A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SCAF Meeting Without Morsi: No Subtle Messages Here

 "Egypt's SCAF holding meetings in president's absence: Military Sources."  The article appears in Ahram Online, and Al-Ahram is the flagship of the state-owned media.
Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has been meeting without its nominal head, President Mohamed Morsi, to discuss domestic developments amid concerns over Egypt's ongoing political crisis, military sources told Ahram Online Wednesday.
In the president's absence, sources say, such gatherings do not technically qualify as official SCAF meetings. "They are more like consulting sessions in which the military leadership compares notes and discusses issues of concern," said one source.
According to these sources, who spoke on strict condition of anonymity, recent tensions between the presidency and the military were prompted by this recent round of meetings, in which some SCAF members voiced concern over national development and the viability of the central government.
Oh, that's all right then. No subtle message being sent when this appears in the state's flagship paper? Of course not:
A SCAF meeting with the president two weeks ago ended inconclusively when the latter demanded the army's help in containing mass demonstrations in Egypt's three canal cities (Port Said, Suez and Ismailia).
Sources stress that the SCAF's position on the issue remains the same: that the army is not prepared to intervene in current political developments unless the situation spirals dangerously out of control.
The trouble in Port Said is continuing, potentially threatening Canal revenues.
This position has been publicly stated repeatedly by both El-Sisi and Army Chief-of-Staff Sedki Sobhi.
"The army is not intervening in [political] developments and, in fact, dreads the idea of reassuming any political responsibility," said another military source. "But at the same time, it's our responsibility to be prepared for all possible scenarios."
No hidden messages there. They even dread the idea.

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