For the night of 3 July 2013
South Korea-North Korea: Update. On 4 July, South Korea renewed its proposal for talks with North Korea about reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
Comment: Earlier this week, a group of Kaesong industrialists told the government that in two more weeks the damage to the equipment at the complex would become irreparable.
Pakistan: At least 16 people were killed and five others wounded when a US drone attacked a suspected Haqqani militant compound in a remote tribal region of northwestern Pakistan late Tuesday. Pakistan protested that the attack violated its sovereignty.
Comment: The last drone strike was on 7 June. Prime Minister Sharif is on a six day state visit to China. He is likely to take this attack as a personal affront, timed deliberately while he is abroad. This could become one of the last drone attacks.
Afghanistan: For the record. The head of the Afghan army, General Sher Mohammad Karimi said that fighting in Afghanistan could be stopped 'in weeks' if Pakistan told the Taliban to end the insurgency. He told a reporter, "The Taliban are under Pakistan's control - the leadership is in Pakistan."
Comment: Blaming Pakistan is not new, but the general's point has merit. He did not say that Afghanistan's Western allies have tolerated this condition since November 2001, apparently in return for using Pakistani infrastructure for resupplying forces in Afghanistan.
No drone strikes or other attacks have targeted Mullah Omar and the Quetta Shura, which could have decapitated the Taliban leadership, disrupted Taliban finances and their explosives supply chain and demoralized the fighting groups inside Afghanistan.
Turkey: Update. On 3 July an administrative court in Turkey annulled a government decision to redevelop Gezi Park in Istanbul that sparked nationwide protests. The court based its ruling, made last month but only revealed by Turkish media on Wednesday, on the grounds that the "local population" had not been sufficiently consulted about the redevelopment project.
Comment: The Erdogan government has kept its promise to permit a court challenge to its development plan. This ends the protests by the environmentalists and defenders of the park. It also neutralizes one set of complaints for now.
Egypt: At 20:00 local (14:00 EDT) Armed Forces Commander in Chief General al Sisi announced the following measures.
• The Constitution shall be temporarily suspended
• The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall take oath before the court's general assembly
• Early presidential elections shall take place
• The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall run the affairs of the country during the transitional period until a new president has been elected
• The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall have the authority to pass constitutional declarations during the transitional phase
• A national technocrat government - which shall be both strong and competent - shall be formed and shall enjoy all the powers needed to run the current phase
• A committee shall be formed comprising figures from various expertise and spectrums to review the proposed amendments to the Constitution, which has been temporality suspended
• The Supreme Constitutional Court is hereby urged to pass the draft law on parliamentary election and to embark on preparing for parliamentary election
• A media charter of honor (honor code) shall be designed in a way that ensures media freedom; observes professional rules, credibility, and neutrality; and advances the homeland's top interests
• Practical measures shall be taken to empower young people and integrate them into the state's institutions so they can be partners in the decision-making process on the various levels of the executive authority
• A higher committee for national reconciliation shall be formed. The committee shall comprise figures who enjoy credibility and acceptance from all national forces, and who represent all affiliations
On the dais with al Sisi were the senior military commanders, the leader of the most important mosque in Cairo, the Coptic Pope and Mohammed el Baradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and spokesman for the National Salvation Front.
The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court and the new interim president is Adly Mansour. He is a Mursi appointee to the court, but also served as a judge under Mubarak. His relative obscurity was a factor in his selection.
Comment: The list of measures in the road map matches the "initiative" to which ex-president Mursi referred in his speech last midnight. Mursi admitted he agreed to the initiative and then reneged. In his statement, General al Sisi mentioned that Mursi's rejection of the road map last night was the trigger for his ouster.
Some background. A commentary in al Ahram, other press reports and General al Sisi's remarks corroborated and updated the NightWatch analysis of behind the scenes maneuvers mentioned in Mursi's speech. Al Sisi said that since November 2012 the armed forces leadership has warned the presidency repeatedly about the danger of civil war.
A press article said that the road map has been under discussion with Mursi for months but only recently obtained his agreement. Another commentary said Mursi's open call for young Egyptians to engage in armed jihad against the Syrian government at a 15 June rally was the final provocation. Sunni imams called all Shiites and the Egyptian political opposition "infidels." The next day, the Army quietly disavowed Mursi's statement and the rally.
The al Ahram report confirmed that a few days ago Mursi agreed to a transfer of power between senior civilian authorities, to the Chief Judge of the Supreme Constitutional Court, in a seamless and legitimate maneuver in which the armed forces would have no visibility. The armed forces promised him safe passage out of Egypt. He also agreed to the list of items above, including new presidential elections in six months.
Apparently, Mursi's address last night was supposed to announce his resignation. Al Ahram reported that Mursi double crossed the armed forces on the advice of his Muslim Brotherhood advisers. That explains General al Sisi's comment on the speech. When Mursi double crossed the armed forces, it acted, but the transparent power transfer between senior civilians was not possible. The Army was forced to emerge in a public role.
