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Huge Dueling Demonstrations Across Cairo; Mohammed Morsi's Presidency Appears To Be Over
Aired July 3, 2013 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
We're looking once again at live pictures of the huge dueling demonstrations across Cairo as the one-year presidency of Mohammed Morsy appears now to be over.
Here's what we know: at any moment, we're expecting an announcement of what's being called a road map for a political transition. We're hearing that plan will be announced by Mohamed ElBaradei. He's the former U.N. nuclear chief, the Egyptian politician who opposition leaders have united behind, as well as top Muslim and Christian religious leaders.
Al-Ahram, the state-run newspaper, says that Morsy has been told by the Egyptian military that he is no longer president. Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of people in Tahrir Square and they are waiting for an official statement on the future of Egypt.
Across the River Nile, they are thousands more, Morsy people, rallying in support of their beleaguered president. That rally is near Cairo University and is now surrounded by military vehicles. The fear, of course, is that, at some point, these gigantic crowds will clash.
Military vehicles have been spotted all over the city and military forces have now taken charge of Egyptian-state television. There are widespread reports that security forces have placed a travel ban on President Morsy and on top Muslim Brotherhood members.
And the army has erected barbed wire barriers around the Republican Guard's barracks, where President Morsy has been working all day. An adviser says it's unclear whether he's free to leave the compound, and the Muslim Brotherhood calls it, quite simply, "a coup," the overthrowing of a democratically elected president.
But millions of anti-Morsy demonstrators say this is the will of the people being implemented. Now we understand that this statement regarding the future of Egypt is soon to be announced, perhaps within moments, and we will bring it to you as soon as it happens.
But first, we're going to Jihad El Haddad, who is a senior member of Egypt's Muslim --
GEN. ABDEL FATTAH AL-SISI, EGYPTIAN ARMY CHIEF (through translator): -- involved in power (inaudible) and this will continue to be (inaudible) to protect and safeguard the people and to achieve (inaudible) revolution.
And this was a submission, the admission that the Armed Forces has gotten from all the Egyptian people, from all the cities and villages and the Armed Forces has also understood this call and understood its meaning and appreciated its own role and came closer to the political scene hoping and wanting and adhering to with the framework of its duties and responsibilities.
The Armed Forces has spent efforts throughout the last few months, many efforts directly and indirectly to contain the situation (inaudible) situation today and achieve a national reconciliation between all the political forces, including the presidency.
Since last November 2012, the Armed Forces started on calling on the national reconciliation effort, all the patriotic movements agreed to it, including the presidency in the last minutes. The events and the calls repeatedly continued on, including the initiatives since then until today.
The Armed Forces also has presented repeatedly with offers to estimate the strategic situation internally and abroad that included the most important challenges and dangers that is facing the country from a perspective of security and economically and politically.
The Armed Forces has its vision as patriotic institution. Its role is to contain the civic problems and face the challenges and the dangers to exit the current crisis within the framework of (inaudible) and this crisis today.
The Armed Forces has met with the president of the republic and the acuba (ph) palace June 22nd, 2013, which offered him the opinion of the general command and (inaudible) and to prevent the insult of the state institutions and (inaudible) its mission that to end the insults against the Egyptian people.
There was a hope that reconciliation will continue on in forming a road map for the future that will provide stability for the people which will achieve its goals and its hopes.
However, the speech of the president last night and before the 48 hours deadline did not achieve the goals of the people, which resulted that the Armed Forces, based on its own national patriotic duty to consult with several leaders, civic and religious and youth, without excluding anyone. The people who were in meeting agreed on the following steps.
They will build an Egyptian society, strong and stable, that will not exclude any one of its sons, including its all political currents and end the conflict and the road map will follow -- will as follow: suspend the constitution on a tentative; the chief of the constitutional court will swear before the court to uphold and elections, a presidential election while the chief of the constitutional court will assume the presidency.
The chief of the constitutional court has the right to declare constitutional declarations throughout the transitional period, establish a government that is a strong and diverse, what has all the powers to manage the transition period.
Four, a committee that includes all the people to revise all the constitutional amendments that will be -- that was suspended temporarily.
Call on the Supreme Constitutional Court to establish an elections law for the parliament and start to continue for the parliamentary elections.
Establish a code of ethics for the media that will prevent all other transgressions against the media and will establish a values and ethics for the media to follow.
Establish methods to empower the youth to be participant in the decisions within all the framework of the executive power, establish a higher committee for the reconciliation committee from leaders who are credible and has the ability to reach the national forces.
The Armed Forces call on the Egyptian people, the great Egyptian people with all its diverse groups to continue to have a peaceful protest and end the crisis and shed the blood and warns that it will respond with cooperation of the interior ministry with a strong and determination against anyone who deviates from peaceful protest in accordance with the law.
This is based on its own responsibility, a historical responsibility, that the Armed Forces salute the men of the Armed Forces, the police force and the judiciary, the honorable ones, for their own patriotic duty and their sacrifices to safeguard in a safe and the security of its great Egyptian people. May God preserve Egypt and its people.
