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In Cairo Sunday night, thousands of Egyptians shouted political slogans in support of President Mohamed Morsi. (AFP/Getty Images)

In Egypt, Talk Of Coups And Countercoups

Aug 13, 2012

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Sunday's sacking (or forced retirements, if you prefer) of Egypt's military chiefs by new President Mohammed Morsi has analysts scrambling to explain what it all means.

The Daily Beast calls it a "risky palace coup." Paul Sullivan, a North Africa expert at National Defense University, tells the newssite that firing the top generals on Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces:

"Is a bold move that could backfire at Morsi. He has been losing credibility with the Egyptian public since his election. The Sinai attack was seen by many in Egypt as a sign of Morsi's weakness, not the military and intelligence people. Now he is trying to turn the tables on them."

Ahram Online writer Wael Eskandar says it was likely "a coup to counteract a coup." Some generals lined up with Morsi because they feared Defense Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Gen. Sami Annan (the two told to retire) were going to take steps against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood that might have set off uncontrollable repercussions.

On Morning Edition, NPR's Leila Fadel said that though Morsi's actions have won him praise, "some worry that this is too much power for one man." He also revoked a constitutional declaration by the generals that had curtailed the president's powers.

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