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Egyptian Army Removes President Morsi From Office

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    The Egyptian army has removed President Mohamed Morsy and has taken over the governorship of the country for the second time in as many years. While many millions are jubilant with the move, there is no doubt that Muslim Brotherhood supporters are not content and claim that the military overthrew a democratically elected President.

    There is a very real possibility of a violent confrontation between the pro and anti Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the country, especially after Mr. Morsi explicitly stated that he would not go down without a fight. The Army took that threat seriously enough and has encircled pro Morsi supporters to prevent them from engaging the protesters in Tahrir Square. It will be quite interesting to see if Egypt slides towards a civil war after this or if the Army will be able to keep the peace until they transfer power again.

    Thoughts on what happened in Egypt today and what the days ahead will be like?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Jared,
    I've been watching this on tv all day. The authority has been given to the constitutional courts leader. What happens next is the 64,000.00 question. There will be many unhappy members of the Muslim Brotherhood. What actions will they take ? We'll see. Luckily they don't have 330,000,000 guns.
    An expert earlier said that Morsy won't be arrested and that he should be free to leave the country or stay if he chooses. They said he can run in the next election as well.
    I think Egypt is a very interesting dynamic. It seems to me that if they were willing to preserve human rights, continue to have democratic elections, and denounce terrorism..... they could become an American favorite. The country has mass financial problems. The IMF has been working with them for a long time to negotiate funding. That has never been settled.
    I believe this will dominate the news for the near future. Stay tuned.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I am doubtful that there will be a peaceful solution, even though the Muslim Brotherhood leaders have called for non-violent opposition. Much like the religious right in the USA, the right wing Islamist factions are not ready to compromise, even if some of the Sufis in the Muslim Brotherhood are. I do not understand Morsi's uncompromising defiant stand, especially considering his pre-election promises for a more all inclusive democracy.

    While much of the media focus has been of the Muslim Brotherhood, we must remember that there are other Muslim factions that are even more extremist that seemed to have influenced Morsi. I wonder, for example, how much the various Salafi political parties have influenced his policies post Mubarak. They have had funding from Saudi Arabia. No one in the media is talking about the Salafi influence. Maybe I'm alone and off base, but here's an article of interest by Khalil al-Anani and Maszlee Malik.

    Khalil al-Anani, PhD, Durham University and Maszlee Malik, PhD, The International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Academia.edu, Pious Way to Politics:The Rise of Political Salafism in Post-Mubarak Egypt

    I'll extract a few paragraphs:

    "The Salafiyya movement has spawned three political parties, al-Nour(Light), al-Asala (Authenticity), and al-Fadhila (Virtue). Some observers have depicted these parties as ideologically ultra-conservative (Bohn, 2011; Brown, 2011). The three parties advocate a rigid application for Shari‘a (the Islamic law), which, according to their interpretation, entails strict gender segregation, restricting women’s dress, and forbidding alcohol (Fadel, 2012).

    "The factors underlying the startling emergence and electoral success of Political Salafism are numerous. It would be overly simplistic, however, to attribute this success to their religious ideology. Islamist ideologies resonate well with conservative and pious Egyptians; however, the Salafi parties also employed long-standing social networks for support (Kirkpatrick, 2011). Salafis have entrenched, yet loose, net-works that have provided social services to the poor and needy Egyptians for several decades. These networks are especially pervasive among lower middle and lower classes, which suffered heavily under Mubarak’s neoliberal economic policies. Not surprisingly, the Salafis achieved sweeping victories in some rural constituencies and on the outskirts of Cairo. Ali Abdelal, an Egyptian expert on Salajism, attributes the Salafis’ victory in the elections to their long-standing Da’wa networksall over Egypt. He astutely points out the weaknesses of the MB in peripheral areas like al-Arish, Marsa Matrouh, and al-Wadi al-Jadid.

