will ensure a more stable transition in Egypt, then I guess I'm going to have to grudgingly accept it. If it doesn't, though, I can't even summon up the feeling that I'll be able to say, "I told you so."

    I feel absolutely nauseated to consider the notion that letting the military run things may result in more freedom than letting popularly elected President do it, but we've got decades of Turkish politics to weigh in as evidence on that. I just don't know. Maybe once the trolls get sorted out in this thread, we'll get some good discussion from people closer to the ground on this. I guess I'll cross my fingers and hope.

  • by Grog6 (85859) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:43PM (#44183073)

    I have to admit; I got my initial impressions of my government from my Grandparents more from my Parents.

    They lived thru a lot in the 30's and then the War; the government actually helped people that needed help, back then.

    The Government back then put people under surveillance, but not everything they said or read or wrote.

    I too, was extremely ignorant of a great deal of what happened in the LBJ/Nixon/Ford/Carter/Reagan years.

    I'm totally amazed that I look back on Clinton as the best Pres so far, lol. I Did Not vote for him. :facepalm:

    W. was Cheney/Rumsfeld's sockpuppet; You don't think He decided to land on an aircraft carrier at sea, do you? :)

    Read about those guys' involvement in the Nixon era stuff, and the Regan/Iceland BS, Arsenals of Folly is a great book on some of that:
    http://www.amazon.com/Arsenals-Folly-Making-Nuclear-Vintage/dp/0375713948 [amazon.com]

    Hey, I'd rather have the Prez decorating some Chunky Ho's dress than Wiping Ass with the Constitution.

    Maybe it's just me...

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:45PM (#44183093)

    The US Constitution was accepted unanimously by state representatives at the Convention, and then ratified unanimously by the states.

    Plus it is a glorious thing to read, based on the philosophies of the Enlightment and full of brilliant compromises.

    The Egyptian constitutional convention was a complete farce in comparison. Rammed through in a classical demonstration of the tyranny of the majority.

  • by icebike (68054) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:46PM (#44183097)

    The Egyptian army does seem to be reflecting the will of the Egyptian people in this case.

    Wag the dog... It's the same bit of manipulation as 'Arab Spring'... The 'will of the people' put Morsi (Mursi?) into office

    There was precious little choice at the time.

    They have learned their lesson, and for once it seems the average person in the street has had enough of 'Brotherhoodization" of their democracy.

    For an Islamic majority country to take this step is a pretty positive note if you ask me.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:57PM (#44183227)

    No, they won't. The uprising is because the government was a de-facto Islamic theocracy, and the majority of the people don't want that.

    Measuring "will of the people" by "how big is today's mob" is a poor substitute for the ballot box. Having a military that allows the people to control things only to the extent that the military likes what is going on is a poor substitute for rule of law.

    Morsi seemed the lesser danger, and to make himself more attractive he made a bunch of promises: he said "sure I'm the Islamic candidate, but I'll respect the rights of non-Islamic people." Then he broke his promises.

    Oh, well, never mind then. He broke campaign promises. This is clearly sufficient grounds to have a military coup, and it has never happened in any political system prior to this. Maybe Morsi can be sent to some nice prison somewhere, like the one at Gitmo. Which apparently was closed five years ago, according to my government source. Who certainly would never lie about such a thing.

  • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:58PM (#44183237) Homepage Journal

    And if the military intends to (again) establish a democracy, will the people just vote the Muslim Brotherhood back into power?

    The support for the Muslim Brotherhood dwindled as soon as they were in power and actually acted. That's when people saw that they were not as awesome as they thought. And the Muslim Brotherhood learned they are actually being held accountable for their governing.

    I may not like Morsi but he was the democratically elected leader, with no more than the usual level of shenanigans in the election. (And given the shenanigans that show up in the US, I'm not going to throw too many stones. They're different, in both kind and degree, but we're hardly beyond reproach.)

    Yes, you don't just overthrow a elected government by a coup just because you disagree with them. But if there is wide-spread violence from both sides, over a longer period of time, and you exhaust all other options including a ultimatum, it is the job of the army to step in and prevent a civil war.

