From the Editors
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Key events in the Egyptian president's first year in office: Morsi wins support as he wrestles power from the military but ends 2012 ratifying a controversial constitution.
The honeymoon (June - October 2012)
24 June- Supreme Presidential Elections Commission announces Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party candidate Mohamed Morsi the winner by a narrow margin over his opponent in the second and final round, Mubarak-era minister Ahmed Shafiq.
29 June- President Morsi takes informal oath of office in Tahrir Square in the presence of his supporters, opening his jacket to display the absence of a bulletproof vest.
The informal oath was regarded by various commentators as a stunt defying the Supreme Council for Armed Forces, which had reserved wide powers for itself via a constitutional declaration it issued in March 2011 and an addendum it added in June 2012 during the presidential elections.
30 June- Morsi takes the oath of office. The president-elect is sworn in by the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) as stipulated in SCAF’s constitutional addendum, instead of taking the oath at the People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
SCAF had decreed the dissolution of the Brotherhood-majority People’s Assembly in June after an SCC ruling that found fault with laws governing the assembly’s elections.
9 July- In the first of many surprise decisions, President Morsi issues a decree to reinstate the dissolved People’s Assembly, ordering that it carry out its function until another assembly is elected two months after the institution of a new constitution which is yet to be drawn up.
11 July- The Egyptian presidency accepts an SCC ruling issued on 10 July suspending Morsi’s decision to reinstate parliament’s lower house, citing its respect for judicial rulings as reason for its acceptance of the court’s decision.
19 July- Morsi orders the release of 572 prisoners detained by the military during the SCAF-led transitional period after the January 2011 revolution. A large campaign titled No to Military Trials had been calling for the release of all who had been detained or sentenced to prison via military tribunal.
30 July- Morsi gives a presidential pardon to twenty-six Islamist convicts, most of which belong to Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya and other hardline Islamist groups, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood. Some had been sentenced to death by state security courts.
2 August- The president appoints Hisham Qandil, the Islamist-leaning minister of irrigation and water resources in outgoing prime minister Kamal El-Ganzouri’s government, as prime minister.
Qandil appoints a Cabinet including Muslim Brotherhood ministers and allies for the first time in Egyptian history.
8 August- Following an attack on a security checkpoint by unknown militants which left sixteen Egyptian soldiers dead, President Morsi orders a security shake up, firing Mubarak-appointed intelligence chief Mourad Mouwafi, the governor of North Sinai, and various interior ministry officials.
12 August–In a bold move, Morsi issues a decree effectively forcing SCAF head and defense minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, and army chief of staff Sami Anan, the second most important figure within the military council, into retirement. Military Intelligence head Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is appointed defense minister.
The same decree reversed the addendum instituted by SCAF in June and amended the March 2012 constitutional declaration, thereby returning full executive and legislative power to the president.
14 August- Morsi grants Tantawi the Grand Nile Medal, Egypt's highest state honor, and Anan the State Medal. Both become advisors to the president following the decree retiring them.
The move, which was described as a soft coup against the military, was also criticized by some for giving the generals a safe exit; the opposition wanted SCAF to be held responsible for fatal violence against protesters during the period of military rule.
15 August- In a second visit to Saudi Arabia - the only country visited by the Egyptian president so far –to attend a summit by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Morsi calls for the end of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad’s rule. Civil war rages between the Syrian military and armed rebels.
22 August- In a meeting with the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Morsi requests an increased loan of 4.8 billion dollars, up from 3.2 billion dollars requested before he was elected, as the economy continues to struggle from a widening budget deficit and contracting levels of foreign currency reserves.
23 August- Morsi issues law banning pre-trial detention of journalists for media-related offences.
27 August- The president appoints four aides and seventeen advisors, including Christians, liberals, Salafists and many members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
28 August- In his first visit to a non-Arab state, Morsi travels to China promoting bilateral investment. A number of Egyptian businessmen accompany the president on the trip, many of whom had close ties to the Mubarak-regime.
30 August- In a move that worried the United States, Morsi pays a visit to Iran - the first of its kind in over thirty years - to participate in the Non-Aligned Movement summit. The president unexpectedly raised the heat on the host, criticizing Iran’s support for the Syrian regime.
