Military warns media to ‘think carefully’ before ‘offending’ the Armed Forces

“I swear the Armed Forces did not kill or order any killing — betray or order any betrayal — since 25 January,” declared Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in response to leaked reports accusing the army of human rights abuses during the revolution.

In a video posted on YouTube on Friday by military spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Ali following a meeting between President Mohamed Morsy and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on Thursday night, Sisi warned, “We should take care of the Armed Forces. I hope that everyone thinks carefully before they offend the army.”

Sisi said that in SCAF’s meeting with the president, Morsy listened to the army leaders’ concerns regarding what they called insults to the military institution. Morsy rejected such insults and expressed his support for the Armed Forces and for SCAF, Sisi claimed.

Over the past two years, the Armed Forces didn’t perform any offensive actions, the minister continued, adding that the military had completely withdrawn from the political arena after power was transferred to Morsy on 30 June 2012. Since then, SCAF had been focused on improving the army’s efficiency and upgrading its equipment and resources at “unprecedented rates,” Sisi claimed.

“The Armed Forces are loyal to the country … [the military] is an honorable patriotic institution,” he continued.

On Wednesday, the British newspaper The Guardian ran an article citing a leaked report issued by the president’s fact-finding committee on revolution-era crimes that accused the Egyptian military of the abduction, torture and murder of activists across the country during the 2011 uprising, including incidents of torturing protesters in Cairo’s National Egyptian Museum.

The report, submitted to Morsy by his own hand-picked committee in January, has yet to be made public, but in the chapter the Guardian claimed to have obtained, the military was implicated in a catalogue of crimes against civilians since the first deployment of soldiers to the streets in early 2011.

In Thursday’s meeting with SCAF, Morsy reportedly was pleased to grant promotions to the commanders of the Navy, Air Defense and Air Forces “in appreciation of their efforts.”

Morsy called on the military not to pay attention to such rumors in the media, stressing, “we [the presidency] will respond to them.”

“We hope that the Armed Forces will be our protective shield. We do our best so the Armed Forces can continue to protect the country,” the president said.

“I will never allow any form of offense or assault on any of personnel of the Armed Forces. Any insult to the Armed Forces is an offense to all of us,” Morsy added.

 “As president and head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces … [I assure that] people highly appreciate the great role played and still performed by the Armed Forces in preserving the nation’s security.”

Morsy said that he also discussed the security of Egypt’s borders in his meeting with SCAF, and that the Armed Forces will take part in developing the Suez Canal project.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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