    A new election will be held. Egypt is new at this. Give them some time. The dedication of the Egyptian people is exemplary, they want a better state for themselves. It's a historic chance, but it is a process.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:20PM (#44183445)

    I think you can say that about any religion or person that gives no peace, and Islam is certainly not a unique example of such attitudes for some of its more fanatical adherents. There are people with that attitude in all religions. But to say the religion itself is like that is ridiculous. Compared to what? Centuries of Christian religious war in Europe over sectarian differences, up to and including Northern Ireland's troubles? Buddhists in Myanmar violently attacking minority Muslims? I mean, there's a religion (Buddhism) with the reputation of being awfully peaceful overall, yet you've got some pretty violent fanatics in some places. Empirically, plenty of Muslims don't have the hateful attitude you claim, and same for any other religion you can name. Attitudes vary greatly. Fanatics exist in all of them. And most of the current protest in Egypt is between the more moderate muslims and copt christians not wanting to go in the more fanatical and exclusionary direction that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to go. That's a sign that a lot of people do want to get along, both muslim and not.

    All you are doing is tossing any and everyone adhering to a particular religion into one gigantic, "hateful" bin. What's the point of that? None of the religions actually work that simply. Assume the people adhering to a religion (or non-religion) are one big monolithic block and picking the worst to represent it all? Great idea. You're just the kind of bigot that creates the worst problems regardless of the specific religion chosen. Oh, it's "them". "They" are the problem. "They" are all "hateful" and "not peaceful". Thus the justification begins for first not listening to "them", and eventually justifying horrible things to solve "their" problem.

    Look at yourself and what you're saying. You're not exactly a paragon of peace either. You're laying the foundation for a lot of hate. It doesn't even matter what your preferred religion is or if you don't have any at all. Your attitude is the real problem because you've blithely written off the adherents of an entire religion for dubious and nonsensical reasons.

    If you want, you can now backtrack and say you didn't mean *everybody*. If that's the case, well, a lot of unnecessary ill blood and hatred has started for less stupid comments that people didn't really mean. Maybe you should engage your brain first. It could save people a lot of grief.

  • by bdwoolman (561635) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:41PM (#44183665) Homepage

    It is a secular document that embodies principles of government conceived by men of sublime genius on the heels of five hundred years of medieval religious terror. It embodies advanced philosophical principles of governance drawn carefully and thoughtfully from the ancients, the 'noble savages' as well as from new philosophies from the age of enlightenment itself (Rousseau). (We are still far from realizing its potential, but it DOES protect us. Mostly.)

    The Ottoman Empire never experienced this critical cultural shift. Egypt was a part of it and locked in the middle age darkness until the 20th century. Secular Ba'athism [wikipedia.org] was a half step forward, but it went out with Mubarak. The Army, ever the guardians of Ba'athist ideals, thought the time might be right for pluralism as a way to enter fully into the family of nations... and they hated Mubarak. They let the popular kettle boil, rolled the dice and came up with... Morsi. Feh! The "constitution" that Morsi rammed down the country's throat was an atavistic abomination that drew upon medieval juridical traditions that were outmoded by the 13th century. And which the Ba'athists hate with a passion. (Almost as much as the Jihadis hate the Ba'athists.) Witness that at long last, a hundred years after the last Sultan fell off the Sunni throne, that the former nations of the Ottomans are waking up. Morsi took a democratic ladder to the heights of power then clumsily pulled it up behind him and spat on those below. He now pays the price for his perfidy. The Army, essentially Ba'athist secularists and anathema to the jihadists, want a modern country. Had Morsi been as capable and cautious as Erdogan in Turkey it would have been a different story. But now he is toast. He was always there at their sufferance. They will hold new elections in a year or two and settle back to their barracks. But just as the Turkish army has been staunching the tide of medievalism for almost the last hundred years, so will the Egyptian Army continue to watch.

  • by Valdrax (32670) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @07:20PM (#44184003)

    I have to admit; I got my initial impressions of my government from my Grandparents more from my Parents.