    "In addition, unlike liberal and secular forces, Salafi parties have been remarkably successful at outreach. They capitalize on social networks involving kinship, friendship, schools, and universities to communicate with ordinary Egyptians. As one of the Salafi leaders succinctly stated, “they [liberals and seculars] didn’t come to our streets, didn’t live in our villages, didn’t walk in our hamlets, didn’t wear our clothes, didn’t eat our bread, didn’t drink our polluted water, didn’t live in the sewage we live in and didn’t experience the life of misery and hardship of the people” (Kirkpatrick,2011). Mohamed Nour described liberals and secularists’ outreach strategy as merely virtual and not real. On another occasion he stated, “Other parties are talking to themselves on Twitter, but we are actually on the streets. We have other things to do than protest in Tahrir”(Bohn, 2011)."


    If al-Anani and Malik are correct in their assessment, then we can expect that Salafi movement to be even more formidable in any new elections. And unless the urban youth are motivated to vote in large numbers, the Salafi associated political parties could be the big surprise in the next election, much like the Tea Party in the USA was in 2010.

    So the choice for many rural poor Egyptians is to back the youthful and disenchanted urban protestors with no real path forward, or the people that have helped them cope day-to-day. It's a no-brainer.

    My opinion...
  • Independent
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    Yes we have all been "glued" to the news about the unfolding events in Egypt (those of us that watch world affairs) Its good to read a response that relates to one "source" of power underneath the rapid changes we are all witnessing and concerned about. Unfortunately mainstream news does not address this question much at all. It seems all the demonstrations across the world have involved mainly the "middle" class and "youth" - with big social media usage. The most disadvantaged have not (yet?) come on the street in any significant way. Their support is assumed, but their voice is not heard - and it is surely true that as in many parts of the world religious leadership tends to have more influence within the most impoverished and disadvantaged - especially where economic/welfare support is organised by these religious organisations. It is easy to overlook such factors in western urbanised societies with long histories of established democratic parties and representation. Yet one reason that Egypt has long held influence across the Arab world is because it had a relatively developed economy/society (as well a history of asserting independence ) Again the longevity of such factors in "popular" street opinion is often underestimated. So maybe it is not merely a question of what the "days ahead will be like" in Egypt alone - but the wider impact. Both in the region and beyond. The reinvigorated "Arab Spring" may have global implications within the context of global crisis. That is why asking deep questions about the nature of democracy beyond our own "backyard" has a new significance.
    Morsi, as many noted, used the word "legitimacy" over and over in his rambling, unfocused speech "to the nation". He raised the issue of democratic legitimacy like a chant, robotically showing he was unable to grasp that democratic legitimacy ultimately has its source in the people - who can and do sometimes withdraw political endorsement by sustained mass street action. When he came to power I listened very carefully to his pledges to consider and represent those outside of the muslim brotherhood/freedom and justice party. I believed him. He seemed sincere. Maybe he was at that point ! But events proved he did NOT respect the plurality of interests and progressively alienated many who had voted for him in good faith in the second round. (giving him a narrow majority) They had "legitimate" reason to deny he had genuine legitimacy ! The "interim" "transitional" regime installed by the army also rests on "the people" - so far ! The interim president went so far as to urge the people of "the square" to continue their role ! and expressed "gratitude" to the people ..... Some would see all this as "instability" I see it as a dynamic (inspiring) situation which is unfolding. The fate of democracy is more important than the fate of individual political partys - is it not ! That's why we are all glued the our screens !
    Wildsage
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Wildsage --

    You make several good observations and I agree with you.

    Much of the media coverage here initially took a back seat to the Zimmerman trial. We have been treated to live coverage of the excruciating long discussions by the defense lawyer that amounted to next to nothing and that were occasionally interrupted to get a quick update from Richard Engel in Tarir Square. And his short broadcasts did not allow him to get into any of the intricacies of how it might all evolve. Not that the viewing audience cared...they liked to watch the spectacle of the millions protesting. And they are enamored with how the social media networks have played a part. Media coverage has improved somewhat based on the shear size of the protest...CNN said 33 million. Don't know how they got that number, but it adds to the spectacle of the viewing event.