6 September- President Morsi meets with a group of prominent artists and intellectuals after a series of verbal and legal attacks on many cinema actors by Islamists. He stresses his support for freedom of creativity.
Many artists who were outspoken in support of the 2011 revolution, such as director Yousri Nasrallah and actor Amr Waked, were absent from the meeting. The ministry of culture denied excluding pro-opposition artists from the event.
13 September- Morsi condemns attacks by Egyptian protesters on the US embassy in Cairo after an American-produced film mocking the Muslim Prophet Mohamed sparks outrage across the Muslim world.
Warm US-Egyptian relations were briefly strained due to Morsi’s slow response, coming two days after the protest broke out, which prompted a verbal warning from US President Barack Obama.
26 September- President Morsi speaks at the UN General Assembly in New York, reaffirming Egypt’s position against the Syrian regime, highlighting the new "Islamic Quartet" initiative by Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran to find a solution for the Syrian crisis.
While the president criticizes Israel for its settlements and hinted at the danger of Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal in his speech, back in Egypt, the presidential spokesman announces that there is no need to amend Israel’s Camp David treaty with Egypt.
The treaty - finalized in 1979 - was severely criticized in the wake of the attack in August which left sixteen Egyptian soldiers dead. The treaty limits Egyptian military deployment in Sinai and was blamed for the lack of security which facilitated the attack, prompting demands for its amendment.
6 October- Morsi addresses tens of thousands of his supporters on the anniversary of the October 1973 war, claiming much progress in achieving the goals for his first hundred days in office. The goals included solving Cairo’s chronic traffic problems, and dealing with bread scarcities and deteriorating public sanitation.
Critics, who accused the president of failing to achieve his stated targets, hold a demonstration the following week which saw the first clashes between Morsi’s opponents and supporters.
9 October– The president issues pardon for citizens arrested since the start of the January 25 revolution until 30 June 2012 for any actions related to supporting the revolution.
Judicial struggles and a constitutional declaration (October - November 2012)
11 October- Morsi attempts to dismiss Mubarak-era prosecutor general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud from his post by appointing him Egypt’s ambassador to the Vatican. The president backs down two days later after being challenged by Mahmoud and other judges. According to Egyptian law, the president does not possess the power to dismiss the general prosecutor.
17 October- Presenting his credentials to the Israeli government, Egypt’s new envoy to Israel delivers a warmly-worded letter to Israeli President Shimon Peres from Morsi, describing him as a great and loyal friend.
While the letter’s formulation was defended as conventional diplomatic protocol, it nevertheless signals a continuation of Egypt’s friendly relations with Israel under Morsi, a relationship Mubarak was repeatedly attacked for maintaining.
3 November- Morsi meets with opposition figures. Talks with leftist Egyptian Popular Current founder Hamdeen Sabbahi, Mubarak-era minister and former Arab League head Amr Moussa and ex-Muslim Brother Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh - all former presidential candidates - revolved around finding consensus on the constitutional draft being prepared by the Constituent Assembly.
Sabbahi urges the president to rebalance the Constituent Assembly, elected by the Muslim Brotherhood majority parliament, and accused of failing to represent Egyptian society at large.
21 November- Morsi is lauded by the US for his role in brokering a ceasefire between Palestinian Gaza rulers Hamas and the Israeli government after over a week of Israeli airstrikes and Palestinian rocket fire that left over 160 dead.
22 November- Morsi makes his most controversial and antagonizing move to date, issuing a constitutional declaration which puts him beyond the bounds of judicial supervision.
The declaration also shielded Egypt’s Constituent Assembly, which was writing the a new constitution, and Egypt’s upper house Shura Council, from potential dissolution by court order. The People’s Assembly had been dissolved in June after a ruling found elements of the electoral law unconstitutional.
Both the Constituent Assembly and Shura Council are dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies.
The declaration also gives the president the power to appoint Egypt's prosecutor-general for a four-year period. Judge Talaat Ibrahim Mohamed Abdullah, a former deputy head of Egypt's Court of Cassation, is appointed via the declaration to the post of prosecutor-general.
The declaration also orders the retrial of anyone accused of killing and injuring protesters during the 2011 Tahrir Square uprising, if new evidence is provided.
