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Posted by on Jul 5, 2013 in Breaking News, International, Law, Media, Military, Places, Politics, Society, War | 1 comment

(Updates: Military Open Fire on Morsi Supporters) U.S. Marines in Europe Ready to ‘Respond’ to Egypt Chaos

Marines

(Updates below)

The Stars and Stripes reports this morning that approximately 500 “crisis-response” Marines recently deployed to Italy and Spain are ready to respond to the brewing chaos in Egypt:

Pentagon spokesman George Little wouldn’t speak about Egypt or the U.S. Embassy in Cairo specifically, but said the military was postured for response in that region in particular.

“We have taken steps to ensure our military is ready to respond to a range of contingencies,” he said.

The Stripes adds:

In early May as Egypt grew more fractious, U.S. Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., arrived at Moron Air Base in Spain, as part of a Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response team. Some of the Marines have since moved temporarily to Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Sicily. The task force will respond to emergencies across North and West Africa.

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Citing unnamed sources, CNN reported last week that the Marines have been told to be ready to be airborne in 60 minutes after deployment orders, but Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, wouldn’t confirm, saying the military doesn’t comment on specific readiness postures.

The move comes after the military, along with the White House, endured heavy criticism for not responding quickly enough to the deadly attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, last year. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in the attack.

Read more here

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UPDATES:

Friday, July 5, 10:02 AM EDT

The Washington Post:

Egyptian troops opened fire Friday morning at a demonstration outside the building where deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is reportedly being held, witnesses said.

At least one person was reported dead.

Read more here

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4 July 2013, 1:36 PM EDT

The BBC:

Egypt’s military has moved against the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood a day after deposing President Mohammed Morsi.

Mr Morsi is being detained, as well as senior figures in the Islamist group of which he is a member. Hundreds more are being sought.

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…senior figures in the Brotherhood and its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), were quoted as saying they would not work with the new powers – but would not take up arms or encourage followers to do so either.

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A coalition of Islamist parties – the National Coalition in Support of Legitimacy – has called for mass mobilisations to denounce the army’s actions following prayers on Friday.

Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, earlier told the BBC that Mr Morsi had been put under house arrest and the “entire presidential team” was in detention.

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On Thursday afternoon unnamed officials said Mohammed Badie, supreme leader of the Brotherhood, had been arrested in Marsa Matrouh, a Mediterranean coastal city to the west of Cairo.

Arrest warrants have reportedly been issued for some 300 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Mr Badie’s deputy, Khairat al-Shater.

Several TV stations sympathetic to the Brotherhood have been taken off the air, and a state-owned printing press is said to be refusing to print a newspaper run by the FJP.

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Fighter jets trailing smoke drew love hearts in Cairo’s smoggy skies on Thursday in apparent celebration of the military’s role in ousting Mr Morsi’s government.

Read more here

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Jul 4, 5:45 AM EDT

The Stars and Stripes:

Egypt’s interim president has praised the mass protests demanding the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, saying they united Egyptians.

President Adly Mansour made the remarks at his swearing-in ceremony Thursday at the Supreme Constitutional Court. Mansour, who was the court’s chief justice, replaces Morsi, the Islamist leader who was overthrown by the military on Wednesday after just one year in office.

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.
Morsi is under house arrest at an undisclosed location.

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The Washington Post, July 3, 6:22 PM EDT:

President Obama, in a statement issued Wednesday night, said that only the people of Egypt can ultimately determine the future of the country, but said Washington is “deeply concerned” by the Egyptian military’s decision to remove President Mohamed Morsi and suspend the Egyptian constitution. He urged the military to “move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government.” Read the full statement by President Obama here.

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Reuters, 5:58pm EDT:

Egypt’s armed forces overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on Wednesday, sparking wild rejoicing in the streets at the prospect of new elections as a range of political leaders backed a new political transition.

Mursi was sequestered in a Republican Guard barracks after denouncing a “military coup” that stripped him of power after just a year. As tanks and troops secured the area, tens of thousands of supporters of his Muslim Brotherhood rallied nearby to protest against his removal.

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Claiming a mandate from the people, millions of whom have protested against political upheaval and economic stagnation under Brotherhood rule, armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Mursi had failed to meet demands for national unity.

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The United States, as well as neighboring Israel, and other powers are all watching anxiously to see whether Egypt, with its population of 84 million, powerful army and control of the Suez Canal, can stabilize itself.

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Sisi announced the immediate suspension of the Islamist-tinged new constitution and a roadmap for a return to democratic rule under a revised rulebook.
The constitutional court president will replace Mursi. A technocratic government will rule until new presidential and parliamentary elections are held – no time frame was set.

The constitution will be reviewed by a panel representative of all sections of society in the biggest Arab nation. Media freedoms, under threat during Mursi’s rule, would be protected.

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…a statement published in Mursi’s name on his official Facebook page after Sisi’s speech said the measures announced amounted to “a full military coup” and were “totally rejected”.

A shaky, hand-held video lasting 20 minutes appeared briefly online, showing Mursi speaking at a desk. He had pledged in an overnight broadcast to give up his life rather than relinquish his democratically elected responsibilities. In the new video, he said: “There is no other legitimacy, and it cannot be.
“I do not accept this at all,” he said, while also urging his supporters not to take up arms as some have sworn to do.

The president was at a Republican Guard barracks surrounded by barbed wire, barriers and troops, but it was not clear whether he was under arrest. The state newspaper Al-Ahram said the army told him at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) that his term was over.

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…within an hour of Sisi’s announcement it was off air.

Read more here

UPDATE:

Egypt’s military commander announced Wednesday the suspension of the constitution and the replacement of President Mohamed Morsi with the chief justice of the constitutional court, a move that effectively overthrew the nation’s first democratically elected leader. The commander, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, also announced the military’s intention to hold new elections, although he did not give a date.

The announcement set off wild celebrations among protesters who had demanded Morsi’s ouster. But it is likely to provoke an angry backlash among Morsi’s Islamist supporters.

Read more here

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The BBC reports:

The head of Egypt’s army has given a TV address, announcing that President Mohammed Morsi is no longer in office.

Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said the constitution had been suspended and the chief justice of the constitutional court would take on Mr Morsi’s powers.
Flanked by religious and opposition leaders, Gen Sisi said Mr Morsi had “failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people”.
Anti-Morsi protesters in Cairo gave a huge cheer in response to the speech.

The army’s move to depose the president follows four days of mass street demonstrations against Mr Morsi, and an ultimatum issued by the military which expired on Wednesday afternoon.

TV stations belonging to Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood went off air at the end of the speech.

Minutes later, a notice went up on Mr Morsi’s Facebook page denouncing the army move as a “military coup”.

Image: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe