The basis for such an alliance may be Morsi’s continued push for the Dec. 15 referendum on a constitution that enshrines the military’s power to an unprecedented degree. The charter was passed in a rushed vote of an elected, Islamist-dominated assembly over the objections of liberal, secular and Christian members who walked out.
Morsi has said that opposition forces may have some legitimate concerns about the charter. But he has also sought to remind the world that the Islamists were elected — he frequently refers to those who would thwart “legitimacy” — and has suggested that the opposition is being manipulated by those whose true interest is ousting his government.
In Egypt, large crowds of opponents of President Mohamed Morsi marched on his palace to increase pressure after he rejected their demands. The two camps in the country's divide appeared at a deadlock.
President Morsi expands military’s role in advance of Saturday’s controversial charter vote.
Protests outside palace are much smaller, but demonstrators say they are not satisfied with the changes.
The announcement follows a decision by top judges to suspend work indefinitely.
Decision made after Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Morsi swarmed the court.
Egypt’s president sets Dec. 15 as date for vote as his Islamist supporters pack the streets.
Many in the opposition have come to believe the same about Morsi, that he cannot be trusted and that he and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters are interested only in Islamist power. They have repeatedly called for Morsi to abandon the draft constitution and start over.
Instead, Morsi seems to be pressing forward, perhaps with assurances of military support.
“The military is getting what it wants out of this constitution,” said Heba Morayef, director of Human Rights Watch’s Egypt office. “The only thing the military cares about is ensuring its privileges.”
Saturday’s statements also evoke a possible replay of the period after Mubarak’s ouster, when the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces deployed military police to the streets.
The military police and the generals commanding them were widely criticized for arresting, beating and torturing hundreds of civilian protesters and sexually abusing the women among them. Egypt’s administration court eventually suspended the military’s authority to carry out such arrests.
Now, after rescinding his decree, Morsi is issuing a new one that may grant those powers to the military once again.
“That means Morsi is confident that he can deploy the military as needed,” Morayef said. “So that is actually further evidence that Morsi and the military are likely working together, although there may be limits to what the military is willing to do.”
Sharaf al-Hourani and Abigail Hauslohner contributed to this report.