The move is immediately condemned by the opposition, many judges and prosecutors, and large sections of the Egyptian public as dictatorial. The declaration is defended by its proponents as a necessary move to safeguard the revolution. Several of the president’s twenty-one advisors resign.
The weeks that followed see nationwide protests and several massive demonstrations in Tahrir Square and at the presidential palace in Cairo as well as clashes between the president’s supporters and protesters, with hundreds of injuries and several deaths.
The constitution is pushed through (December 2012)
2 December- Morsi calls for a constitutional referendum on 15 December after a night of feverish work by Constituent Assembly members to complete the contentious charter in a deadline set by the March 2011 constitutional declaration, drawing criticism from the opposition who were dismayed Egypt’s most important legal document was rushed to completion.
The Constituent Assembly has suffered a number of resignations due to claims the large Islamist current within it were monopolizing the drafting process. It is ultimately boycotted by most non-Islamist political groups.
Morsi had promised to seek a balanced Constituent Assembly in his presidential campaign, a fact that antagonized the opposition further when he called for the referendum and described the charter as “revolutionary.”
6 December- President Morsi calls for dialogue with political groups. The National Salvation Front (NSF), a loosely based grouping of the main opposition parties and movements which was established after Morsi’s declaration, rejects the invitation and insists the president revokes the declaration and postpones the referendum until a consensual charter is drawn up.
9 December- After a long meeting (boycotted by the NSF) with politicians and public figures, Morsi issues a new constitutional declaration rescinding the older one yet retaining its effects. The new declaration lifts his immunity from judicial oversight but keeps the Brotherhood-dominated Constituent Assembly and Shura Council immune from dissolution.
The second declaration also safeguards the 22 November declaration and “all constitutional declarations” by the president from any challenges via court rulings in the future.
Morsi's move fails to placate protesters, especially as the new declaration rubber-stamps the decision to hold the constitutional referendum. Amid continuing protests, the president gives the military arrest powers until the day of the referendum.
Morsi also approves sweeping increases in sales taxes, only to retract his decision very early the next day, saying he “does not accept that the Egyptian citizen carries any extra burdens without consent.” The measure was part of an economic program by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) aimed to make Egypt eligible for a 4.8 billion dollar loan.
23 December- The president appoints ninty members to the Shura Council, filling the last third of the seats, prior to expectations that the constitution will garner a yes vote in the referendum. Appointees include constitutional experts, liberals, Copts and Islamists. Appointments are criticized for including members of the Mubarak regime and ignoring key opposition figures.
26 December- Hours after Egypt’s Supreme Electoral Commission announced the draft constitution had been endorsed by 63.8 of voters, Morsi signs an executive order enacting the new charter. He also announces an upcoming government reshuffle in a television address.
29 December- In a speech at the now-complete Shura Council, Morsi formally passes legislative authority to the upper house of parliament, as stipulated in the new constitution. He highlights the electoral law of the House of Representatives (formerly the People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament) as a top priority.
Despite the recent downgrade of Egypt’s long term credit-rating to a B-, Morsi says steps are being taken to face Egypt’s economic downturn.
Key events in the Egyptian president's first year in office: 2013 opens with nationwide protests, parliamentary elections are postponed again and Egypt struggles with Nile dam crisis.
A new Cabinet and new clashes (January 2013)
6 January- Morsi carries out his promised government shake up, and ten new ministers are sworn in, including key posts at the interior ministry and in a number of financial ministries. Despite calls for a less partisan government, the new Cabinet includes eight members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, compared to five before the reshuffle.
The ministerial reshuffle comes before talks with the IMF regarding the 4.8 billion dollar loan. The new finance minister El-Morsi El-Sayed Hegazy is an Islamic finance expert.
26 January- In the early hours of the day, after clashes between protesters and police forces in several Egyptian cities on the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution led to hundreds of injuries and several deaths in Suez Canal cities, Morsi tweets condemning violence by “criminals” while saying that security forces are protecting peaceful demonstrations. He urges protesters to remain peaceful.
The NSF puts forth several demands as conditions for national consensus, among them amending controversial articles in the constitution, forming a national unity government and sacking the prosecutor-general appointed via the November decree.