Update. Mursi's location is not known, but Egyptian bloggers reported that he is in the custody of military intelligence and reconnaissance, one of General Sisi's former commands. The Army surrounded the gathering places of the Muslim Brotherhood and barricaded them to prevent clashes.
Martial law has not been declared, but arrest warrants for some 300 Brotherhood members are reported to have been issued. The two leaders of the Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party are also wanted men.
The opposition leaders said consultations already have begun for the technocrats and committee members.
Ten people reportedly died, in an otherwise bloodless ouster. The deaths resulted from clashes in Alexandria and two other cities outside Cairo. The danger of clashes persists, especially if the Brotherhood organizes a backlash.
Comment: The military operation was professional, well-prepared and smoothly executed. Soldiers moved into key government institutions, including state TV, with no violence or disorders.
Political consultations probably have been occurring for a considerable time, which helps explain the overall smoothness of the operation. By the end of this week, the Army may be expected to recede into the political background and let the civilians take charge.
Various Brotherhood members tweeted that Egypt has shown that democracy is not for Muslims. They admitted that they set up an Islamist government.
Special comment: The Mursi government is the first Islamist government to be ousted. This will have a ripple effect in Islamic circles because hard line imams who oppose democracy will feel vindicated.
In terms of the analysis of internal instability, this was a textbook case, similar in phenomenology to ousters in Pakistan. A coup has six components: a disgruntled and organized group; a set of gripes against the ruling leaders: more guns and ammunition than the defenders of the sitting government; a plot and a plan; preparations and vehicles that work and an opportunity to take action. These are always present.
The Egyptian Army operation satisfied all of those requirements for the plotters. The opposition demonstrations provided the opportunity. The low level of bloodshed is a testament to effective planning and coordination plus the Mursi government's many errors of judgment. The most important is Mursi and his men believed they wielded real power because of the election and the rigged constitution, rather than power at sufferance of the Army.
The day's events also re-affirm a basic rule of internal instability-most often governments are the agents of their own downfall. Mursi and his acolytes ignored multiple warnings and opportunities to avert their overthrow. The Muslim Brotherhood and its proxies overreached in pushing their Islamist agenda and did too little to address the causes of Mubarak's overthrow-food and fuel shortages and no jobs. Mursi learned nothing from Mubarak's ouster.
Several commentators today remarked that elections do not make a democracy. They express the will of the people, but only if the people they elect are honest about their programs and policies. There are other ways for the people to express their will, as the Egyptians demonstrated since 30 June.
If the Egyptian people are sovereign, then the overthrow of Mursi was arguably a legitimate act of the people, an act of direct democracy, a recall. It was not mediated by representative institutions or voting, but by the Army as agent of the people, in General Sisi's words. The groundswell of popular support for the Army's action makes Sisi's case for agency.
Alternatively, the Army is the actual sovereign in Egypt and has been for many decades. It overthrew Mubarak by its inaction to defend him. It permitted elections as a means of selecting a chief operating officer, Mursi. It chose a different method of replacing him.
There has been no revolution in Egypt and the way ahead will be troubled. The opposition to Mursi included many alliances of convenience because the opposition groups spanned the political spectrum, from liberal secularists to hard line Salafists.
The one thing that today's events appear to have settled is that Egyptians do not want an Islamist government run by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Iran: Iran's president-elect, the moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani, said Wednesday that the Islamic Republic's powerful clergy needs to do more to address the needs of Iranian citizens and regain their trust. In an event at the Interior Ministry that was broadcast live on state television, Rouhani told a gathering of hundreds of his fellow clerics that the Iranian people 'must feel a sense of tranquility and security in all fields,' especially politics and social issues.
Comment: The timing of these comments suggests they were influenced by events in Egypt.
Saudi Arabia: Saudi King Abdallah on Wednesday sent a message of congratulations to Egypt's new caretaker president, saying his appointment comes at a "critical" time in the nation's history. "On behalf of the people of Saudi Arabia I congratulate you for taking over the leadership of Egypt at this critical time in its history," Abdallah's was the first message of congratulations by an Arab leader to Egyptian interim president Adly Mansour.
Syria: In commenting on the events in Egypt, President Asad told the official Thawra newspaper, "Whoever brings religion to use in politics or in favor of one group at the expense of another will fall anywhere in the world. The summary of what is happening in Egypt is the fall of what is called political Islam."
Syrian television carried live coverage of the huge street demonstrations in Egypt demanding the departure of President Mohamed Mursi.
Tunisia: Tunisian opposition activists have launched their own version of Egypt's Tamarod protest movement to overthrow the Ennahda-led government. Thus far they only have 200,000 signatures.
End of NightWatch for 3 July.
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