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At The Heart of the Conflict in Egypt, No Legitimacy in Ousting a Legitimately Elected President in a Military Led Coup

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From Mohamed Morsi cropped
Mohamed Morsi cropped
(Image by Wikipedia)
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Mohamed Morsi cropped by Wikipedia


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Ousted President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt



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As of Wednesday, the latest crackdown by the "interim" government in Egypt against the supporters and protesters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi resulted in hundreds (over 800) killed nationwide.

Against the backdrop of this brutality authorized and backed by Egypt's generals, "interim" government Vice President Mohammed ElBaradei and Nobel Prize winner, resigned in protest saying, "I cannot bear the responsibility for one drop of blood". Other liberal groups that supported the military coup of Morsi criticized the military's use of lethal force.

Meanwhile in defense of the attacks on the mostly Islamic protesters, "interim" government Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi said, "We found that matters had reached a point that no self respecting state could accept" blaming the Muslim Brotherhood for inciting "anarchy" adding, "God willing, we will continue. We will build our democratic, civilian state".

But in truth, Egypt's "democratic civilian state" was toppled with the military coup that deposed Morsi on July 3 rd . Now with this current brutal crackdown of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists by this military led government, civil war is more likely to occur before rebuilding a "democratic civilian state" is possible again in Egypt.

Why is this likely? Well to all those "progressives" in the U.S. as well as those protesters in Egypt that took to the streets pushing for and demanding the military to oust Morsi, the fact is there is no legitimacy in forcing out a legitimately elected president in a military led coup. And that fact goes to the heart of the present downward spiral in Egypt.

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In any legitimately elected government the military must be subordinate to the civilian authority. When that civilian authority is broken and overtaken by the military, the "democratic, civilian state" is destroyed in the process; precisely what has happened in Egypt.

Now in every "democratic civilian state", whether led by a president or a prime minister, will make mistakes in attempting to carry out his (her) duties and responsibilities. He (she) can not please all the people all the time, certainly not their most vociferous opposition.

In Egypt besides the political constraints imposed on Morsi i.e. no written constitution in place delineating the separation of powers between the elected president, parliament and the Court, no sitting parliament (previously disbanded by the Supreme Court as being overly dominated by Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood members[and all holdover appointees made under Mubarak that despised Morsi and the Brotherhood] and opposed him from the outset), there was persistently high unemployment, high food costs, poor public services (water, electricity), a decimated tourist industry (previously a main income producer of hard currency into the country) and government fiscal debt (mostly incurred during Mubarak's 30 year reign) had all contributed to the ongoing instability that plagued the country during the one year infancy of the democratically elected President Morsi.

Thus expectations by the Egyptian people, (in hindsight unrealistic considering some of the intractable problems that existed before that continued during Morsi's presidency, after a mostly bloodless revolution and the ouster of the hated Mubarak), outpaced the need for tolerance, patience and the nurturing of a fragile democracy by those people.

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