27 January- As protests continue in several cities, a court verdict was issued which sentenced twenty-one football fans to death after they were convicted of killing the supporters of Cairo-based club Ahly in last February’s infamous violence in Port Said.
Port Said residents complained that the verdict was impartial, many believing that a “massacre” of Ahly club fans was orchestrated by the then-ruling SCAF with the complicity of the interior ministry. The resulting protests in Port Said caused several dozen deaths in the city.
In a televised speech, President Morsi declared a state of emergency in the canal cities of Port-Said, Suez and Ismailia, imposing a nighttime curfew which was later brazenly defied by residents in the three cities with no resistance from police or the army, who were deployed to secure the cities following the violence. Again, the president calls for dialogue.
28 January- Morsi holds a dialogue with mostly Islamist parties, including the Salafist Nour Party and its ally Al-Wasat Party, as well as the Strong Egypt Party headed by ex-Muslim Brotherhood leader and former presidential contender Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh.
The main opposition alliance, the NSF, rejects dialogue with Morsi. While asserting that the group isn’t against talks per se, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei says the NSF refuses to engage in a “fake” dialogue, citing Morsi’s dialogue with opposition leaders over the constitution which was followed by his November decree that protected the contentious Constituent Assembly.
30 January- In a quick trip to Europe which was cut shortly after due to escalating violence in Egypt, President Morsi stops in Germany seeking, and failing, to secure debt relief and raise the confidence of German investors in Egypt.
The NSF and the Nour Party launch a joint initiative to resolve the crisis, laying down conditions including the formation of a national unity government, and reiterating points put down by the opposition previously including constitutional amendments and dismissing the Morsi-appointed prosecutor general.
The initiative also calls for the launching of immediate investigations into recent bloodshed in which more than fifty civilians have been killed.
Loss of key Salafist allies (February - March 2013)
4 February- Morsi meets with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to discuss the increasingly unstable security situation.
5 February- Morsi receives Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Cairo airport who is in Egypt to attend the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit. It is the first such visit since the severing of relations between Egypt and Iran in 1979. Egyptian Salafists criticize the visit warning of Shia influence on Egypt.
17 February- Morsi dismisses his advisor on environmental affairs, Khaled Alam El-Din, a leading member of the Nour Party. Fellow party member and advisor Khaled El-Zarqa also resigns in protest at Alam El-Din’s dismissal, raising the number of resigned advisors to ten out of twenty-one.
21 February–The Egypt presidency announces that the first post-constitution elections for the lower chamber of parliament House of Representatives will be held in April as the upper house Shura Council prepares a new elections law.
26 February- Morsi holds another national dialogue session to discuss upcoming parliamentary elections. The session is attended mainly by Islamist groups while the opposition National Salvation Front boycotts the meeting, holding to its demands of dismissing PM Hisham Qandil’s government and calling for the postponing of the elections.
Rifts between the president and the Muslim Brotherhood and former allies the Nour Party are emphasized in the meeting when Nour Party leader Younis Makhioun criticizes Morsi's decision to announce a date for elections without consulting his party or considering the latter's recent joint-initiative with the NSF. Makhioun accuses the Muslim Brotherhood of attempting to monopolize state institutions.
The NSF, who refused to attend the meeting, said it would boycott parliamentary elections until guarantees of free and fair elections are provided, including a consensual elections law.
4 March- After meeting with a delegation from Egypt’s Nubian region, President Morsi promises repatriation of Nubian families who were displaced during the past half century, and says he will raise the issue of the community’s development with the Shura Council.
6 March- Egypt's Administrative Court overturns Morsi’s decree calling for parliamentary elections in April, after referring the elections law to the High Constitutional Court on Wednesday, questioning the constitutionality of the newly-drafted law. The presidency releases a statement saying it respects the court order.
7 March- The Egyptian State Lawsuit Authority appeals on behalf of the Egyptian president, the minister of justice and the head of the Shura Council, the Administrative Court ruling suspending parliamentary elections.
14 March- In an effort to calm tensions after a court order confirms death sentences of Port Said football fans and sentences two dozen others to jail, the first verdict of which was followed by clashes that led to the killing of over fifty in the restive city, Morsi meets with three of the killed protesters’ families promises retribution for the “martyrs”.