    They lived thru a lot in the 30's and then the War; the government actually helped people that needed help, back then.

    If you were white. If you weren't, then the 14th Amendment didn't really mean that much for you and thus neither did most of the rest of the Constitution. Nor did it mean much if you were otherwise "unfit," as the history of sterilization of the mentally retarded from that era shows.

    It was a time period of conservative judicial activism known as the Lochner era [wikipedia.org] in which laws establishing minimum wage or safe work conditions were struck down as unconstitutional under the dubious theory of "freedom of contract."

    It was also a time period in which labor-leaders and other leftists were kept under surveillance by J. Edgar Hoover, who was prepared to round them up at a moment's notice. After all, this was a time period in which union members paid in blood for their views and the government turned a blind eye to private union-busting operations like the American Protective League and the Pinkerton Agency, who ran sabotage and intimidation against people exercising their rights, or just openly sanctioned killing striking workers.

    Most of my views of American democracy were informed as a child by what we believed this nation should be. Very little of it was informed by what it actually was, then and now. I think most of us are the same.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @07:55PM (#44184297)

    Quick Q. Why are you defending a leader...

    I'm not defending anyone. I'm pointing out that counting noses in a mob isn't a good way to determine "will of the people", and that "breaking campaign promises" isn't sufficient to justify a coup.

    That means 2/3rds of the people did not like their choices.

    No, that means that 2/3rds of the people didn't vote. If they didn't vote they had no say in the result and no right to complain that it didn't wind up they way they wanted.

    It sounds like the people already spoke once by boycotting the election.

    Or they didn't vote for any of a thousand other reasons, just like people in the US sometimes don't vote for any number of reasons. The last election held in my area had a whopping 22% turnout. We could claim that means that 78% of the people didn't like any of the selections on the ballot and everyone and everything loses and another election has to be held, or we could admit that they just didn't care enough to vote and those who did care got to make the choices, which is much closer to the truth.

  • by Maritz (1829006) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @08:44PM (#44184645)

    and that "breaking campaign promises" isn't sufficient to justify a coup.

    He made a power grab. Created a constitutional declaration that gave himself unprecedented powers. That's a touch more egregious than "breaking campaign promises".

    It had to be nipped in the bud before he made himself and the Muslim Brotherhood unassailable, which is what he was obviously doing. If he'd been a touch more subtle and patient about things it might have worked.

    For me, concern for democracy would be better placed in the spirit of it than the letter, especially with a dodgy leader with a dodgy mandate making a dodgy power grab.

    Well done the Egyptians I say. I hope they get the effective secular government that they've worked and sacrificed for.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @08:52PM (#44184703)

    Women aren't required to wear veils, honor killing are less common in Egypt than they are in Italy, women can drive (and work outside the home and vote and hold elected office), the men in Egypt are no more likely to advocate genocide than a pigfucker like yourself is, and Egyptian Coptic Christians face about the same level of persecution as American Muslims.

    Any other racist canards you'd like to drag out?

  • by bbelt16ag (744938) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @09:12PM (#44184847) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like the last two presidents we have had. So when is Coup start in the USA?
  • by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @09:33PM (#44184973) Journal

    Measuring "will of the people" by "how big is today's mob" is a poor substitute for the ballot box. Having a military that allows the people to control things only to the extent that the military likes what is going on is a poor substitute for rule of law.

    You are right, but there was no legal mechanism to force the ballot box in the time span it appeared to be needed so this happen to create one. I do not support military coups but I do believe this action stopped Egypt from becoming a Syria.

