Post-Morsi roadmap for Egypt in the works: reports
An Egyptian opposition protester holds up the head of a sheep as tens of thousands gather outside the Presidential Palace calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (Gianluigi Guercia / AFP)
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Informed sources tell Ahram Online that a change in power will occur this afternoon from the presidency of President Mohamed Morsi to a new “participatory transitional phase which will not exclude leading names of political Islam.”
An announcement should be expected “around 3:30,” according to one source. He declined to say whether the statement would be read by an army spokesman, by Minister of Defence Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, or by an opposition figure in conjunction with a military figure. This and other matters are currently being discussed over the next few hours.
The key point, identical sources said, is that the Morsi presidency is coming to an end; the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood “will not be allowed to incite a civil war – nor will anyone else.” In addition, the source added, a new government – without a military head and with no military participation, save the defence minister – will be announced, and a three day curfew will be introduced if needed.
“We are sure that [Morsi's supporters] will get the message and we know that the leadership [of the Muslim Brotherhood] is not in close contact with the base on the street,” said a security source.
Sources said that a motion was on "to secure that no major havoc would occur" the moment that Morsi's televised speech (broadcast with the consent of the armed forces) finished at a few minutes past midnight on Tuesday night.
Morsi's speech, during which he declined to bow to public demand for early presidential elections, was recorded following an earlier deal that he would acknowledge the public's demand for early elections and hand-down his prerogatives to a new prime minister.
Morsi then decided that he would not go along with the agreement, despite an offer of safe exit for him and for the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, a decision which could face serious legal charges according to sources who spoke to Ahram Online.
According to one source, the president “was getting very close to agreeing, but he declined following consultations with the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Morsi, with the help of two Muslim Brotherhood aides, underwent an extended negotiation process with representatives from the armed force's general command over his reaction to demands for early presidential elections.
“At any event he is under house arrest and in the next few hours many of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood could be under house arrest as well if a deal is not struck and if the incitement for violence continues,” said the security source.
Foreign diplomats told Ahram Online that key Western capitals have called on Morsi to bow to the people's will and on the army to refrain from assuming a role in the state's management. One said “serious assurances were offered that the army is not to rule. Whatever happens we cannot condone a coup d’etat even though we know that the top priority of an elected president is to bow to the demands of his people.”
The major point that the West emphasised to Cairo’s effective rulers is that today's events should not look like a military coup. Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including President Morsi and his two foreign affairs aides Essam El-Haddad and Pakinam El-Sharkway, have been tweeting messages to suggest that the president is being subjected to a coup.
For their part, opposition leaders are calling on the West to "stop defending" Morsi, who is faced with "unprecedented contempt."
One opposition leader told Ahram Online that he has relayed to Washington that the US is currently “disliked in an unprecedented way in Egypt's liberal quarters, who see US support for Morsi as only an attempt to keep a president who does not have the support of his people but who is serving the US's interests.”
In the words of a highly informed source “It is a matter of a few days...before the dust will settle down,” adding “the unease that US embassy is showing on the matter comes essentially from the failure of the US ambassador [Anne Patterson, a former US ambassador to Pakistan] to impose the Pakistan scenario of Islamist-Military marriage; it did not work and ultimately the Americans cannot afford to lose Egypt.”
According to informed diplomatic sources, several Arab Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are pressuring Washington to bow to the opposition and are promising generous economic aid. Qatar, under the rule of a recently-introduced emir, is not taking exception to a regime change even if it will not be as generous with its economic support.
All these factors are being taken into consideration by the army leadership and by opposition figures who are currently fine-tuning a roadmap for "Egypt after Morsi."