18 March- During a visit to Pakistan, Morsi receives an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the National University of Science and Technology. His acceptance speech is ridiculed by Egyptian pundits for containing many factual errors regarding citations from the history of Arabic science.
24 March- Anti-Brotherhood sentiment is on the rise across Egypt exhibited by numerous attacks on Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) offices and clashes between supporters and opponents of the president.
In a speech at the Initiative to Support Women’s Rights and Freedoms sponsored by the presidency, Morsi issues a strong worded warning, vowing to take necessary steps to “protect” Egypt. He also warned politicians who give cover for violence and insisted Egypt is not going bankrupt amid a persistent economic downturn.
The president also warns that he will “cut off the fingers” of those meddling in Egyptian affairs.
28 March- Morsi is quoted by the state news agency saying that he hopes parliamentary elections will take place in October.
Diplomatic tensions and stiffening opposition (April - May 2013)
10 April- President Morsi orders the withdrawal of all legal complaints lodged against Egyptian journalists as his regime comes under fire for investigating media personalities on charges of “insulting the president.”
Popular Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef was questioned by prosecutors at the end of March at the prosecutor-general’s office after allegations that he had defamed Morsi.
12 April- At the conclusion of a meeting between Morsi and Egypt's Supreme Council for the Armed Forces, the president promotes several top officers in an effort to thaw the recently strained relationship between the army and presidency.
A presidential report (not officially published) was leaked by UK daily the Guardian implicating the army in human rights abuses during their brief transitional rule before Morsi came to office.
Following the meeting, Morsi underlined the entente between both institutions stating his rejection of any abuse directed against the army or its members.
20 April- In an interview with Qatari-owned Al Jazeera, Morsi announces a coming government reshuffle, saying he will not change efficient ministers.
21 April- Egypt‘s Supreme Administrative Court dismisses appeal by presidency against a ruling suspending the country's parliamentary elections.
22 April- Morsi meets with top judges amid a row between the judiciary and the Islamist dominated legislature who are attempting to pass a judicial authority law rejected by a majority of Egyptian judges. In a statement after the meeting, a planned conference to resolve the crisis was supported by the president as he asserted his rejection of any infringement on the judiciary’s independence.
The week prior to the meeting witnessed protests by Islamists demanding a “purge” of the judiciary, the aftermath of which saw Brotherhood-allied Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki resign from his post in protest to the demonstration.
23 April- The president’s advisor for legal affairs, Mohamed Fouad Gadallah, tenders his resignation amid a backdrop of tensions between the judiciary and the Shura Council. Gadallah is the twelfth presidential advisor to resign. He is viewed as the architect behind Morsi’s bombshell November constitutional declaration.
7 May- Once again, Morsi strengthens the Brotherhood’s grip on government. In yet another Cabinet shake-up, three more Brotherhood members are given ministerial portfolios. The ministry of investment and the ministry of planning and international cooperation are now run by Amr Darrag and Yehia Hamed respectively, bringing the total number of Brotherhood ministers to eleven out of thirty-five.
22 May- President Morsi announces the release of seven security personnel abducted the week before in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where sixteen soldiers were killed by unknown assailants in August, vowing to hold accountable the “criminals” responsible for the attack. No suspects have yet been named.
28 May- During the twenty first annual African Union summit in Ethiopia, Morsi says an agreement was struck with Ethiopia that both countries’ interests will be addressed during the building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. After Morsi’s departure, Ethiopia diverts the course of the Blue Nile in preparation for the dam’s construction, igniting a diplomatic row as Egypt frets over the dam’s possible effect on its share of Nile water.
4 June- In a roundtable discussion of the Ethiopian dam issue, Morsi listens to suggestions of politicians mostly allied to the Muslim Brotherhood on ways to resolve the crisis. Unaware the meeting was being aired live, attendees exhibited a free rein in their discussion resulting in bellicose suggestions against Ethiopia, deepening the problem further.
6 June- In an interview with state-owned daily Al-Ahram, the president dismisses calls for snap presidential elections as “farcical and illegitimate.”