AMANPOUR: So what we've just heard there from General al-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, is, as we've been saying for the last couple of days throughout this 48-hour ultimatum, he now has laid out the political road map for the future, importantly President Morsy is no longer president.
The person who will assume the task of president, interim president, will be the chief of the constitutional court. He will hold and try to organize presidential elections. Until then, it will be his role to declare any constitutional measures, anything that regards ruling Egypt for what he called a transitional period.
The constitution has been suspended. There will be a committee put in place to rewrite the constitution and also a committee in place to prepare not just the presidential elections but for parliamentary elections as well.
The general said that there will be a code of ethics in place for the media, he said, to prevent transgressions against the media but also called for values and ethics for the media. We'll see what that means.
And he also said there will be a committee for the empowerment of the youth and also to establish a national -- credible national reconciliation committee. He again called on all people who've been in the streets for the last several days to continue what he called peaceful protests but to end this crisis, which has been enveloping the country over the last several days.
He said that the military and the police would respond very firmly to any violence or any attempt to destabilize and disturb the security of Egypt.
We heard at the end of his speech the massive cheer that went up in Tahrir Square. You can see now celebrations amongst people who have been supporting this move and you can imagine what the reaction would be at the pro-Morsy demonstrations, which are closer to the University of Cairo.
So let's turn now for reaction to Jihad el-Haddad. He is a senior member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. He joins me on the phone from Cairo.
Jihad, what is your reaction to this? President Morsy is out; the constitutional chief is in and there will be new presidential and new parliamentary elections as well as a new constitution.
JIHAD HADDAD, MORSY POLITICAL ADVISER: Well, I think that any doubt left in people's minds that this is a full-fledged military coup should have been gone by now.
We have now seen a resurface of military uniform and military junta on the screens of our national (inaudible) what they think is right, taking sides in the political spectrum, then forcing personalities on the people of Egypt that have not been elected or even presented their ideas of political progress to the Egyptian people.
This is the end of democracy in Egypt (inaudible) first trial of that democracy.
AMANPOUR: Let me play devil's advocate. Obviously it is somewhat disconcerting to see a military general making that statement, particularly since state media said that it would be made by a group of civilians, including ElBaradei and religious leaders.
But let me ask you this: clearly, clearly millions and millions of Egyptian people have taken to the streets, and they have said that they're, yes, democratically elected president has simply failed at the task, has simply not met the requirements of good governance and has failed, failed the people of Egypt.
Has he -- I mean, would you not agree that the president is now the recipient of a popular vote of unconfidence (sic), of no confidence?
EL-BARADEI: Well, I would agree they were represented as to actually say at the end of the day, this is a (inaudible) elected in office. And the same military junta is now (inaudible) have destroyed the (inaudible), the only (inaudible) institution through (inaudible) actually (inaudible) the reforms that were promised (inaudible) program.
(Inaudible) even more than that, it's the centerpiece of any democratic system. (Inaudible) from the Islamic (inaudible) at the end of the day. And in all circumstances are expecting to carry a secular ideology, it has to be carried by these, that represent these constituencies.
Unfortunately, leaders of the constitutional (inaudible) the secularism, the leftists and the (inaudible) and so on, they have to show up at all of this about the discussion tables of the president. They called the president and (inaudible) actually reach out to them.
Even when he reached out to members of their own party, (inaudible) take responsibility in his government, they pulled them all back. So it was a very orchestrated attempt to make sure that they pulled the legitimacy out of the president, the legitimacy of delivery.
EL-BARADEI: (Inaudible) democratically elected president.
AMANPOUR: All right. Listen ,I need to ask you, Jihad, because the general referred directly to President Morsy's speech last night. He said he did not achieve in that speech what the goals of the people were. And he also said the general that actually it was more than a week ago that he met with President Morsy and asked him to promote this kind of national dialogue, and he didn't get that.
Did the president simply miscalculate? He simply didn't listen to the will of the people.
EL-BARADEI: Well, let me then reveal on your show right now exactly what happened the past couple of months. Throughout the past couple of (inaudible) the presidency has been under huge pressure not just from internally or the military or even neighboring countries and including countries (inaudible), but also from Western countries, including country from Europe and including U.S.
And they (inaudible) extreme pressure to actually include (inaudible) named individuals in his decision-making cycle and to force them on his decision- making mechanism. Now these are not individuals elected to office.
And the fact is that we have seen our military (inaudible), military that is financed by taxpayers' money, taking aside (inaudible) political strife and using their muscle of arms and tanks and personnel to side with a certain political faction.
And in full (inaudible) the head of the state position. At the end of the day, this is a president that (inaudible) mistakes, but also had many attempts. He had a program to deliver. The government failed on many aspects of that delivery. We don't change (inaudible), the government every time the president does not deliver midterm. Otherwise, we're going to see so many failures when Bush's term ran down to 11 percent in his favoritism, you didn't bring the country down. The Congress (inaudible) impeachment.