    However, as you point out, the really impoverished and disadvantaged have not been heard from in a big way. They are not a part of this spectacle because they cannot afford smart phones or computers. Many do not even own TVs. They draw inspiration from listening to their religious leaders, who "walk the talk" and are there to help them cope in day-to-day life.

    I see many parallels with the early history of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. While many in the West see these organizations only as terrorists groups, they are either ignorant of or do not appreciate the history and current role that these groups have played for decades in the social welfare of the 1.4 million impoverished Palestinians living in the 58 recognized refugee camps of Southern Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank, Syria and Jordan (UNRWA estimate)...out of some 5 million total refugees eligible for UNRWA services. Of course they get funding from other Arab states, and Iran in the case of Hezbollah, and we don't know how much is going towards military activities, but for these poor people, the hand that feeds them is Hamas or Hezbollah. And that translates into strong community support for these organizations.

    In the case of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was marginalized for decades under the Mubarak government. The Salafis meanwhile avoided getting involved in politics. However, there are some deep seated feelings that cannot be easily suppressed, and certainly there will be little that a new secular government can do to change mindsets. The military's arrest of Muslim Brotherhood political and clerical leaders will only add to the defiance and social unrest of this particular group. Maybe some of the political groups associated with either the Salafis or the Sufis will evolve into more militant organizations like Hamas or Hezbollah.

    I see difficult times ahead, not only in drafting a new constitution, but also the next election. If the religious groups are really mobilized, the outcome in terms of parliamentary seats is not likely to change. Maybe a more secular president can in fact be elected, but if that person seeks to marginalize the more radical of the Islamic factions, then more acts of violence can be expected.

    The only thing that can bring more political stability to the country is an economic resurgence, and that won't happen if the social unrest continues.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: Wildsage --

    You make several good observations and I agree with you.

    Much of the media coverage here initially took a back seat to the Zimmerman trial. We have been treated to live coverage of the excruciating long discussions by the defense lawyer that amounted to next to nothing and that were occasionally interrupted to get a quick update from Richard Engel in Tarir Square. And his short broadcasts did not allow him to get into any of the intricacies of how it might all evolve. Not that the viewing audience cared...they liked to watch the spectacle of the millions protesting. And they are enamored with how the social media networks have played a part. Media coverage has improved somewhat based on the shear size of the protest...CNN said 33 million. Don't know how they got that number, but it adds to the spectacle of the viewing event.

    However, as you point out, the really impoverished and disadvantaged have not been heard from in a big way. They are not a part of this spectacle because they cannot afford smart phones or computers. Many do not even own TVs. They draw inspiration from listening to their religious leaders, who "walk the talk" and are there to help them cope in day-to-day life.

    I see many parallels with the early history of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. While many in the west see these organizations only as terrorists groups, they are either ignorant of or do not appreciate the history and current role that these groups have played for decades in the social welfare of the 1.4 million impoverished Palestinians living in the 58 recognized refugee camps of Southern Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank, Syria and Jordan (UNRWA estimate)...out of some 5 million total refugees eligible for UNRWA services. Of course they get funding from other Arab states and Iran in the case of Hezbollah, and we don't know how much is going towards military activities, but for these poor people, the hand that feeds them is Hamas or Hezbollah. And that translates into strong community support for these organizations.

    In the case of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was marginalized for decades under the Mubarak government. The Salafis meanwhile avoided getting involved in politics. However, there are some deep seated feelings that cannot be easily suppressed, and certainly there will be little that a new secular government can do to change mindsets. The military's arrest of Muslim Brotherhood political and clerical leaders will only add to the defiance and social unrest of this particular group. Maybe some of the political groups associated with either the Salafis or the Sufis will evolve into more militant organizations like Hamas or Hezbollah.

