Wednesday’s papers: When Morsy told Tantawi

Wednesday’s papers still attempt to unpack the events that culminated in President Mohamed Morsy's decision to oust the two top military strongmen. As usual, private daily Al-Shorouk quotes anonymous sources claiming that Morsy intended to sack Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the defense minister and head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, as soon as the new parliament is elected, but the Sinai attacks had rushed the decision.

After the bombing of a Sinai checkpoint left 16 Egyptian guards dead on the Egyptian-Israeli border, the paper reports that Morsy had asked Tantawi to fire certain SCAF members who had backed his contender former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in the presidential elections, but Tantawi turned him down. The paper goes on, quoting a foreign diplomatic source in Cairo as saying that Morsy felt betrayed by General Intelligence because he was not provided with an accurate report about the expected attack on Sinai. He also felt that he was undermined by the military and treated as an executive rather than the supreme commander of the armed forces.

Meanwhile, state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram seems to have gone back to the old days of Hosni Mubarak when the front page had to show the president’s picture and cover his activities. Thursday’s front page shows pictures of Morsy giving awards to Tantawi and SCAF second-in-command Sami Annan for their service to the nation, and lists the new military appointees: General Abdel Moneim Ibrahim Bayoumi as head of air defense, General Osama Ahmed al-Gendy naval commander and General Younes al-Masry as head of the air force. The paper goes on to quote presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali denying reports that the recent military reshuffle was coordinated with the US government.

On the same subject, the privately-owned Al-Tahrir quotes a US State Department spokesperson as noting that the Americans were aware of the intention to form a new military team but they did not know when the change would take place. The paper also reviews an article that appeared in an Israeli paper saying that the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was given a heads up about the removal of Tantawi and Anan during her recent visit to Egypt.

On another front, the paper devotes a full page to a report about protests scheduled for 24 August against Morsy’s rule. Former MP Mohamed Abou Hamed vows to pursue his call against the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule and hold Morsy accountable for any attacks on protesters. The paper says that Mostafa Bakry, a former MP and a staunch supporter of the generals, has changed his attitude in light of Morsy’s latest coup and denied that he had called for any protest. The paper also says that Morsy had warned the police against any laxity in guarding the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party during the anticipated protests.

Private daily Youm7 reports that FJP leaders have warned Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin that his job is at stake if he “fails to deal” with the protests. The report does not explain what is meant by this expression. The paper also says that the Brothers seek to thwart the protests by holding parallel marches and by filing more complaints against those calling for the anti-Brotherhood rally.

Under the headline, “The chase begins,” privately owned daily Al-Watan reports that some revolutionary groups and the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing intend to file complaints against Anan and Tantawi, accusing them of being responsible for the killing of almost 1,000 Egyptians in violence while the military was in charge. The paper quotes Ahmed Douma, an activist and founder of the group “Against the military and against the Brothers,” as saying that he will file a complaint against both generals Wednesday, accusing them of attempting to kill him during anti-SCAF demonstrations. At the same time, FJP lawyers demanded that Tantawi and Anan be interrogated about their alleged involvement in calls to protest Morsy’s rule on 24 August, according to Al-Watan.

Wednesday's issue of the Muslim Brotherhood’s mouthpiece, Freedom and Justice, bears an incendiary article by Islamist journalist Mohamed Abdel Qoddous. The shocking high point of the piece is his argument that it is the “the enemies of our Islam” who fear Muslim Brotherhood rule. In only a few words, Abdel Qoddous lays the ground for an authoritarian religious rule where opposing the government means bearing hostility to religion. His column titled “The objective of our revolution is a civil Islamic state,” reads: “After the ouster of the generals, our revolution has a golden opportunity to declare its main objective without any ambiguity.”

Egypt’s papers

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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