And that's exactly what the president offered to the opposition. Go into parliament. He has these masses on the street, demonstrating huge sweep of parliament. A parliament can change the constitution. It can remove the president, impeach him; it can do anything it wants. Why are you afraid of it?
Let me tell you why, because it's easy for (inaudible) people to say no to an individual. It's very difficult when you give them the responsibility of choice. That's how we brought down Mubarak. We all knew what we did not want when we started thinking about what we did want, we split. There's not enough trust on the scene any more. It's all about intentions on both sides.
AMANPOUR: Jihad Haddad, thank you for your perspective. That is the perspective of a pro-Morsy official and the spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Now we rarely hear from anyone inside Egypt's military leadership. But General Sameh Seif Elyazal is a retired general with a deep understanding of the inner workings of the top ranks.
General, thank you for joining me from Cairo.
What did you make of -- there you have a uniformed general making this declaration. That doesn't look much like anything other than a coup.
SAMEH SEIF ELYAZAL, FORMER EGYPTIAN GENERAL: No, definitely, it's not a coup and let me tell you first that I'm carrying a message from many Egyptians who knows that I'm coming today and talk to you, that you put in the subtitle on the CNN that it's a military coup for ours. Let me tell you it's not a military coup.
Military coup meaning that the military would rule the country and General al-Sisi mentioned many times that he has no intention whatsoever to rule the country. That's number one.
Number two, we -- this is not actually the -- what the army came because of the will of the Egyptians meaning that the opposition groups and rebels, young people group as well as 30 million Egyptians, came out in the street, which is the largest and I would -- I repeat that -- the largest ever in the modern history, a kind of demonstration at any country.
AMANPOUR: General, let me --
ELYAZAL: And Egyptians are making a new revolution.
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, that's exactly how -- yes. That is exactly how you see it and how millions of people in the streets see it.
But what do you make of, for instance, the Morsy faction who will say that the military has taken sides, the military has sided with the anti- presidency, with the -- with those who are against the Muslim Brotherhood? And do you fear that this could lead to further divisions, given that there is a large number of people in Egypt who actually support the president?
ELYAZAL: I don't think so. Number one, the majority of the Egyptians, they need to change the administration, the regime, the existing regime because they see it as a new fascism (ph) in Egypt. This is what we call new Islamic fascism (ph) in Egypt. So the point is the people get really - - they're really upset from what happens to their country.
The services are very poor, as you know, not only like that but economy is poor; the economy is unstable. Security is unstable and Morsy succeeded to split the Egyptians to two groups. And not only two groups, because he mentioned in his speech that it's normal that any democratic country to split the peoples to two groups with the president or against the president. The point is not like that.
The two groups in Egypt now, you look at each other as if they are enemies. So they are fighting each other. The point is the people who came in the streets and say no to Morsy, they didn't carry any weapons, swords or knives as just what the other group do.
In fact, yesterday, after the speech, I have seen by myself -- I was in a media city (ph), coming from the media city (ph) to Cairo, I have seen many of them with long beards, carrying weapons, trying to stop people and stealing their money and --
AMANPOUR: General, General, as you know very well --
ELYAZAL: -- that's why --
AMANPOUR: -- General, as you know very well, there were about 23 people killed. We understand something like 16 of those were pro-Morsy demonstrators. So let's just have that clear.
But let me ask you this. You know, we've seen this picture before, general. We've had you on our air before. We had 17 months of military rule. And then we had the people in huge numbers come out in Cairo, around Egypt, to ask for the military to go back to their barracks. And that is something that President Morsy did.
So how can we be assured? I know you're going to tell me again that the military is not ruling the country. But they have installed who they want to install.
So how do you think that this period of military rule, no matter how you want to call it, is going to go? What can they really do? How long will it be before there are more elections?
ELYAZAL: Right. I believe it's going to be between 9-12 months. I think there will be another announcement tomorrow for this period. I believe as well that (inaudible). I can assure you and assure the audience that the army will not be involved at all in the new political life of the Egyptians as well as they have no intention to rule the country again as I mentioned before.
The difference between SCAF and this period is a big difference. SCAF will ruling the country. We are administering the country and they have control. This time, they have no intention to do that and you will not see them controlling the country or ruling the country.
The point is do you want to put order in the street to make life easy for the Egyptians and to make life easy for the head of the constitutional court to rule Egypt in this period?
The point is the Egyptians, they want that people who are against the SCAF during the 18 months, the first 18 months of the revolution, right now, they say, sorry, please come back again to the street; put order in the street because the country is out of control. So the point is again, this is the will of Egyptians.
AMANPOUR: General, stand by a second. I'll be right back to you.
But first, I want to go down to Ben Wedeman, who's joining me live from a pro-Morsy rally in Nafusa (ph) City, which is a suburb of Cairo.
Ben, what is the reaction there?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's interesting, Christiane, was that the loudspeaker system did broadcast Sisi's speech over the broadcast system here and very quickly into it, people started to boo and jeer that speech.