    As for Egypt's military- I am more then impressed with them. In the last uprising, they positioned themselves between the government supporters with firearms and the protesters with sticks, stones, and signs. They stopped a lot of senseless bloodshed from happening and stopped the situation from entering a Syria type rebellion. The situation has rose to the top again and the Egyptian military is once again, fighting strongly to save lives. You may not agree with them, but For what it's worth, I salute them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @11:40PM (#44185637)

    It had the benefit not only from things like the enlightenment, but the men who wrote it had a very particular perspective and background; They were, as a group, generally Protestant Christian (of various degrees of religiosity and various different denominations) which meant that they all shared a common view of basic principles of "right" and "wrong" BUT also a healthy suspicion of government forcing its views onto the individual (the English King and the Church of England had suppressed nearly all of their religious denominations). Others of other beliefs could have been added to that group and might have shared some of those views about the imperfections of man, but the group that was their and did draft the document were sufficiently aligned in their views that many argument that might have otherwise occurred did not and they all were pulling in a similar direction on all the important parts (generally agreeing on the goals and wrestling mainly with the "hows") Further, and most-importantly, they all held the protestant view that all humans are imperfect, and capable of being tempted to do bad things.... which led to all the checks and balances they insisted on having. They had the belief that, even if you chose the very best man, and made him president he would be tempted by power and might do the wrong thing. They were concerned that the public (who would elect the congress directly at two year intervals) might be tempted by the passions of the moment to do bad things... so they provided a senate (with time-consuming parliamentary procedures, elected at 6 year intervals by state legislators) to slow-things down and cool them off. They were concerned that the senators could become too beholden to political forces in state legislatures and forget the fiscal impacts on the people, so they required all taxing and spending bills to originate in the House. They worried that an executive might be too eager to wage war, so they put the power to declare war in the Congress. They worried that the elected people of the Congress and in the executive might ignore the Constitutional limits imposed upon them, so they made the Supreme court the referee... but fearing a tyrannical court they made a presidential appointment and a senate confirmation as gates though which a supreme court member had to pass

    The entire US Constitution sits atop one very basic Protestant idea: Man is a sinner, and even a "good man" will sometimes still sin (Protestants have no pope... I point this out NOT as an anti-Catholic point but rather because it is an oft overlooked evidence of that protestant world view. Some Protestants will rally around a particular preacher from time to time for various reasons, but they always know he could fail them and many Protestants are wary of any leader who becomes too popular).

    The people of Egypt will hopefully end-up with a good constitution and do not need a bunch of Early American Protestants to come and write it for them... but it may be a longer and even more difficult struggle than the Americans had (a longer tougher struggle than most remember) because the people they have to perform the task are less-unified than our founders were, and some of the elements of their society are much more willing to trust an individual leader (like the Brotherhood trusting Morsi no matter what he did). The people of Egypt need not use any elements of the US Constitution, but they would be wise to borrow its underpinning ideas of (1) not placing too much power in the hands of any person or group and (2) providing the minority with legislative AND judicial means to gum-up-the-works and slow the hands of the majority or even stop the majority (NOT democratic, but NEEDED in a diverse nation)

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday July 04, 2013 @12:24AM (#44185825)
    We also have a longer track record for being able to vote for who we want next election cycle than they do in Egypt. If we vote for some guy who says he's not going to spy on us, and he does, we say "Well, I'm not voting for him next time!" not "I'm going to support a military coup!" Because we know there WILL be a next election. Egyptian citizens on the other hand have much less reason to trust that their government won't say "Gee, we WERE going to hold elections as promised, but there's... uh... TERRORISTS that we have to deal with first." Or various other ways to prevent democracy.

    This is not to say democracy in the US is perfect, just that voters have more faith in the process than they do in overriding the process, while Egyptians have more of a reason to trust protests and overthrowing the government than elections.
  • by cold fjord (826450) on Thursday July 04, 2013 @05:44AM (#44186765)

    three fifths of all other Persons

    That was a provision to weaken the institution of slavery, which was established in the southern colonies prior to the formation of the United States, not a comment on the humanity of the slaves.

    Had the slaves been counted fully it would have meant more representatives for southern states to vote in Congress. Had they not been counted at all, the southern states might not have ratified the constitution. Like many things in the constitution it was a compromise, but it ultimately served its purpose.

    Besides which, I trust you heard that the abolitionist party in the US, the Republicans, was eventually able to get a president elected who then freed the slaves.

    SLAVERY AND THE FOUNDERS [weeklystandard.com]

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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