Western diplomatic sources said the military overthrow of Egypt’s first Islamist president would not reduce the bloodshed in the country. They said the fallen Muslim Brotherhood movement could unleash millions of supporters to attack the pro-democracy and security forces.
“The Brotherhood is not going home quietly, that’s for sure,” a diplomat based in Cairo said.
Already, Brotherhood fighters have been battling anti-Morsi forces around Egypt. Since July 3, at least 20 people were killed in clashes in Alexandria, Cairo and other cities.
On July 4, Morsi was formally replaced by the head of the nation’s constitutional court, Adli Mansour. In his acceptance speech, Mansour thanked the military.
“Recent events in Egypt are historic and what Egyptian people did, should be a model to be followed by others,” former Egyptian Chief of Staff Gen. Sami Anan, who resigned as Morsi’s adviser days before the coup, said.
Brotherhood could receive foreign help to regain power in Egypt. They said statements by Al Qaida and Salafist groups in such countries as Libya and Tunisia.
For its part, Al Qaida has threatened to send thousands of fighters to battle Egypt’s military. Al Qaida commander in Egypt, Mohammed Zawahiri, the brother of the movement’s chief, issued a statement that warned of a campaign against any regime that replaced the Brotherhood.
The Salafist movement has raised the prospect that the coup could spark civil war in Egypt. The largest Salafist political group, Salafit Dawa, urged the Brotherhood to suspend street protests and form a coalition with other Islamist movements.
“We urge the sons of the Islamic movement to properly assess the situation and understand the political changes,” Salafii Dawa said on July 4.
On July 5, the Brotherhood, whose leaders have not threatened an armed campaign, was scheduled to launch a massive protest campaign in Cairo and other major Egyptian cities. The diplomats said the rallies would mark a show of force that could determine whether Egypt slides into the chaos seen in neighboring Libya and Tunisia.
“The Brotherhood in Egypt remains a massive organization, and has a range of options in destabilizing any post-Morsi regime,” the diplomat said.
“Over the next few days, we might see some of those options.”
U.S. Reviews Mil Aid To Egypt
The United States said it was reviewing military assistance to Egypt in wake of the coup against President Mohammed Morsi.
Officials said both the administration of President Barack Obama as well as Congress have agreed to review the more than $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt. More than $1.3 billion of this has been allocated to Egypt’s military.
“Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the government of Egypt,” Obama said.
In a statement on July 3, Obama cited the military coup against Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood regime. The president also called on the military to “avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsi and his supporters.”
Congress has also been reviewing U.S. military aid to Egypt in wake of the coup. Congress has passed legislation that imposed conditions on the military aid, which Obama waived twice in as many years. In May 2013, the administration, without announcement, approved the annual aid to Egypt.
“U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically-elected government is deposed by military coup or decree,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations, said. “As we work on the new budget, my committee also will review future aid to the Egyptian government as we wait for a clearer picture. As the world’s oldest democracy, this is a time to reaffirm our commitment to the principle that transfers of power should be by the ballot, not by force of arms.”
So far, the administration has not termed the ouster of Morsi a military coup. Officials said such a designation could lead to a suspension of current U.S. deliveries of F-16 multi-role fighters and M1A1 main battle tanks.
Officials said Egypt’s military, particularly Defense Minister Abdul Fatah Sisi, has pledged to quickly hold presidential elections. They said the military also assured Washington that U.S. interests in Egypt would be preserved, including protection of the U.S. embassy in Cairo.