Morsi says will not allow 'defaming' Egypt's armed forces

Ahram Online, Sunday 5 Aug 2012

In a speech to the military in Ismailia, president Morsi thanks the Armed Forces for their role in Egypt's transitional period and denounces those who criticise the army

Mohamed Morsi(centre),Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (left) and chief of staff Sami Anan (right) military graduation ceremony July 17(Photo:AP)

President Mohamed Morsi gave a speech following an Iftar with the armed forces stationed in Egypt's eastern Ismailia on Saturday expressing his gratitude for the role played by the army in protecting the country, commending the role of the army during the 25 January "revolution" and later in protecting the parliamentary elections.

Morsi referred to those trying to disfigure the "beautiful image" that was created through the unified stance taken by the people and the army together. He said that he will not allow these people to succeed in their "continuous attempts to hinder the road to democracy."

"I will not allow this even if I have to go back onto the streets," declared the president, who ran as the candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood.

In his speech, Morsi told the attendees that in the current phase, there are two priorities for the army; one is "to be fully prepared to defend the country," and the second is to be patient.

"For my part, my responsibility is to defend you if anyone ever offends you," he said.

During the event General Ahmed Wasfi thanked Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, for "saving Egypt through a critical time of its history." Head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Tantawi retained his post as defence minister in the newly-formed cabinet, a post he has held since 1991.

Relations between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Armed Forces appear to have taken a harmonious turn after a period in which relations were strained. While some revolutionaries have accused the Brotherhood of negotiating with the military behind closed doors, there have been two moments of particular tension.

Last March, the now-dissolved parliament, dominated by the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, accused the SCAF of keeping Kamal El-Ganzouri's "incompetent" government for its own benefits. They threatened a number of times to withdraw confidence from the government.

The military council responded, telling the Brotherhood to "be aware of the lessons of history to avoid mistakes from a past we do not want to return to." Many observers noted this as a reference to the incidents of 1954, when a large number of Brotherhood leaders were jailed and the group outlawed when accused of involvement in an attempt to assassinate then-president Nasser.

The second point of particular tension came when the SCAF issued a constitutional addendum on the eve of presidential election results. The newly-issued articles transferred a number of powers from the presidential office to the military, and as a result the SCAF faced accusations of seeking to limit the influence of the Brotherhood when they saw that Morsi was likely to win the presidency.

President Morsi's statements in Ismailia may indicate that he is seeking a less confrontational way of managing the relationship with the military council.


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