And then we heard chants coming up from the crowd of, "Down with military rule," something the Muslim Brotherhood never chanted during the 17 months when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces was in power. So now we have a very angry crowd here in Labaladawi (ph), which is the main anti- -- rather, pro-Morsy demonstration here in Cairo.
And we understand that there are military vehicles stationed at the main entrances to this area around us. But as far as we know, there are no reports yet of any problems between the soldiers and the crowd here.
AMANPOUR: Ben, thank you. I'm going to go now to Ivan Watson, who's at the anti-Morsy rallies near Tahrir Square.
Ivan, can you hear me?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes?
AMANPOUR: What is the reaction --
WATSON: I can hear you.
AMANPOUR: -- there? What is the reaction -- you're on the air. What is the reaction of the people after General al-Sisi's address?
WATSON: You know, the moment that the announcement was made that the constitution was being suspended, a roar erupted here in Tahrir Square behind me. And the fireworks have been going on nonstop since then, and not just in Tahrir Square.
But I was stunned from this 22nd floor to see fireworks also going off in other neighborhoods across Cairo on both sides of the Nile River. It just -- an explosion of celebration.
That is probably not being shared just about 2-3 kilometers from where I'm sitting right now in front of the University of Cairo, where there is a camp of at the very least thousands of supporters of Mohammed Morsy who have gathered behind barricades. That is the scene of deadly clashes last night between pro- and anti-Morsy activists at least 18 people killed there.
And about an hour ago, I was at the barricades there.
And those people saying they will not stand for what they're describing as a military coup, that they will stay and die for Mohammed Morsy and even more striking was that moments beforehand, soldiers had deployed, hundreds of Egyptian soldiers, hundreds of special forces police, setting up a cordon around that area a couple of hundred meters away from the Morsy supporters and that they had lined up there in the event that police chief warned me of violence upon hearing this announcement made by Egypt's top military commander.
So while we're seeing these scenes of jubilation here, playing out on this side of the Nile River, on the other side, I imagine, a very different scene.
And what was even more striking, Christiane, seeing soldiers and police down on the ground, praying on their knees before this announcement was made, perhaps in a sign of solidarity with their Muslim comrades and fellow countrymen and perhaps in anticipation of what they hear could be violence in the hours ahead, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Ivan, before I let you go, clearly there's been a lot of conflicting reporting with a lot of inaccurate reporting from the Al-Ahram newspaper, which basically said that this announcement would be made by a group of civilians. It wasn't. It was made by the top military general.
How do you think that goes down amongst these people who told me very clearly yesterday that they are not calling for a coup; they don't want the military to step in. They just want Morsy out.
WATSON: You know, Christiane, it seems all the more stunning when you consider that a little bit more than a year ago, the crowds here were hurling insults at the military and now they seem overjoyed that the military is leading this action to suspend the constitution.
I talked to one young man, a university student, very close on the bridge that the Egyptian soldiers had blocked over the Nile River. And he said to me, of course this is a military coup; but I want it. I'm afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood and I want the soldiers to protect me from them because I think they want blood. That is the opinion of one supporter of this action.
And I'd say many of them, young men and women that I passed, were cheering the arrival of the Egyptian soldiers. It's striking to see what a transition and transformation we've seen of public opinion over the course of the last year.
AMANPOUR: Ivan, thank you. And we're going to go right now to Egyptian television, where Mohamed ElBaradei is making a statement, in the same place that General al-Sisi just did. Let's listen.
MOHAMED ELBARADEI, EGYPTIAN OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): -- justice for every Egyptian man and woman, and forward with God's permission.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): All right. So we've just caught the end of that.
AMANPOUR: I just want to go back to General Sameh Seif Elyazal, who's standing by also with us.
General, let me ask you again about what we might expect from the military.
You know, their position was very, very well guaranteed under the constitution. And I remember President Morsy telling me over and over again that in no way did he want to mess with the authority or the standing of the Egyptian military. And as I say, their position was guaranteed under the constitution and their privileges.
Do they feel that this president has somehow betrayed them?
All right. I'm really sorry about that. We're going to get back to the general in a second.
But Mona El-Ghobashy, so great to have you here. You are a political scientist and a professor right now at Barnard College here in New York -- Egyptian. And we've had you on many times to talk about these things.
Give me your gut reaction to what has just unfolded.
PROF. MONA EL-GHOBASHY, BARNARD COLLEGE: What just happened right now is a very grave development. Nobody expected the best possible outcome of this very serious impasse that has been going on since Sunday.
But it's really troubling and not at all a moment of pure joy, at least for me personally. There may be a semantic debate about whether we call this a coup or a post-modern coup or an uprising that was stopped short and a coup was piggybacked on an original popular uprising.
But there's no way to get away from the fact that even though there are civilian figureheads who are flanked the general, field marshal, General al-Sisi, the military has transferred power from the elected president, however incomplete and failed his governance style may be, and is in the process of removing that executive power and placing it in figureheads.
