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Military deposed Morsi because he was too friendly to Hamas and devalued Israel relationship, says retired Egyptian general


Here’s a shocking interview on BBC World Service, July 5. Owen Bennett-Jones interviews Ayman Salama, a retired Egyptian brigadier general connected with Cairo’s military academy. Go to minute 5.

Salama says the military is preparing many charges against Morsi, dealing particularly with “the national security in Sinai and with the [Gaza] tunnels,” which allow “jihadis and extremists” associated with Hamas to enter the Sinai and inflict losses on the Egyptian army. 

“This is number one,” Salama says.

Bennett-Jones: “You’re saying that the main offense from the army’s point of view is that President Morsi was too helpful to Hamas.”

Salama: “That’s– in particular, criminally speaking he actually … threatened the national and military highest interests of the army and the whole nation… by collaborating to Hamas against the security interests of the army in Sinai.”

Bennett-Jones says that if Morsi’s the president he can decide what policy he has to Hamas or Israel.

Salama: “Theoretically and legally speaking, in books he is the president and the supreme commander… But he is the first civilian commander… that’s why there have been misunderstandings from the president… that endangers and jeopardizes the national security, bearing in mind the geopolitical and military actually features of a state like Egypt with neighboring countries, especially Israel and Hamas… So there have been many points… of disagreement between the president and the military…

“And let me repeat it again, the military asked the president many times to give them directives… to shut off all tunnels, with Gaza, but the president claim that there have been many humanitarian [reasons]…. to let them have a breathe against the Israeli blockade against Gaza strip.”

Bennett-Jones, apologizing for caricaturing Salama’s argument, says that we in the west thought the army did this to defend liberal Egypt. “But in fact you did it to defend Israel?”

Salama: “No no I do not think so. Directly and frankly speaking, the army actually cannot …. engage or combat and serve effectively and successfully all terrorists’ activities in Sinai. The army is not experienced and qualified to this. This is universal world military doctrine. That’s why it is not actually in fact Israel but it is the Egyptian national interest– but we could not actually devaluate the mutual and important mutual cooperation in intelligence and security between the Egyptian armies and also the Israeli defense army. We cannot ignore this reality.”

New York Times reflects a similar view from the other side. Isabel Kershner reports:

Israelis see the prospect of a return to what they view as a more reliable status quo, as well as a weakening of Hamas, the militant Islamic group that runs Gaza.

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13 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    July 7, 2013, 12:35 pm

    U.S. paid for Egyptian military coup against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood for Israel.. Right in line with everything else the U.S. continues to do for Israel

  2. Citizen
    July 7, 2013, 12:54 pm

    Duh. There’s been a number of comments on earlier threads here addressing what this former Egyptian officer said about the Egyptian situation regarding Egyptian Military motive for aiding a soft coup. Clearly, Morsi’s reluctance to honor the Military’s request to fill the tunnels with dirt because the Palestinians have suffered enough and needed a respite, fell on deaf ears. The Egyptian Military depends on US Military Aid. Morsi was indicating he didn’t want Egypt to be so purchased. So, off with his head!

  3. Kathleen
    July 7, 2013, 12:58 pm

    The Leverett’s link to what they consider the best piece on the Egyptian military coup

    • BradAllen
      July 7, 2013, 7:00 pm

      Thanx Kathleen, the link to gointotehran was excellent. Recommend reading it by everyone.
      Although I dislike extremism in Islamic groups, I am beginning to wonder the limits of democracy seem to exclude those who do not agree with us, will this come back to bite us In the ass sometime in the future.

  4. James Canning
    James Canning
    July 7, 2013, 1:23 pm

    Egyptian army apparently also worried that Morsi’s support for insurgency in Syria would help fire up potential insurgency in Egypt.

  5. W.Jones
    July 7, 2013, 2:02 pm

    You guys are on the ball.

  6. just
    July 7, 2013, 4:31 pm

    Will we ever evolve into a decent democracy and be a force for good?

    I am ashamed.

    • just
      July 7, 2013, 4:50 pm

      Our most fatal flaw is our raging hypocrisy, and the whole wide world sees it over and over and over again.

  7. asherpat
    July 7, 2013, 4:39 pm

    I just love reading Israel-hating press like Mondoweiss. Instead of being depressed about internal fighting, stranglehold of mafia-like unions, incompetence and national-suicide intentions of some of our leaders and people – reading Mondoweiss makes me relaxed and content – apparently – Obama, the Egyptian army, Kerry, the EU, NYT, WaPo everybody are just grovelling in front of us, bending over backwards to please us and we are an infallible colossus.

  8. ivri
    July 7, 2013, 7:11 pm

    Whatever the real story in regard to the role of the Israeli issue in the developments in Egypt one thing is abundantly clear the Israel – Arab conflict has been dethroned big time from its previous status as “the single most important” problem of the region. With what has happened in sequence in Iraq, Libya, Syria & Lebanon, Bahrain and now Egypt this mantra is clearly on its death throes.
    Moreover, given Israel`s role in the US-Jordanian connection, it`s role on what goes on in Syria (possible ties with the rebels) and now this cited interview about its indirect influence on the developments in Egypt (plus rumors about clandestine contacts with Gulf emirates – as they are also deadly worried about Iran) it appears that Israel is becoming a “regional player” – rather than the outsider it has always been.
    Both of the above represent a dramatic departure from what seemed a fixed situation in the past.

  9. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    July 8, 2013, 2:10 am

    Actually, the interviewed general was not answering, “Why was Morsi deposed?” he was answering, “Why was Morsi arrested?” These are possibly two different questions: Morsi was deposed (as described in the Times today) because he had overstepped in his relationship with the army and the Mubarak era judiciary and his inability to compromise with those who weren’t the MB. He was arrested (according to the interviewed general) on a more technical facet of the contradiction between the desires of the Egyptian army to control Sinai and protect its own forces while policing Sinai versus Morsi’s disregard for worrying about the security situation of Sinai (in comparison with the needs of the population of Gaza). Morsi’s attitudes were dangerous vis a vis the army’s treaty with Israel, but also the Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai (last summer) can be blamed on Morsi and might be the cause to bring him to court to account for those dead.

  10. piotr
    July 9, 2013, 3:18 am

    One should take the “accusations” with a grain of salt, or simply pickle them in a salt barrel.

    The news about Gaza were full of actions against the tunnels, and the vaunted opening of Rafah crossing was rather pitiful. If anything, Morsi had only sketchy control over the military and the enforcement against the trafficking was more vigorous than under Mubarak. By the way, Morsi was also accused of disrespect of the President.

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