Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) warned the Muslim Brotherhood that the ,military would ensure that no one faction will dominate Egypt.
“Egypt will never fall. It belongs to all Egyptians and not to a certain group — the armed forces will not allow it,” he warned in comments to reporters after a handover ceremony for the transfer of command of the armed forces’ 2nd Field Army in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia.
“The armed forces will not allow anyone, especially those pushed from outside, to distract it from its role as the protector of Egypt,” he said. “The army will never commit treason and will continue to perform its duties until Egypt reaches the shores of safety.”
Tantawi, Mubarak’s defense minister for 20 years, is the most senior of the generals who took power after the longtime leader’s ouster 17 months ago. Under their tutelage, however, the military came under harsh criticism from the youth groups behind Mubarak’s ouster. The military is accused of doing nothing to stop a surge in crime, a faltering economy and of killing scores of protesters.
The military and the Brotherhood have bad blood since the 1950s, when then-president Gamal Abdel-Nasser jailed the group’s leaders and hundreds of its members. He ordered another crackdown in the early 1960s, jailing some again and executing a few. Mubarak spent most of his years in office chasing after the Brotherhood, jailing thousands.
Hillary Clinton, who was in Cairo over the weekend, wasn’t particularly helpful, offering words of wisdom such as:
“Democracy is not just about reflecting the will of the majority,” she said. “It is also about protecting the rights of the minority.”
Really? That would be a great idea for the US. Why didn’t we think of that?
I wonder what President Mohammed Mursi thought of that statement. If he’s anything like your typical Islamist, the thought of giving the minority any rights whatsoever was probably as alien to him as the concept of religious tolerance. And the gimlet eyed old generals on SCAF who had to listen to Hillary’s drivel were no doubt equally unimpressed.
Clinton also intoned the following:
“Real democracy means that no group or faction or leader can impose their will, their ideology, their religion, their desires on anyone else.”
Obviously, Clinton didn’t hear Obama when he told Republicans “I won.”
Tantawi knows that if the Brotherhood and their Islamist allies dominate the government and society, the military’s economic and political dominance will be at an end. They may not have a choice, however. The generals may have the guns but the Brotherhood can get a million people in the streets if they want to.
In that kind of confrontation, unless the generals are willing to shoot down their own countrymen, the Brotherhood wins.