An anti-Morsi signature campaign called Tamarod (Rebel) launched in May gathers significant momentum on the Egyptian streets. Tamarod - founded by opposition activists - aims to force Morsi out of office by collecting fifteen million petitions (two million more than he garnered in elections) to withdraw confidence in the president.
‘Rebel’ announces plans for a mass demonstration and sit-in at the presidential palace on 30 June, the one year anniversary of Morsi in office, in order to press their demands.
10 June- In a speech in front of an all-Islamist audience at which he urged attendees to stand united on the challenge posed by the planned Ethiopian dam, Morsi vows to defend “every drop” of Egypt’s Nile water with “blood if necessary” while asserting that dialogue with Nile basin countries - especially Ethiopia - is the best route to take.
15 June- Morsi announces that Egypt will sever ties with Syria at Cairo's fully-packed twenty thousand-seat indoor stadium and calls for Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria after the Lebanese militant group joined the battle alongside the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad against the rebel Free Syrian Army and Jihadi groups.
Influential Salafist preachers Mohamed Hassaan and Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud subsequently addressed the crowd after Morsi and called for Jihad in Syria. Two days earlier, Morsi’s foreign affairs advisor said Egyptians were free to fight in Syria.
The move followed a US decision to arm Syrian rebels following alleged revelations that Assad used chemical weapons against the opposition fighters, a fact which drew much criticism against Morsi from opposition activists who accused him of following US instructions.
17 June- In an untimely decision, Morsi appoints seven Brotherhood governors among sixteen newly-appointed governorate heads. Critics said that the reshuffle was an example of the Islamist group attempting to monopolize power and exclude other political forces from the decision-making process as twenty-seven of Egypt’s provinces would now be under the control of Brotherhood-affiliated governors.
The new appointments also included the controversial decision to award the Luxor governor position to a member of the hardline Islamist group and Brotherhood ally Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya. The move sparked public outcry as the organization had orchestrated an attack that killed fifty-eight foreign tourists and four Egyptians in Luxor in 1997.
The appointments caused a wave of protests and clashes between Brotherhood supporters and opponents in several governorates. This contributed to general unrest across the country, as clashes erupted nationwide between Morsi’s supporters and ‘Rebel’ campaigners in the run up to 30 June demonstrations.
24 June- The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party confirms it will be joining an "open-ended demonstration" entitled "Legitimacy is a red line" on the Friday before nationwide opposition protests planned for 30 June.
The sit-in, which is set to take place at Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo's Nasr City - a traditional meeting point for Morsi supporters, was announced in a meeting held by the Islamic Alliance: a coalition of Islamist political parties led by the FJP which includes hardline Islamist group Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, the moderate Wasat Party and various ultraconservative Salafist parties.
With thousands expected in Egypt's streets around the anniversary of the president's first term in office, many fear the meeting of rival protest groups will result in bloody clashes.
The final hours
Tuesday, 25 June: A group of activists and opposition figures notify the minister of defense that momentum for planned 30 June demonstrations calling for early presidential elections is picking up "unprecedented support," assessed at no less than six million demonstrators for the day by intelligence. They go on to voice concern over potential confrontations with Islamists.
The meeting comes against the backdrop of an ultimatum issued by the armed forces in line with its constitutional capacity as the guarantor of national security. The military calls on all political parties to reach a settlement that would save the nation from serious political conflict in language sympathetic to opposition demands for change, which are supported by both Al-Azhar and the Coptic-Orthodox Church.
Wednesday, 26 June: A group of opposition leaders meet with leaders of the Salafist Nour Party and share concerns over extended political turmoil should the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi decline to bow to opposition demands for early presidential elections in view of the expected huge crowds set to join anti-Morsi marches and the unmistakable deterioration of living conditions.
Nour Party leadership communicates the message to the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood and offers last-ditch mediation that would include meeting key opposition demands. These include the appointment of a new government, a new prosecutor-general and a committee tasked with revisiting controversial articles of the constitution, within the context of a phased reconciliation scheme to be followed by a national dialogue meeting and agreement on a date for early presidential elections.
The mediation scheme is offered the support of the army, which begins visible deployment without prior coordination with the president. An extended meeting between the president and defense minister fails to reverse the deployment, as Muslim Brotherhood attempts to find support for removing the minister of defense fail.
