Adli Mansour, the chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, was sworn in on television Thursday as Egypt’s new president while his deposed predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, and dozens of Morsi’s top lieutenants were taken into custody.

Morsi, who was elected president only a year ago, had the difficult task of negotiating a population in open rebellion and military leaders who appeared keen to have their way. Critics, including thousands of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, accused Morsi of trying to turn Egypt into a theocracy and failing to stabilize the country’s economy. The military, which carried out a coup just hours before naming Mansour interim president, said Morsi had defied the “national consensus.”

The New York Times reports that Morsi and other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have been detained:

By the end of the night, Mr. Morsi was in military custody and blocked from all communications, one of his advisers said, and many of his senior aides were under house arrest. Egyptian security forces had arrested at least 38 senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Saad el-Katatni, the chief of the group’s political party, and others were being rounded up as well, security officials said. No immediate reasons were given for the detentions.

President Obama said, “We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsi and suspend the Egyptian Constitution.” The United States is in a tough spot, as it could be said that Washington helped bankroll the coup, albeit indirectly, with its $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt.

Another president located much closer to Cairo had an altogether different point of view, reports the Times:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, facing a bloody insurgency that has drawn in Islamic militants opposed to him, praised the Egyptian protesters and said in an interview with a state-run newspaper in Damascus that the overthrow of Mr. Morsi meant the end of “political Islam.”

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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