Egypt suffered a military coup July 3, when Mohammad Morsi, the recently elected president, was deposed. The nation also suffered a subsequent crackdown on civil liberties. Morsi and an Islamist government took office after the 2011-12 elections for a new legislature and president. According to the Wall Street Journal, the military had been secretly meeting with the opposition to Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood for months, plotting the recent coup against the elected leaders.
The coup leader was U.S.-trained General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Al-Sisi is a former spy; he headed military intelligence for the Egyptian Army, which cooperates closely with the U.S. CIA. Indeed, the Egyptian intelligence is implicated in the torture of dissidents and terrorist suspects. But the Egyptian military nevertheless maintained regular communications with its U.S. military counterparts before and since the coup.
President Adly Mansour
Interim President Adly Mansour (shown, right) was appointed to the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court by the Mubarak government in 1992, and was one of the longest-serving justices on the court. Morsi appointed him chief justice, but Mansour is best known for being part of the court that tried to dissolve the elected legislature and cancel the new Egyptian constitution.
In one sense, the military coup accomplished what Mansour's court never could. And Mansour's otherwise strict avoidance of politics — even in personal political conversations — made him the perfect choice for a military junta, which was looking for an apparently neutral “technocrat” as a face to run post-coup Egypt. CNN and other news outlets have dubbed him the “mystery man” because of his unknown political ideology. But Mansour's career as a judge was due to his sponsorship by the old Mubarak regime, and his political ideology can perhaps be surmised from his own appointments to the interim government.
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Photo of Mohamed ElBaradei and Adly Mansour: AP Images