But it's -- ultimately it's the guarantor and it's the umpire. And it's carving out a role for itself in Egyptian politics as the general pointed out. We're not going to see them fronting political power.
AMANPOUR: You're a specialist also on the Muslim Brotherhood. What did they do wrong? Clearly they overextended themselves; clearly this has been a failed presidency. Some even say it was threatening to turn Egypt into a failed state. You can't argue with the number of people on the streets. His presidency was squandered.
EL-GHOBASHY: It was squandered. I have to say it's very important first to point out that it's very easy now to enumerate all of the failures, of which there are many. And I am one of many, many people who have pointed out these failures almost from the get-go of Morsy's presidency.
Perhaps the most cited and most credible failure of Morsy's presidency and the governance style of the Muslim Brothers that backed him is their inability to transcend their ingroup trust network to others, to Egyptians.
Morsy, in his first two months, actually adopted a very, pretty much inclusionary discourse. But that was very quickly eroded, particularly after the November 21st degrees. And ever since then, he's bunkered down much more in his support network rather than reaching out and at the very least dividing his opposition.
AMANPOUR: What do you fear, though, now? You're saying that this is a very mixed moment; you feel very mixed about this. Obviously there are massive crowds who also support Mohammed Morsy.
What do you think is going to be the result in the next several days or weeks?
EL-GHOBASHY: The reason I feel not very happy -- this is not a moment of February 11th, 2011 --
AMANPOUR: Which brought down Mubarak.
EL-GHOBASHY: -- which brought down Mubarak, because that was a pure popular uprising that, of course, was quickly taken over by the SCAF.
But there is a large constituency of the Egyptian public who went out and voted for Morsy, whether out of conviction in the months of May and June 2012, or even more seriously, those who made a very serious decision and held their noses and voted for Morsy because they didn't want Mubarak's prime minister. And the remnants of the old regime to win.
These people are going to feel betrayed. There's no doubt about it. And I can only imagine that their sense of anger, betrayal and dispossession from making a decision in their future, is this going to increase in the coming days?
AMANPOUR: I want to bring back General Sameh into this conversation.
General, are you now worried about the other side of the coin, the people who didn't call for the military to change this situation and who actually did support Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood? How do you think that is going to be resolved?
ELYAZAL: Well, first of all, we respect them very much. I'm considering myself with the other side, of course. But we don't like to split Egypt any more. What we are talking about now is the unity of Egyptians and the unity of Egypt.
So there is no exile for anybody. They have to play the role, political role during the political parties that are presenting them as you see, ultimately, as you saw today and during the speech. You found some political, I would say, political Islamic, political members of some parties like Salafis, for instance. They were there.
And I mean Sheikh Galel Imora (ph) was representing the Salafis over there. And he's going to give a speech now, by the way. And as well as we would like them to play the role and the part as an Egyptian in the coming period, in the new Egypt. So the point is there is no time for anybody. We are talking about a new unity in the Egyptians has to be in one group, one hand, not --
ELYAZAL: -- as it is now.
AMANPOUR: General, you mentioned the Salafis. I mean, I think everybody and their brother knows that the Salafis are even more hardline, even more conservative, even more Islamist than the Muslim Brotherhood. Do you not worry that there will be a backlash somewhere down the line that even if there are new presidential elections, it could be somebody like the head of the Noor (ph) Party or the Salafists?
ELYAZAL: You would be surprised, Christiane, that the Salafis are 28 different groups. I'm talking about completely different groups, meaning that some of them, yes, they believe in other, I would say, identity or goals.
But the point is they have different views. So we're talking about the normal, moderate Salafis, which are represented today. And there is no problem whatsoever for other Salafis as well to be represented as long as they don't use aggression against people or they don't use any -- they don't force people, for instance, to wear a veil or to -- not to wear swimming suits or whatever.
So people, we have to have a free Egypt. So everybody can do whatever he wants under one thing that he will not break the law. So, yes, most welcome; we are welcoming all of them. Most welcome to come and join us and believe me, there is no intention whatsoever to tell them you are out of the picture.
AMANPOUR: All right. Now who's us? Who's going to lead this movement, your opposition movement is notorious, infamously unled and disunited. Obviously, they're united in the streets right now. But when it comes to a party, who's going to lead that?
ELYAZAL: The people sitting in front of you today with Marshal Morsy (ph).
You saw the woman has been represented by Dr. Sikina Eskina Sikina (ph) -- I will remember the name now -- as well as the head of the church, the head of azher (ph), all the Egyptians and other, of course, political groups, even the young people, the rebel group, which has been actually very effective and we've seen them in the street gathering signature against Morsy, just using a piece paper and a pen and the really different (inaudible) the chair of Morsy.
The point is now there is no position. Now we have to have one Egyptian identity and all the Egyptians has to be in one hand.
AMANPOUR: All right. Finally, you said no exile. What is going to happen to President Morsy? What will happen to Mohammed Morsy? Where is he now? And is he free?
