World Bulletin / News Desk
A series of interviews by the AP with defense, security and intelligence officials paint a picture of a president who intended to flex his civilian authority as supreme commander of the armed forces, issuing orders to el-Sissi.
The military chief el-Sisi believed Morsi was leading the country into turmoil and repeatedly challenged him, defying his orders in at least two cases.
The military worried that Morsi was giving a free hand to armed groups in the Sinai Peninsula, ordering el-Sissi to stop crackdowns on jihadis who had killed Egyptian soldiers and were escalating a campaign of violence. "I don't want Muslims to shed the blood of fellow Muslims," Morsi told el-Sissi in ordering a halt to a planned offensive in November, retired army Gen. Sameh Seif el-Yazl told AP.
It was an expansion of the role the army took in the Suez Canal city of Port Said, which by that time had seen months of anti-Morsi protests that evolved into an outright revolt. More than 40 protesters had been killed by police there, as Morsi publicly urged security forces to deal strongly with the protests. The military was deployed in the city, largely welcomed by the residents, who continued protests and strikes. The military officials said Morsi had ordered the army to get tougher on protesters, but el-Sissi refused, telling him, "The people have demands."
El-Sissi issued a statement saying the armed forces would intervene to stop any violence at the last protests, particularly to stop Morsi supporters from attacking the rallies. He gave the two sides a week to resolve their differences — with the deadline being June 30. Morsi summoned el-Sissi to explain his statement, and the general reassured him that "this was designed to calm people down," the Brotherhood official said.
The security and intelligence officials said they reported to Morsi about a rising number of foreign jihadis, including Palestinians, entering Sinai. The military identified Gazan militants involved in the killing of the 16 soldiers, but Morsi rejected a request by el-Sissi that he ask Hamas to hand them over for trial, the officials said. Hamas has repeatedly denied any role in the killings. Morsi instead ordered el-Sissi to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to discuss the issue. El-Sissi refused, because of the military's longtime view of Hamas as a threat, said the officials.
The military saw the policy of dialogue as being rooted in the Brotherhood's sympathy to others in the Islamist movement, even ones engaged in violence. Another incident deepened the military's belief that Morsi was more interested in a region agenda than what the army saw as Egypt's interests.
During an April visit to Sudan, which has an Islamist government, Morsi showed flexibility over the fate of a border region claimed by both countries. After Morsi's return, el-Sissi sent his chief of staff to Khartoum to "make it crystal clear to the Sudanese that the Egyptian armed forces will never surrender" the territory, one defense official said.Last Mod: 18 Temmuz 2013, 16:31