    I see difficult times ahead, not only in drafting a new constitution, but also the next election. If the religious groups are really mobilized, the outcome in terms of parliamentary seats is not likely to change. Maybe a more secular president can in fact be elected, but if that person seeks to marginalize the more radical of the Islamic factions, then more acts of violence can be expected.

    The only thing that can bring more political stability to the country is an economic resurgence, and that won't happen if the social unrest continues.
    "schmidt" your last line says it all; I do not foresee an economic resurgence. Even if Obama keeps giving "aid" in the form of 1.6 billion a year (which is mostly used for war tools!!) will help to get the conomy going. My point is even the Greeks are in better shape!!! Therefore because of this it gives even more room for "dissatisfaction" in the country, so may create a heaven for "terrorrist" which will certainly focus on the US, because they are poor and America is rich and does not help the poor because it only sends weapons to the wrong parties in their eyes.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    And today we hear that his supporters tried to storm the building where Morsi is being held and some were shot and at least one was killed.

    The Muslim Brotherhood does not seem inclined to accept this change peacefully. And in theory, at least, I can understand their reasoning. Morsi was allegedly democratically elected, so his supporters have a legitimate complaint, even though most Egyptians wanted Morsi ousted.

    I think there will be more bloodshed, probably a lot more before this is resolved.

    In some countries it takes a heavy handed, crooked dictator like Mubarek to maintain peace.

    You guys are right that they need economic resurgence, but until peace is maintained, tourism will suffer and tourism is the biggest factor.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Change...... Be careful what you hope for you just might get it.
    I heard that Morsy was not running the govt. well. He was given 48 hours to show he had a viable plan and he did not.
    Economic relief would help but look at the country. Tourism is nice but not enough to fund an economy unless you're Tahiti, Vegas, or Hawaii. Egypt isn't going to raise crops. I heard that a large percentage of the poor in Egypt live on USD 25.00 per month..... SAD. No employer is going to locate there with the chances of political instability. Aid isn't enough to run a country, although I'm sure it helps.
    They sure have big problems.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    ..."Change..... Be careful what you hope for you just might get it"...

    Tony, you are EXACTLY right. I'll bet that many Egyptians are wishing for the "good old days" under Mubarek.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jamesn Wrote: ..."Change..... Be careful what you hope for you just might get it"...

    Tony, you are EXACTLY right. I'll bet that many Egyptians are wishing for the "good old days" under Mubarek.
    Like tony, you and I said, the economic chaos is yet to come; right now it is just a question of who will lead or may be no one will lead, unless it also becomes a dictator. Therefore (at least I think so) a solution is far away; the differences are way too big to overcome. Also if you are poor what do you want? I guess food on the table, which will then very difficult to get regardless if you are a holy muslim or not. I still remember in WWII that people gave their gold watch for one potato. That is the way it is going to be for them; unless someone steps in like the UN.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    The IMF knows that they need money. They said get the info together for your
    request and it can get processed. Egypt was not being run well. The quick to speak
    out Egyptian populace has demanded better relief for the poor and the people have
    been unhappy with many things in general. I think the US will insist on a free election
    overseen by whomever (Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton) and the world's press, in order
    for the USA to agree to send more Aid. Even though it was a coup, and that disallows the USA
    from continuing to fund aid. Oh well, we'll see what happens. My guess is those currently in
    charge..... will take their sweet time getting the new political environment in motion for a vote.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    The subject of US aid to Egypt is considerably more complex than the media and some politicians understand. For anyone that wants a better understanding, I suggest reading the Congressional Research Report of June 27, 2013, which was written right before Morsi's ouster.

    Congressional Research Report, June 27, 2013: Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

    For FY2014, President Obama is requesting $1.55 billion in total bilateral aid to Egypt ($1.3 billion in military aid and $250 million in economic aid). The report discusses our past aid and current commitments and concerns and issues that are arising now. The 1979 Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt is the basis of much of the continuing annual support to both Israel and Egypt to ensure security in that part of the region.

