Egypt’s military-backed alliance that played a key role in toppling elected President Mohamed Morsy appears to be fraying after the Defence Minister — the face of the coup — called for rallies on Friday to support a crackdown on “violence and terrorism”.
Gen. Abdel Fatah El-Sisi’s controversial call, at a time when pro-Morsy protests are raging throughout the country, seem to have fuelled the already combustible societal tensions that have been spiralling in Egypt after the July 3 coup. Hours before the General’s address on Wednesday, one conscript was killed and 19 injured when an explosive devise went off at a police station in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura. Dozens have been killed in clashes between the military and Islamist militants in the arid Sinai Peninsula that borders the Gaza Strip, following the takeover by the military.
But the Muslim Brotherhood slammed Gen. Sisi’s recipe to restore calm in the streets of Egypt. The General was “calling for a civil war... to protect this military coup”, said senior Brotherhood figure Mohamed El-Beltagy. “He is proving that he is the actual ruler of the country, and that the President, his Vice-President and the government do not hold any power,” he observed.
Mr. Beltagy’s remarks seemed to chime with the perceptions of the Salafist Al Nour Party. The two have had a chequered relationship, but the Salafists broke ranks and supported the military in bringing down Mr. Morsy. Observers say that the relationship between the two reflects the complicated relationship between Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, a Brotherhood supporter.
The April 6 Youth Movement, which has also supported Mr. Morsy’s exit, criticised Gen. Sisi for pursuing a counterproductive course. The group counselled the military to avoid a path that would “throw us off the national reconciliation track and constitute a danger to our security”.
The Tamarod campaign — a composite youth organisation that played a leading role in anti-Morsy demonstrations — voiced its full support for the Gen. Sisi’s call. The Tamarod also called for the expulsion from Egypt of Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador in Egypt, widely perceived in the anti-Morsy camp as a Brotherhood supporter.
The group’s distinct anti-American stance seems to have acquired a sharper edge after the United States reneged on its earlier commitment to supply four F-16 fighter jets to the interim Egyptian government. Pentagon spokesman George Little was quoted as saying that the decision was made “given the current situation in Egypt”. The Americans are also studying whether to call the military takeover a coup — a designation that would automatically bar the flow of U.S. aid into Egypt.
Analysts point out that unlike the circumspection shown by Washington, Saudi Arabia and some of its Gulf allies, well-stocked with petro-dollars, have strongly supported the military takeover in Cairo.
These countries — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE — have backed their unreserved endorsement of the military backed government with pledges of a $ 12 billion cash injection .