Morsi told EU diplomats in 2012 Egyptian Salafists wanted to destabilise his rule: Clinton emails

Ahram Online , Wednesday 2 Sep 2015

According to an email Clinton received in 2012, a worried now-ousted president Morsi once instructed Egyptian intelligence to gather information on the activities of the Salafist party Al-Nour's

(File Photo) Former US Security of State Hillary Clinton and former Egyptian in 2012 President Mohamed Morsi

Egypt's ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi told EU diplomats in 2012 that protests at the American embassy in Cairo in September of that year were orchestrated by Salafists who did not approve of his policies and wanted to destabilise his government, Hillary Clinton's emails revealed.

The protests in question, which took place on 13 and 14 September 2012, were a reaction to a controversial US-produced film that protestors condemned, saying it mocked Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

Sidney Blumenthal, a journalist who once served as Clinton's advisor during her tenure as US secretary of state in the first Obama administration, sent her an email on 14 September 2012 saying that Morsi told EU officials the protest had ulterior motives.

Blumenthal said the source for his email had "direct access to the Libyan National Transitional Council, as well as the highest levels in European governments, and Western intelligence and security services."

Clinton's emails from the period when she served as secretary of state have been released by the US State Department because she used an unorthodox private e-mail server to carry out the department's business.

Morsi, according to Blumenthal's email, believed that Salafists considered his government "too moderate in its positions regarding Islam, Israel, and the non-Muslim world."

At the time of the protests the Muslim Brotherhood, the now banned group from which Morsi hails, used their official English language Twitter account to quote the group's deputy head Khairat El-Shater as saying he was "relieved none of @USembassycairo staff was hurt."

The tweet also expressed El-Shater's hopes that US-Egypt relations could weather the events.

However, in a different post on their official Arabic language Twitter account, the Brotherhood praised the protests and called for a million-man march to condemn the movie.

The Army

In his email to Clinton, Blumenthal also said that Morsi told an EU official on September 14 2012 that he had received "extremely forceful messages" from the US regarding the protest, which caused Morsi to fear losing "$1billion dollars in US aid".

Thereafter, according to the email, Morsi instructed the military and the security forces to "use all necessary force short of lethal measures to protect US and Western facilities."

Blumenthal also wrote that Morsi told the EU official that the protests were especially troubling as any action which endangered the US aid money, most of which goes to the military, would potentially damage "the new Egyptian administration's current good relationship with the army."

Dealing with the Al-Nour Party

The email also claimed that Morsi and Saad El-Katatni, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member and, at the time, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, privately agreed to "deal with the Al-Nour party."

The ultra-conservative Salafist Al-Nour party held the second most of seats in parliament after the 2011 elections.

The group, which has broken with Morsi in his last months in office before his July 2013 ouster, represents the largest block of Salafists in Egypt.

However. there are other Salafist groups, such as the Salafist Front, which continue to maintain allegiance to the ousted president.

Blumenthal wrote to Clinton that Morsi "ordered al-Sissi [sic] to direct the commanders of Military Intelligence to step up operations collecting information on the activities of the al Nour leadership".

Around a year later, on 3 July 2013, when El-Sisi appeared live on television with other national and political figures to announce Morsi's ouster the head of the Al-Nour party Younis Makhyoun was among the attendees and endorsers of the action.

The Al-Nour party is currently preparing to run in the first parliamentary elections to take place since the 2011-2012 parliament was dissolved.

The vote will last from mid-October till the end in December.

Morsi is being tried in a number of cases on various criminal charges including espionage. He received a death sentence in a case known as "Wadi Natroun" (Jailbreak Case). He also received a life sentence in a separate case after being found guilty of spying for Hamas.

Both cases are currently under appeal.

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