ELYAZAL: He is in a very safe place. There is no intention whatsoever to put him in jail. There is no intention whatsoever to put anybody else in jail at all. And he is free. I -- yes, he would be free to leave Egypt soon or to live in Egypt.
It depends upon him as well as if he would like to be a new candidate for the coming presidential (ph) election, I don't think there is any law to exile him from that. So he is most welcome to play his role again.
So there is nothing like doing anything against him personally because he was at -- with the Muslim Brotherhood or it is that kind of mistakes against Egyptians for the last year, actually he directed Egypt, (inaudible) state, not only like that, but the mistake after mistake which led Egypt through a crisis, a serious crisis, which we are having now.
AMANPOUR: General Sameh Elyazal, thank you so much indeed for joining me.
And let me turn again to you, Mona El-Ghobashy. What about politics in Egypt? Is it going to be the street the whole time obviously? This is an emerging democracy with all its fragility and failings as well as opportunities.
But one of the things has been and you heard what General Sameh said, you know, he's talking about a group of the opposition. What will it look like? How will political parties develop out of this? Will they?
EL-GHOBASHY: The Egyptian parties will continue to be very much dominated by the kind of street action that you've seen, the kind of mass street action that this is the third time after January 25th, 2011, and then January 25th, 2012, against the former military general.
So there's no doubt that street politics is going to continue to sort of be the compass of Egyptian politics. However, we're also going to be talking about another level of politics, elite politics that has piggybacked, particularly on this movement, has representatives. I don't really know many of them. Many of them maybe token representatives, many of them are real, genuine with popularity. The problem, however, is that there's no way to measure what their popularity is, given the fact that many of them have never subjected themselves to a popular election.
So it's hard to know their representatives. And that's the argument made by the pro-Morsy supporters. And they have a point.
AMANPOUR: Stand by, Mona. We'll be back and we'll be back with more of our continuing breaking news coverage after a break.
AMANPOUR: And welcome back to our breaking news coverage of what's been going on in Egypt. President Mohammed Morsy, who was elected democratically last year, has lost the confidence of the people, the military and the opposition. He is no longer president of Egypt.
The head of the defense forces, General al-Sisi, came out within the hour and delivered a speech to the nation, in which he said that now the interim head of Egypt is the head of Egypt's constitutional court.
What is going to happen is that the constitution will be dissolved. The head of the constitutional court will rule in an interim, we're told, basis, but that could last, according to our analysts, some 9-12 months.
In that time, this constitutional head will be able to make any kinds of declarations in keeping with ruling the country also preparing for new presidential elections, new parliamentary elections and a new constitution, rewriting the constitution.
We've also been told by General al-Sisi that there will be a new empowerment of Egyptian youth groups, that there will be a national reconciliation committee set up and there will be new rules put in to govern the press. We'll wait and see what that means since the story of Egypt and the press is not a happy one.
We're joined now by Mona El-Ghobashy, who is a professor here at Barnard College. She's also a political scientist and has been watching the situation unfold for a long, long time in Egypt. We've been talking to you for the last couple of years over this.
Look, this is the third time we've had this mass of people in the streets. The first one we all remember brought down Hosni Mubarak. The second one was when they asked Morsy to put the military back into its barracks. And now to get Morsy out, and they've achieved that. Morsy is out.
Morsy's -- or rather, the opposition, will not hear of this being called a coup; whereas Morsy's people call it a coup.
What is it?
EL-GHOBASHY: There's a real debate about what this is because it doesn't look like a traditional military coup, meaning tanks around the presidential palace, although of course we know that Morsy is under some sort of military protection at the site where he is.
However, military coups have developed over the past 20 years. They don't look as they did in traditional old school military coups.
What me mean now by a military coup is any time the generals actually engage in deposing an elected president or the elected executive, whatever we may call him, and fashion some sort of a new ruling formula, whether they front themselves at the head of that ruling formula or not, the fact of the matter is they are the umpires.
They're the kingmakers, even if they're not right there giving the communiques.
AMANPOUR: As you can imagine, and you heard General Sameh Elyazal, a former general in the Egyptian Armed Forces and many people have been calling me, complaining about CNN's use of the word "coup" and saying, how could you call it a coup? This is the will of the people. And, to be frank, how can you argue with tens of millions of people who are in the streets?
It may or may not be a coup; but isn't it the people who said, enough already?
EL-GHOBASHY: Yes, and this is why it is quite difficult. You can't call it a straight-up coup. The military didn't wake up one morning and decide to depose the president who they don't like or feel that has failed.
The reason the Egyptian situation is so complicated is you really do have hundreds of thousands or millions, depending on the different estimates, people who are fed up with Morsy for many different reasons. And as we just saw, are actually welcoming the military with open arms, because they feel that the military will get things done.
AMANPOUR: Do you think they'll be tricked again? They were furious after 17 months of military rule between Mubarak and Morsy.
EL-GHOBASHY: I think that General al-Sisi and his civilian boosters and cheerleaders are very keen of this threat, and that's why the choreography of this new ruling formula in Egypt will be very keen to make it seem as if the military is simply an umpire or a broker and not the one that's actually calling the shots.
