When general Abd-el-Fatah el-Sisi, Egypt’s Deputy Prime Minister for National Security and Secretary of Defence called upon Egyptian people to to rally under banner ” No to Terrorism” and to give a popular mandate to ” state institutions” to combat terrorism, many questioned his motives since he did not need such mandate nor do state institutions. It is the duty of the army, police and other security agencies to do just exactly that , not as a favor or by popular mandate. It was the job they are paid to do and have been trained for.
The motives of general Sisi, as part of a wider strategy he discussed with Chief Justice Adly mansour – the acting interim president, and Prime Minister Dr Hazem al-Beblawi are multiple, but mainly two pronged strategy. One for internal and regional and the other very much to do with national security as a strong message to the outside world, particularly to the west, especially EU, UK and USA.
The Egyptians knew that people would be out on the streets in response. and when it came from general el-Sisi they would pour into the streets in large numbers, in millions, to send a strong message to the outside world. The message was simple: If the Egyptian army waved the card of national security before the people, then as a most respected institution, it can mobilise millions in unprecedented numbers. Messages to the outside world , especially washington-London axis that if they contemplate military or any other form of intervention ( which is part of the Muslim Brotherhood strategy by generating confrontation and provoke army into clashes then ask for intervention on humanitarian ground) then millions of people will be mobilised to resist them. It won’t be another Iraq or Afghanistan type venture.
It was also a message to Europe, Britain and America that the Egyptian army was fighting its own war on terror – which is exactly what was happening in Sinai and attacks increased after the Egyptian army started destroying the smuggling tunnels used by Hamas to supply weapons and explosives to terror cells in sinai, most were convicted terrorists pardoned by Muhammed Morsi in his capacity as a president ( and became a bone of contention between him and MB on one side and the army and the rest of the state agencies on the other). The terrorists in Sinai – who are also in direct contact and possible liaison ( as claimed by security sources but can’t be independently verified) with the secrete apparatus of Muslim Brotherhood, are the very terrorists, by ideology, affiliation, stance and aims like al-qaeda ( whose flags are raised in every rally or riot the MB starts on Egyptian streets) and of those who committed September 11 atrocities in America, July 7 in London, Madrid train bombs, the woolwish horrific murder of a soldier and other types of Islamist extremists terror motivated by the takfeeri ideology of sayyed Qutb of Muslim Brothers. A simple message that Egypt’s war on terror is but part of the Global war on terror by which President George W bush, rightly responded to Islamists attack on America.
As it transpired, from the secrete recording of the Muslim Brothers Global Organisation meeting in Turkey that the plan to destabilise Egypt requires daily unrest, generating clashes, provoking the army and calling for martyrdom hoping that bloodshed would raise the possibility of western intervention to reinstate Morsi, it was important, from the Egyptian government and el-Sisi view point to convince Muslim Brother sympathisers of the true picture, not the false one presented to them by MB leadership. The true picture that the vast majority, or over 80% of the people are against MB not with Morsi , whose support is no more than 15% or perhaps in single figures.
It is interesting that many journalists flew in Army and police helicopters as well as some of the big TV networks who have their own helicopter camera crews ( but are known to be hostile to MBs) and flew yesterday July 26 over big cities showing the impressive size of the population in support of government, the army and against Mbs under the slogan ” no to terrorism” . Those reporters and camera crew can now present a more accurate picture to the people of how small Muslim Brotherhood support is compared to mass mobilisation by the people in support of secular forces and the army.
It was interesting how Mb spokesman Gihad Haddad channed his tweets, from casting doubt on the numbers of anti MB demonstrators to attacking Gen el-Sisi for ” using taxpayer money bought helicopters to give ride to journalists” by midnight on 26 July when it became clear he lost the numbers game.
Finally what made Chief Justice Mansour, PM Beblawi and Gen el-Sisi confident of a positive masses response and the people would come out in millions in support?
The answer is exactly the same reason why I am among commentators rejecting the definition of the army intervention asa coup. Beside the big gesture made by el-Sisi to the people to correct the error made by his predecessors (who handed 2011 revolution to Muslim Brothers under the mistaken belief that they were the only organised power in the land, ) When he made it up to the people by siding with them after June 30, the Egyptian army has a unique place in Egyptians’ hearts.
For thousands of years, the Egyptian state structured as a pyramid or triangle of power. Three institutions that kept Egypt stable and secure. The pharaoh at the top ( head of state) with god-like powers, and the two great institutions in the base or the two sides of the triangle. The Army and the temple ( church or religious institution) With Muslim brothers usurping the faith of tyne majority and the two churches ( Muslim al-Zhar and Coptic christians) shaken and challenged by the events, and the president – two of them in 30 months – lost the confidence and respect of the people and no longer pharaoh. That leave the army as the only trustworthy institution that can be relied upon to hold the nation and the state together. That was shown in the way millions were holding el-Sisi’s portraits every where. The army is seen in as a non-ideological patriotic institution during battle between ideological powerful and armed minority i.e. Muslim Brothers and a non-ideological massive majority. Egyptian people would have come out against ANY ideological party or trend that would have put its ideology, in global context, before national interests. Had it been a communist or a national socialist party not Muslim Brothers, Egyptian people would have acted the same way.
Finally people see the army as their ONLY protection Although non-Ideology majority out-number Muslim Brothers supporters 51:1, they are unarmed and largely peaceful. Muslim Brothers have a long history of terrorism, secrete armed organisation and used violence in numerous occasions. Who would protect the people but the army? al-sisi just presented them with the shield. Last night, July 26 Egypt first ever baby to be born during a rally was delivered by a young mother during demonstration supporting the army and saying ‘ No to Terrorism’. the mum called the boy Al-Sisi.