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Questions and answers about Egypt's latest turmoil

Friday - 7/5/2013, 4:46am  ET

Supporters of ousted Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans during a rally, in Nasser City, Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, July 4, 2013. The chief justice of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court was sworn in Thursday as the nation's interim president, taking over hours after the military ousted the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Adly Mansour took the oath of office at the Nile-side Constitutional Court in a ceremony broadcast live on state television. According to military decree, Mansour will serve as Egypt's interim leader until a new president is elected. A date for that vote has yet to be set. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) -- The military has removed Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, from office to the joy of millions of anti-government protesters accusing the Islamist leader of abusing his authority. The chief judge of the Supreme Constitutional Court has been installed as an interim leader more than two years after autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak was ousted. The military also has moved swiftly against Morsi's Islamist allies, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Here are a few questions and answers about the latest turmoil in the Arab world's most populous country.



The chief judge of the Supreme Constitutional Court Adly Mansour has been installed by the armed forces as interim president after Morsi's ouster. Mansour, 67, was appointed to the court by Morsi's predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, but elevated to the chief justice post only two days before the Islamist leader was deposed. After his swearing-in ceremony, Mansour delivered an address praising the massive street demonstrations that led to Morsi's ouster but showed no sign of outreach to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. He suggested Morsi's election had been tainted, saying, "I look forward to parliamentary and presidential elections held with the genuine and authentic will of the people."

The military has insisted it is acting on the will of the people to clear the way for a new leadership and not carrying out a coup, but it has clearly positioned itself to maintain control during any unrest following Morsi's ouster, launching a major crackdown against the deposed leader's Muslim Brotherhood. It also suspended the Islamist-backed constitution and dissolved the Islamist-dominated parliament. While welcoming the military's intervention to oust Morsi, some Egyptians are worried it will resort to heavy-handed measures and try to assert too much control as it was criticized for doing in the wake of Mubarak's ouster. Now, a government has to be picked and negotiations, which are likely to involve the military, are ongoing on possible candidates.


Morsi has been detained in an unknown location since the generals pushed him out Wednesday. His family was not with him when he was detained and their whereabouts are unknown. So far the army has released few details about whether the ousted leader will face any charges or what will happen to him, but he could face legal action related to a prison break that happened during the chaos during the 18-day uprising that ousted Mubarak in 2011, and possibly the death of protesters during his year in office. At least a dozen of his senior aides and advisers are being held in what is described as house arrest.


The Muslim Brotherhood has insisted the military has carried out a coup and announced it wants nothing to do with the new political system. Thousands of Morsi's supporters are rallying and holding a sit-in in eastern Cairo, chanting: "We say it loudly, Morsi is the president of the republic." Authorities have issued a wanted list for more than 200 Brotherhood members and leaders of other Islamist groups. The Muslim Brotherhood's leader Mohammed Badie has been arrested on suspicion of responsibility in the killing of at least six protesters during clashes at the Brotherhood's headquarters. The Brotherhood's television station, Misr 25, has been taken off the air along with several TV networks run by Islamists. There are fears of a violent backlash from Islamists against the army move, particularly from hard-liners, some of whom belong to former armed militant groups. Clashes between Islamists and police erupted in multiple places around the country after the army's announcement of Morsi's removal Wednesday night, leaving at least nine dead. His supporters are calling for a major rally in his support Friday.


The United States is handling the military overthrow of Morsi in delicate diplomatic terms, aware that the matter could affect billions of dollars in U.S. aid, national security and President Barack Obama's credibility on promoting the democratic process around the world. The safety of Americans in the region was a particular concern. Obama notably avoided using the word "coup" in his carefully-crafted statement Wednesday night. That allowed him wiggle room to navigate a U.S. law that says the government must suspend foreign aid to any nation whose elected leader is ousted in a coup d'etat. The U.S. considers the $1.5 billion a year it sends Egypt to be a critical U.S. national security priority.


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