AMANPOUR: Stay there for a second, because I want to ask you about the head of the constitutional court.
But first I want to go to Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, who is a member of the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and he joins me now from Luxor.
Thanks again for joining me. We talked to you a couple of a days ago before this ultimatum had passed.
What is your reaction now to the statement that President Morsy is no longer the Egyptian president?
ABDUL MAWGOUD DARDERY, MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD: Thank you for having me. This is a tragic day for democracy, for human rights. It is a coup d' etat. We cannot call it anything but. It is a military that is making how the new president of the people, that is not representative of the Egyptian will. Now there is no legitimacy for anyone.
Now the hopes for human rights, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of organization are almost -- are almost done in the era. And there is a lot of frustration. The Egyptian state had a price to reach that level of democracy, that level of freedom and justice for all. Now we're back to corruption, monopoly, dictatorship. It's an endless cycle.
Let us look at the Algerian experience, 20 years after they made their coup, Algerians are still suffering all sorts of corruption. It is not the right thing; it was a big mistake. It's going to hurt to be -- the will of the Egyptian people deeply, we don't know what will happen. We don't know how millions of Egyptians will respond.
It is a matter of time, wait and see. It is just sad, Christiane. It is just -- it is -- it is beyond imagination. It is not right. That should condemn it by all democracy lovers, by all freedom lovers, by all human rights supporters. That should not be affected in the 21st century. The Egyptian people have the right to rule themselves in the way they like. I don't (inaudible) coup d'etat.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Dardery, you of course were a member of parliament. You say that there will be no more democracy, no more freedom. But clearly General al-Sisi has laid the ground for fresh elections, both presidential and parliamentary and to rewrite the constitution so that, in his view, it represents more of the Egyptian people.
If you were advising -- let me just ask you -- if you were -- let me -- you can -- you can answer in a second.
DARDERY: (Inaudible) the Egyptian people trust any election from now on?
Imagine we make another election and then we win the election and then another coup d'etat? It is desperate. It brings a lot of despair to the future. What do you say to the young people who work as hard for the election?
AMANPOUR: Well, I'll tell you --
DARDERY: -- (inaudible) to work for election again.
AMANPOUR: I mean, I hear what you're saying and I understand what you're saying. But how can you argue with these millions of people on the streets, many of whom say we've voted for President Morsy and he simply didn't deliver; not just didn't deliver, but looked like he was just president for one particular group of people and certainly didn't help us with our economy, didn't help us with our security.
You know, what do you -- if you were advising President Morsy, what would you have told him to have done with General al-Sisi put down his first -- not ultimatum, but demand, I guess, you know, in June 22nd, before the anniversary, when he said, look, you've got a week, guys, to get it together or else we're going to step in and tell you how it's going to be done?
There was no movement by President Morsy. And even his speech last night was really defiant. He misstepped, right?
DARDERY: No, not at all. It had to be the time. It had to be promising. It had to stand with the (inaudible). You know, Christiane, it is like the Republicans and Democrats in America. You run for election. President Barack Obama wins. And he makes mistakes. That does not give the right to the Republicans to go in the streets and ask him to (inaudible).
You wait until the next election. And that's what President Morsy asked (inaudible), is let us do the parliamentary election. And what does the parliamentary election? It would have stayed Egypt from coming (inaudible).
It would have given a chance to all political forces to run for the parliamentary election and then be able to form a government and then the government would have more power than the president. (Inaudible) the military (inaudible) I cannot think of a better future for Egypt. It is just the best (inaudible). It is going to be (inaudible).
Now people (inaudible). Democracy is not (inaudible) coup d'etat. How can I, as a member of the (inaudible), member of the parliament, convince my people to trust democracy again? Because they know once they win, they're going to make another coup d',tat and it can be justified by any way the (inaudible).
It is tragic, Christiane. I call upon all democracy supporters, (inaudible) supporters, not to express this, not to endure this. This is not legitimate at all. This has to be resisted by all means. And I am so worried (ph) about freedom and justice, for human rights in Egypt in the coming days, (inaudible) years (inaudible).
AMANPOUR: Mr. Dardery, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
And of course, we are going to wait to see what is the official reaction from the United States, from Europe and other world democracies.
Meantime, President Morsy, now ex-President Morsy's office, has responded on Twitter, quote, "President Morsy urges everyone to adhere to peacefulness and avoid shedding blood of fellow countrymen.
"President Morsy urges civilians and military members to uphold the law and the constitution, not to accept that coup which turns backwards."
President Morsy apparently says, "Armed Forces announcement is rejected by all free men who struggle for a civil democratic Egypt."
So these are defiant tweets coming out of the office of the now former President Morsy. We don't know exactly what's going to happen to him.
I was just speaking to a retired general who said that, as far as he knows and as far as his colleagues in the military are concerned, President Morsy is not just a free man, he can stay in Egypt or leave if he wants. He can even present himself for fresh elections, as strange as that might sound right now.