President Morsi makes a speech that shocks the opposition as extremely out of touch and non-reconciliatory, if not outright provocative. Morsi reiterates calls for national dialogue, which are ignored by the opposition that has zero faith in the presidential offer due to discouraging past experiences.
Thursday, 27 June: The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood shrugs off the offer on the basis that reconciliation before the 30 June demonstrations would prompt political greed on the part of the opposition. The president calls on his prime minister to work with the cabinet to try and fix the signs of economic malaise. Leaders of militant Islamist groups show solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood, along with some but not all of the leaders of Salafist parties and movements.
Mobilization is ordered by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. The defense minister consults with army commanders on the prospects of a showdown in view of the Brotherhood's lack of willingness to show interest in any compromise deals, including one offered by the Salafist Nour Party and others offered by independent Islamist figures.
Official information indicates growing mobilization for the 30 June protests, not just by activists and supporters of the regime of Hosni Mubarak, but by many individuals. The army begins a more visible deployment, with vehicles carrying stickers expressing the army's support for opposition demands.
Friday, 28 June: Islamist figures and followers of the Muslim Brotherhood gather for Friday prayers around Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City in the thousands. Preachers and speakers announce plans for a sit-in in solidarity with the elected president and his legitimacy. The speakers vow unconditional support for Morsi.
Meanwhile, thousands gather at Tahrir Square and around the Ittihadiyah presidential palace in a prelude to the 30 June demonstrations. Army, police and intelligence leadership make a unified decision to bow to the "will of the people." The Muslim Brotherhood leadership contacts key Western capitals with a message of certainty that the turnout for the 30 June demonstrations would not exceed one million people who would not stay for long.
Eleven Islamist political parties launch the 'National Alliance for Legitimacy Support' to "protect the Egyptian people's democratic gains." The alliance, which was officially announced at a press conference at Cairo's International Conference Centre, includes the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, the moderate-Islamist Wasat Party, the Salafist Watan Party and the ultra-conservative Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya's Building and Development Party.
Activists and opposition leaders step up preparations for 30 June and communicate confidence to their rank and file. Opposition figures meet with army representatives to discuss transition beyond Morsi.
Saturday, 29 June: An anxious Muslim Brotherhood leadership calls on supporters to join the Nasr City crowd. Activists make an unprecedented show of anti-Morsi sentiment and call on citizens to join calls for Morsi to step down. The army imposes tough security monitoring on senior Muslim Brotherhood figures and continues deliberations amid assessments of huge demonstrations on Sunday. Western capitals call on all parties to reach a compromise.
Sunday, 30 June: Millions take to the streets to call on Morsi to step down. The president fails to convince police to protect the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo's Moqattam district. Nationwide demonstrations persist in the face of alarmist calls suggesting violent confrontations between Islamists and non-Islamists. Clerics at the Nasr City gathering switch from threats to appeals for reconciliation.
The army leadership decides that time is running out for Morsi. The Salafist leadership again tries to extract a compromise from the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, as several cabinet members offer resignations. Spokesmen for the president hold press conferences to convey a message of resilience in the face of the demonstrations. The president is kept under the eyes of the intelligence apparatus.
Pressure is ratcheted up by the president to agree to bow to the opposition's demands. Western capitals adopt more accommodating language regarding demonstrators' demands, but stress the need to observe the rules of the democratic process. The president unsuccessfully tries to lobby the support of some army leaders.
Monday, 1 July: The Muslim Brotherhood insists that it is not bowing to the demands of the street and insists on the democratic right of the elected president to continue his term in office. The prime minister and minister of defense meet with the president in search of a way out of the crisis, but no agreement is made.
Ten Egyptian ministers submit their resignations, including Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou, Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Khaled Abdel-Aal, Communication and Information Technology Minister Atef Helmi, Minister of State for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hatem Bagato and Water Minister Abdel-Qawy Khalifa.
The minister of defense consults with political advisors and issues a statement from the central command of the army – a roughly fifty-member body made up of top brass – that basically offers a forty-eight-hour ultimatum to the president to bow to the demands of the opposition.
