Belfast Telegraph

Was the Egyptian election result outfoxed by military?

By Robert Fisk

There is a fox in Tahrir Square. He claims to hear everything.

And he says that 50.7% of Egyptian voters cast their ballots for Mubarak's former Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, in last month's elections; that only 49.3% voted for Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party; but that the military were so fearful of the Brotherhood supporters in Tahrir Square they gave victory to Morsi.

Now foxes can be deceitful. But this is a well-connected fox and he claims that Morsi actually met four members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) in Egypt before the election results were proclaimed.

At that meeting, he agreed to accept his presidency before the constitutional court, rather than the newly dissolved parliament - which is exactly what he did. He says there will be another election in a year's time. I doubt it.

Now behind this piece of Reynard-gossip is a further piece of information - shattering if true - that the Egyptian army's intelligence service is outraged by the behaviour of some members of the Scaf (in particular, the four who supposedly met Morsi) and wants a mini-revolution to get rid of officers it believes to be corrupt.

These young soldiers call themselves the New Liberal Officers - a different version of the Free Officers Movement which overthrew corrupt King Farouk in 1952.

Many present young intelligence officers were sympathetic to the Egyptian revolution last year - and several were shot dead by snipers after Mubarak's departure in Tahrir Square.

I have to say that all Cairo is abuzz with 'the deal', and almost every newspaper has a version of how Morsi got to be President - though I must also add that none have gone as far as the fox.

He says, for example, that the military intelligence services -like some of the Scaf officers - want a thorough clean-out of generals who control a third of the Egyptian economy in lucrative scams. Where does Morsi stand on this? Even the fox doesn't know.

One man who was not present at the Morsi-Scaf meeting, says the fox, is Mohamed el-Baradei, but he may well be asked to be Morsi's prime minister.

The Nobel prize-winner and former nuclear 'watchdog' has expressed a profound lack of interest in such a role. Baradei's appointment would help Morsi keep the streets calm.

There is also talk of great tensions between the military intelligence and the staff of the interior ministry, some of whom are fearful that another mini-revolution will have them in court for committing crimes against Egyptian civilians during the anti-Mubarak revolution.

There are rumours the plain-clothes 'baltagi' thugs were employed to prevent Christians voting in some Egyptian villages.

All of which is quite a story. Not the kind that can be confirmed.

But one fact cannot be denied: when he wanted to show that he was a revolutionary animal, the fox held out his back paw. And there was a very severe year-old bullet wound in it.


From Belfast Telegraph