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Saturday, August 11, 2012

BREAKING: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi removes Army leader

This just in. The newly elected civilian leader of Egypt has just removed the man who has been the military leader of what has been, in effect, a military dictatorship since Mubarak was overthrown. I haven't done a diary on Egypt in over a year but this is huge!

From the Guardian:
Egyptian defence chief Tantawi ousted in surprise shakeup
Hussein Tantawi dismissed as Egyptian president extends powers, with showdown predicted at constitutional court
Abdel-Rahman Hussein in Cairo
Sunday 12 August 2012 14.33 EDT

The Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, has dismissed his military chief as part of a sweeping set of decisions that includes the appointment of a vice-president and the rescinding of a military order that curbed presidential powers.

Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali announced the retirement of Hussein Tantawi, head of the armed forces, and the chief of staff, Sami Anan. They have been appointed as advisers to Morsi.

The president also cancelled the complementary constitutional declaration issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), announced days before he was declared the victor in June's elections. The addendum had curbed presidential power and kept much of it in the hands of the military council.

"This sets up an inevitable showdown with the supreme constitutional court as the court is likely to attempt to overturn Morsi's cancelling of the supplemental constitutional declaration. It seems this move will require the sacking of the court if it is to stand," said Michael Hanna, a fellow at the Century Foundation, a US thinktank. More...
So the Revolution continues....

More, later...

Its even bigger than I first reported. Not just Tantawi has been given the boot, but also the second most powerful military leader and the heads of each of the services.


I got an early awaking, for a westerner, to the Arab Spring because I'm something of open source geek. You might say I followed Anonymous into these struggles. In the middle of January 2011, I received an email from EFF alerting me to the specific dangers Tunisia bloggers were facing, I wrote a diary about it here, and I never looked back, because if there is a revolution in progress and I can help out in anyway, I'm there. The one thing this world needs is revolutions and lots of them. Its the only thing that can possibly save us. Doing things the same old way certainly won't.

At the time I think I had to consult a map before I knew where Tunisia was. Anonymous was way ahead of me. Certainly they were ahead of almost everyone on the left outside of MENA. They start OpTunisia on 2 January to support the uprising that had begun on 17 December 2010.

No sooner than I had published my first diary on what would become known as the Arab Spring, than Ben Ali was out. Soon protests were breaking out in Algeria, Libya, even Egypt. I was learning to use Twitter, essential in that arena, and I really felt like I had arrived when France24 used pictures of a protest in Algeria I had gotten through the activist network and posted to my flickr account.

The protest in Algeria in the beginning seemed really hopeful and soon Anonymous had an OpAlgeria and discussions on forming an OpLibya. That was still the middle of January. In Libya, protests were taking the form of the housing takeover, a kind of occupation, now that I look back on it, and the Colonel wasn't cracking down yet, not at first. That would come a month later in the east.

I thought, I think a lot of activists thought, that first the regimes in Algeria and Libya would go, them maybe Egypt, maybe. Egypt was the big enchilada, it's far and away the biggest Arab country. But history is rarely so predictable. The April 6th Movement in Egypt posted a call for a protest in Tahrir Square on January 25, and overnight there were something like 87 thousands "likes" and suddenly it was "game on" in Egypt.

According, for the next month Egypt consumed almost all my attention, although I did write about Algeria, Libya, Jordan, Bahrain and Syria. It was about that time that I joined the staff of WL Central, were the editor named me the "boss of Egypt" and we really did some BREAKING NEWS there, and I mean among the world's media. And I feel like we made a difference in the Egyptian revolution.

When Mubarak made his enforcer, Omar Suleiman his veep, we declared war on Omar Suleiman. Making ample use of the WikiLeaks cables and other sources, we published an exposure of Suleiman everyday for about two weeks.

The good thing about writing for WL Central, is that all the other major news media does pay attention to it, so our exposure were making there way into the MSM and the Egyptian press. Soon Suleiman was clearly marked as damaged goods and Mubarak's planned transfer of power to him had to be aborted. In the end. there was nothing for Suleiman to do but announce Mubarak's resignation and fade away his own damn self.

Not too long after Mubarak's resignation I started to lose track of the situation in Egypt. People were dying in Libya by then and I started to find more and more ways I could help out, writing mostly. I don't have to go into my Libya experience too much here, anyone looking at the history of my diary here can see for herself.

Over time, the politics of Egypt became more and more of a mystery to me. Libya consumed all my time until Tripoli fell. Then no sooner that Libya was winding down that Occupy Wall St. kicked off. Occupy Los Angeles started 1 October. The Arab Spring had come home.

I wasn't going to get so involved with Syria the way I did with Libya. Frankly, I think one of the things the Syrians have going against them is that they came slightly after the Libyans. One big thing obviously is that Russia and China aren't going to vote for a Chapter 7 again. Another, lesser factor is that the international activist network that had work so hard on the Libyan cause was either exhausted or involved in occupy or both.

But so much dying was going on in Syria that eventually I got sucked in. Just consult my recent diaries to see what I mean. You can only watch so many children die on YouTube before you are moved to action. I can't anyway.

So for me, Egypt was still off my radar although I was glad to see they finally had elections because all that really seems to have happen to that point was that the military dictatorship had lost a face.

And I wasn't troubled that the Muslim Brotherhood won the election, although I'm not really a fan and after winning in Tunisia and Egypt, I was happy to see they didn't run the board with Libya. I figure one of the great things about democracy is that it allows the people to make choices and then learn from them. If the people of the US still haven't learned about the Republicans after all these decades, the people of the MENA are entitled to vote for the MB in there first free elections. Who else has been around with any kind of track record?

So Egypt has been off my radar for a while and I only caught this announcement because I was monitoring AJE for the latest news on Syria.

But Egypt is still the big enchilada in MENA, and Mousa has just made some bold moves to reclaim the revolution for the people.

I hope he succeeds.

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