    The report also describes the intricacies and sensitivities of our economic aid and how some Egyptians have described it as interference in the internal affairs of Egypt.

    The military part of the aid is largely being spent on US contracts to provide military equipment and training to Egyptian military personnel. For example, from page 10 and 11 of the report:

    "FMF aid to Egypt is divided into three general categories: (1) acquisitions, (2) upgrades to existing equipment, and (3) follow-on support/ maintenance contracts. U.S.-Egyptian coproduction of the M1A1 Abrams Battle tank, which began in 1988, is one of the cornerstones of U.S. military assistance to Egypt. Egypt plans to acquire a total of 1,200 tanks. Under the terms of the program, a percentage of the tank’s components are manufactured in Egypt at a facility on the outskirts of Cairo and the remaining parts are produced in the United States and then shipped to Egypt for final assembly. General Dynamics of Sterling Heights, MI, is the prime contractor for the program.

    "With the January 2013 arrival of four F-16s in Egypt, some media attention has focused on the pending delivery in 2013 of a total of 20 F-16 C/D fighters to Egypt that were notified to Congress in 2009. Congress did not object to the sale after the notification, which was before the change in Egypt’s government, and in 2010 Lockheed Martin and Egypt reached an agreement for the purchase of 20 F-16C/Ds valued at an estimated $2.5 billion."


    The CRS report also goes into the state of conflict and the real sensitivities associated with calling Morsi's ouster a "coup," which does have legal obligations regarding the continuation of that aid. We should also recognize that although many despise the fact that so much of our aid goes to the military, it is the one organization where USA influence can be brought to bear. I view McCain's statements about cutting off all military aid because of the coup as political posturing. Cutting off military aid will weaken the one institution that much of the public still trusts (except the Muslim Brotherhood), and in fact could result is an unchecked acceleration of the conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood alliance that want to impose Sharia law and the secularists.

    Maybe that is doomed to happen anyway. The Muslim Brotherhood has taken an uncompromising stance. It is difficult also to see how the military can ram through any kind of rewrite of the constitution and new elections (as demanded by the USA) in a timely fashion without the cooperation of the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: The subject of US aid to Egypt is considerably more complex than the media and some politicians understand. For anyone that wants a better understanding, I suggest reading the Congressional Research Report of June 27, 2013, which was written right before Morsi's ouster.

    Congressional Research Report, June 27, 2013: Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

    For FY2014, President Obama is requesting $1.55 billion in total bilateral aid to Egypt ($1.3 billion in military aid and $250 million in economic aid). The report discusses our past aid and current commitments and concerns and issues that are arising now. The 1979 Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt is the basis of much of the continuing annual support to both Israel and Egypt to ensure security in that part of the region.

    The report also describes the intricacies and sensitivities of our economic aid and how some Egyptians have described it as interference in the internal affairs of Egypt.

    The military part of the aid is largely being spent on US contracts to provide military equipment and training to Egyptian military personnel. For example, from page 10 and 11 of the report:

    "FMF aid to Egypt is divided into three general categories: (1) acquisitions, (2) upgrades to existing equipment, and (3) follow-on support/ maintenance contracts. U.S.-Egyptian coproduction of the M1A1 Abrams Battle tank, which began in 1988, is one of the cornerstones of U.S. military assistance to Egypt. Egypt plans to acquire a total of 1,200 tanks. Under the terms of the program, a percentage of the tank’s components are manufactured in Egypt at a facility on the outskirts of Cairo and the remaining parts are produced in the United States and then shipped to Egypt for final assembly. General Dynamics of Sterling Heights, MI, is the prime contractor for the program.