Massive numbers of demonstrators take to the streets to celebrate. The president and the Muslim Brotherhood decline to give way. Calls for a wider show of support for the president are made by the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The minister of defense and president meet extensively, but no compromise is reached. Pro-Morsi marches start to assemble, but offer no match to the massive public show of support for the army.
The Muslim Brotherhood vows defiance and communicates a message of resilience to concerned Western capitals, which in turn call for an agreed upon exit. The presidency announces that it had received support from the White House, but the White House denies the assertion.
Western capitals receive calls from the Muslim Brotherhood to counter any possible support for a "coup d'etat." An army spokesman issues a statement insisting that it is not executing a coup against the president but is only acting upon the "will of the people."
Tuesday, 2 July: The country braces for a post-Morsi Egypt with parallel and intense meetings between opposition, military, intelligence, police and judiciary in search of a semi-constitutional exit. The cabinet of Hisham Qandil offers Morsi its resignation as the army calls on the president to transfer its authorities to a new prime minister, who would then assemble a bureaucratic cabinet that would administer a transitional phase for one year to eighteen months.
The army assures all concerned capitals that it is not planning to rule. Army and police are on high alert amid speculation of possible bloody confrontations. The army sends a message to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership to come to terms on an agreement to avoid confrontation, threatening to arrest anyone involved in speculated paramilitary activities.
The army awaits the president to either announce the transfer of power to a new prime minister or step down and give room to the army to announce details of the transition. Large masses take to the streets to re-emphasize demands for Morsi's ouster and for a new beginning of transition.
At midnight, a defiant Morsi addresses the nation in a forty-five-minute speech in which he insists that any attempt to overthrow democratic legitimacy, which he vows to defend with his own blood if necessary. Meanwhile, clashes take place in Giza west of Cairo, leaving seveteen dead and hundreds injured before the police finally intervene.
Wednesday, 3 July: Hours before the end of the forty-eight-hour deadline, general commanders of the Egyptian Armed Forces meet, headed by Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. They call for meetings with representatives of the Brotherhood's FJP, the anti-Morsi Tamarod (Rebel) campaign, the ultra-conservative Salafist Nour Party, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, as well as Mohamed ElBaradei, who was delegated by the 30 June Front and the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF).
Meanwhile, the Rebel campaign holds a press conference in which it repeats its demands for Morsi to step down. At the same time, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy refuses any calls for negotiations with the army, calling any non-constitutional step a "military coup."
At 16:30, the military's forty-eight-hour deadline expires without an official statement from the armed forces, which announces that it was meeting with religious, national, political and youth leaders, promising to soon announce a statement.
At 21:00, El-Sisi addresses the nation on live television and unveils a "roadmap" for Egypt's political future proposed by the opposition, which includes the ouster of Morsi and snap presidential elections.
The roadmap included the following points:
- The temporary suspension of the current constitution.
- Empowering the head of Egypt's High Constitutional Court (HCC) to run the country until a new president is elected via early presidential polls.
- Forming a new technocratic government and asking the HCC to hasten the passing of a parliamentary elections law, currently being reviewed by the HCC, to allow for parliamentary elections.
- Forming a committee to amend controversial articles of the temporarily suspended constitution.
- Laying down a media code of ethics to guarantee the media's professionalism.
- Forming a committee to foster "national reconciliation."
- Taking immediate steps to include youth in decision-making circles.
Morsi responds by releasing a statement on his official Facebook page saying that the Wednesday military announcement amounts to a "coup" and insisting that he remains the legitimate head of state and commander-in-chief of Egypt's armed forces.
Egyptian security forces begin arresting senior brotherhood members, including FJP head Saad El-Katatni and Rashad Bayoumi, the deputy head of the Islamist movement.
Unconfirmed reports emerge that Morsi has been put under house arrest.
Thursday, 4 July: Adly Mansour, the newly-appointed head of the HCC, is sworn into office. "I swear by Almighty God that I will uphold the republican system, respect the constitution and law, look after the interests of the people, and protect the independence of the nation and safety of its land," he declares under oath.
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The upshot of all this is to say, alongside a veritable chorus of academics, activists, policymakers, and citizens in Lebanon and beyond, that sectarianism has been forged over time through specific institutional and discursive practices and, therefore, could be modified or undone.click | email | tweet
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