msnbc | December 08, 2012
>>> in egypt where there are new developments in the power struggle that started with p mohamed morsi's grab for new powers. we're there with details. ayman , we got word there were some considerations there to issue a new koconstitutional declaration of some sort. what can you tell us about all this?
>> reporter: sure. it's important to set what triggered these protests two weeks ago, a constitutional declaration by president morsi that was seen as a power grab, gave him sweeping powers through the transitional period. it triggered protests. one of the central demands of the protesters and the opposition to the president has been that he rescind that decree decree. for the past several days the p president has been trying to figure out a way to kind of minimize the scope of that decree. i has not worked. it has not pleased the opposition. today he met with some of the opposition forces, and what we're learning from egyptian state television , an official government news source, is that the prime minister has suggested that the president is considering a new constitutional declaration and perhaps in light of that new constitutional declaration he would mitigate some of the new powers that he has assumed and perhaps meet the demands of the protesters on this one central issue, craig.
>> and this presumably would be in direct response to the tens of thousands of protesters that we have seen behind you over the past ten days?
>> reporter: absolutely. there's no doubt about it. the protesters have said that the presidential decree that was issued on november 22nd was a power grab, it allowed him to make legislation without any type of judicial reviews, and that his decisions were final until a new constitution, a larger constitution, was officially r lly ratified. what we're now learning is perhaps after a meeting with opposition today and in the face of political pressure and isolation the president could be backtracking on some of the powers he granted himself in that declaration . we'll certainly more lly learn more about it in the coming hours if there is an official statement. we're learning only from egyptian state media, the government-controlled news media in cairo.
>> in regards to the scene that's been behind you unfolding, what has that been like, you know, today versus a week ago today?
>> reporter: well, today it's relatively peaceful. it has been really since wednesday. tuesday and wednesday earlier this week those were the violent protests. what had happened was the protesters initially marched from tahrir square to the presidential pal latsz, camped out there. but supporters of president morsi came and that's when the confrontation began. that's what led the military to deploy around the presidential palace on wednesday. today the military was erecting concrete barriers outside the presidential palace to make sure that a similar scene does not repeat itself. but the protesters are still camped out very much define, very much adamant that they will stay outside the presidential palace until the president meets all of their demands, including this declaration and building and writing a new constitution with a broader national consensus, not one that just favors the islamists in power. craig?
>> ayman mohyeldin with some breaking news for us on this saturday afternoon in egypt where again, according to state media there, the prime minister there saying they are considering a new constitutional declaration . we will check in with you a little later, sir. thank you for the update.
>>> i want to bring in mona, the egyptian american journalist who's worked extensively in the middle east , currently based in new york. we had you on a week or two ago. first of all, let me get your initial reaction to what we just heard from ayman , that it appears as if president morsi may be changing his calculations just a bit based on what he has seen unfold in the streets of egypt .
>> i think president morsi needs to change his calculations much more than just a bit. he's finally listening to his own words. he's been saying over and over again this is not the old egypt . and clearly the hundreds of thousands of egyptians on the street who were there to promote the revolution until it continues are sending a message not only must you amend this constitutional declaration , you must renounce all these super powers you have assumed for yourself.
>> one of the interesting things, and ayman hit on it, is watching the military's role in all of this, the military now taking a center role again dealing with these egyptians in the streets. is that move designed purely to intimidate?
>> let me express something very simply p the muslim brotherhood and the military are on the same side. egypt is like a triangle. one is the military, one the islamists and the third and the most important for the people on the street is the revolution. the mill tanls and the brotherhood are on the same side. in the presidential elections , it was machiavellian genius to allow mohammed morsi to become present. they voted for him -- he only got 25% in the first round. they voted for him because they didn't want the other candidate. the military in this draft constitution that was rushed through last week has guaranteed a safe exit, no trial for human rights violations , has guaranteed no civilian oversight of his budget, and don't forget the military in egypt get $1.3 billion from washington , and washington currently supports our president. and washington , i have to add, is about to start supporting yet another dictator in egypt . hosni mubarak was supported by five u.s. presidents . we have a senior high-level brotherhood if i remember in d.c. lobbying. they do not want dictatorship.
>> what's the next step in cairo?
>> mohamed morsi's three m -- had three mistakes. we need accountability for them. the people on the street will not go until accountability is reached, justice is reach and --
>> even if the draft constitution is approved.
>> this is the thing. he's saying you either approve the draft constitution or i'm going to keep more powers than mubarak kept. this is a devil's choice. he must choose the revolution. as the people on the street have made clear.
>> thank you very much. appreciate your insight as always. hope you'll come back as well.