    "With the January 2013 arrival of four F-16s in Egypt, some media attention has focused on the pending delivery in 2013 of a total of 20 F-16 C/D fighters to Egypt that were notified to Congress in 2009. Congress did not object to the sale after the notification, which was before the change in Egypt’s government, and in 2010 Lockheed Martin and Egypt reached an agreement for the purchase of 20 F-16C/Ds valued at an estimated $2.5 billion."


    The CRS report also goes into the state of conflict and the real sensitivities associated with calling Morsi's ouster a "coup," which does have legal obligations regarding the continuation of that aid. We should also recognize that although many despise the fact that so much of our aid goes to the military, it is the one organization where USA influence can be brought to bear. I view McCain's statements about cutting off all military aid because of the coup as political posturing. Cutting off military aid will weaken the one institution that much of the public still trusts (except the Muslim Brotherhood), and in fact could result is an unchecked acceleration of the conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood alliance that want to impose Sharia law and the secularists.

    Maybe that is doomed to happen anyway. The Muslim Brotherhood has taken an uncompromising stance. It is difficult also to see how the military can ram through any kind of rewrite of the constitution and new elections (as demanded by the USA) in a timely fashion without the cooperation of the Muslim Brotherhood.


    Schmidt, your story says it all; It again shows that we absolutely are not interested in the "people" but only in selling weapons. I wonder how much blood is on the hands of our war industry and the bulging pockets of the CEO's and their government lobbyists.
  • Liberal Democrat
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Dutch --

    Yes it would seem that military contractors are a part of every peace deal. This sweetheart deal has been in place since 1979 to "buy" security at the Egyptian - Gaza border. However, I would disagree with your assertion that we "absolutely are not interested in the people." If you read the Congressional Research report you would have found discussions of how we have tried to improve the economic well being of the people of Egypt. Indeed the USAID effort in Egypt has covered three decades. This is from the USAID Egypt website:

    "Our website demonstrates how the American people are working in partnership with Egyptians to build a peaceful and prosperous future. USAID helps create jobs and broad based economic growth. We enhance the contributions of civil society in achieving political and economic reforms. We work with the Government of Egypt and a range of partners to address challenges, including stabilizing the economy, improving the quality of Egyptian education, increasing marketable skills, and promoting an environment where people lead healthy, productive lives."

    These efforts are less well known, and certainly the amount of money is small in comparison to the military aid. But it does make a difference and many Americans have been working quietly in Egypt for years without fanfare to improve the economic well being of ordinary Egyptians. Hillary Clinton is especially proud of the USAID efforts under her tenure in many countries, and often mentions them in her speeches.
  • Liberal Democrat
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Regarding financial support, we should remember that the Saudis and other Arab governments are also stirring the pot. This article in the Daily Beast is somewhat perplexing:

    Daily Beat, July 7, 2013: Saudi Arabia Cheers the Coup in Egypt

    "While most of the world is ambivalent about the overthrow of a democratically elected President in Egypt by the army this week, the Saudi royal family is enthusiastically endorsing the generals’ move. The Kingdom hopes the coup marks the beginning of the end of the Arab Awakening and a return to stability and autocracy across the Arab world."

    So Saudi Arabia, the country with Sharia Law as the law of their land, supports the military takeover (some call it a coup) of the Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood's government that was seeking to impose a form of Sharia Law on Egypt. Does it make sense?

    Yes. As the article states, all this Arab awakening stuff scares the Saudi royal family. They want none of that in Saudi Arabia. Even though Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood advocated for Sharia Law, it was seen by the Al-Saud family as enhancing the political clout of the Brotherhood into other Arab countries. In the future elections, the Saudis are more likely to support the Salafis in Egypt, the religious sect analogous to the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia. They are even more fundamentalist in their beliefs that Sharia Law should be the law of the land.

    The Saudis therefore support heavy handed dictators like Mubarak or the Egyptian military to keep the Muslim Brotherhood in check. In other words, self interest first, Islam second. In this case it seems to be more about power than religion.