And again, that is not the official word; that is from a retired general. We don't know what is going to happen to Mohammed Morsy.
But turning again to Mona El-Ghobashy.
You heard the real pain in the voice of Mr. Dardery, who has been a politician, runs his seat from Luxor, or at least did formerly. I mean, we're talking about what this moment means. And, again, clearly Morsy, for the people anyway, for the majority of them, lost his legitimacy, his popular mandate.
But what does this mean in your view, you're a political scientist, for the future of democracy in your country?
EL-GHOBASHY: I sympathize with his very pained and the pained discourse of the entire Muslim Brothers. But they advance an impeccable democratic discourse of institutions, competition, elections. One of their signal mistakes that they made is that they didn't understand that Egypt is not yet a consolidated democracy.
Egypt is very much still in a revolutionary upheaval, even after his election on June 30th, 2012. They wanted to return to normal politics or to start normal politics and nobody can argue with that.
Everybody wants to start normal politics. However, the sheer magnitude of the corruption that the Mubarak regime have left means that there's no way that we can simply resume politics normally as you would in a consolidated democracy with Republicans and Democrats taking sides, switching sides in free and fair elections.
You have to consider that Egypt is still very much in a revolutionary situation. Many people don't want to accept that because it makes governance much harder and because it means that actually have to listen to the people in between elections.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you what might be the immediate next couple of days and weeks. We now know the name of the man who the military says will lead Egypt after Morsy, at least in this interim period, the head of the constitutional court. His name is Ali Mansour, the head of Supreme Constitutional Court.
What do we know about him? What side is he on? What is his background? What can we expect from him?
EL-GHOBASHY: The entire sitting judges of the Supreme Constitutional Court were in a very controversial position from the middle of last year, when they issued a ruling that dissolved the first elected parliament in Egypt's history.
And ever since then, they have been pulled into a highly politicized struggle between the Muslim Brothers on the one hand and all of their secular liberal opponents on the other. And the SCC, or the Supreme Constitutional Court, has seemed to throw its lot in multiple times against the Muslim Brothers.
So they have for better or worse -- this is a regrettable thing, but it's a reality of a post-authoritarian regime, where a key part of the old regime, this Supreme Constitutional Court, not the entire judiciary, but the Supreme Constitutional Court, is seen as having their hearts and loyalty with the other side.
AMANPOUR: So you're saying this is a throwback to before Morsy even.
EL-GHOBASHY: Yes. And there was an extraordinary conflict between the Supreme Constitutional Court, the SCAF and the Muslim Brothers in the lead- up to the original elections last year.
So we're going to get a reprise of this conflict, especially if Mr. Morsy's Islamists supporters reject this outcome, continue to be in the streets as many of the leaders of the Muslim Brothers indicated that their constituents will do, and will face another impasse. I don't quite see a way out of that impasse in the next few days.
AMANPOUR: Mona El-Ghobashy, thank you very much.
And I'm just going to go finally to Ben Wedeman, who is in the streets over there. And he's at the pro-Morsy rally.
I don't know, Ben, whether you just heard what Mona told me, that obviously you know, they believe that the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court is a throwback to the pre-Morsy days and that the Muslim Brotherhood, as Jihad Haddad and others have told us, are not going to accept this lying down. They're likely to stay in the streets.
Do you see that happening? And what do you think the reaction's going to be?
WEDEMAN: Well, I think they don't have a lot of options to go the violent way could bring endless trouble to them and the army would be very intolerant if they took their grievances out violently. I think their only real option is street action, is protests, is sit-ins like the one that's going on behind me.
And we did see these tweets from now former President Mohammed Morsy, calling upon his supporters to react peacefully to this latest development and therefore they can -- there's not really much they can do except for street protests when it comes to expressing their unhappiness. And they can perhaps hope to fare better in the upcoming elections when they happen.
But certainly, their popularity which was at its height probably in November and December of 2011, when the first parliamentary elections took place, that popularity at this point, I suspect, is fairly low.
We've always heard experts say that there's a hard core of about 30 percent of the Egyptian electorate that will always support the Muslim Brotherhood. At this point, I don't think there's much more, optimistically, than 30 percent, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So Ben, how do you see, very briefly, as we close out the program, how do you see the next several days going? And do you see this interim head now, the head of the constitutional court, as a throwback to the pre-revolution days?
OK. We have lost our connection with Ben Wedeman. That is the joys, the trials and tribulations of live coverage. But what we are seeing still are those huge demonstrations or sit-in there in Tahrir Square, for the people over there, what's happened tonight in Egypt is a victory.
They have brought out millions and millions of people into the streets. They've signed petitions with tens of millions of signatures, saying that the president they elected has lost and squandered his mandate.
On the other hand, the president's supporters say that this is the overthrow of the first democratically elected president in Egypt's history. We will wait to see how the future plays out. I'm Christiane Amanpour. Thanks for watching and goodbye for the moment from New York.