A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, March 11, 2013

Egyptian Army Warns Against Political Militias

After Egypt's Prosecutor-General had responded to the ongoing police strike by calling on people to make citizens' arrests, while some political groups including Al-Gama‘a al-Islamiyya had talked of setting up popular militias, Al-Ahram has quoted a "military source" making clear the Army would not accept political groups creating militias:
A military source who spoke to Ahram Online on Monday slammed recent statements by the office of Egypt's prosecutor-general in which the latter gave the green light to members of the public to make citizen's arrests of anyone found committing acts of vandalism.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the move would open the door to the formation of "private militias" and raise the spectre of "civil war."  The military source supported his assertions by pointing to the reaction to the statement by Islamist groups, some of whom quickly announced plans to set up 'popular committees' to replace striking police officers.

"This policy crosses the state's red lines...the armed forces will not accept anything that threatens national security," he said. "Egypt's armed forces don't stand on the side of any political faction, but that's not an excuse for certain groups to begin forming militias," he added. The source went on to warn that such a step "could prompt the military to intervene."
So the Army reminds us again it is still in the wings.

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