The Muslim Brotherhood and Gamaa Islamiya have issued harsh criticism of statements made by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), following his meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Tantawi said that the SCAF would not allow one single group to dominate Egypt and ignore the rest of Egyptian society.
Sayed al-Nazily, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council, said that Tantawi “is making tainted statements in some Egyptian media outlets and channels in an attempt to discredit the Brotherhood to the Egyptian citizens in a systematic and cheap manner.”
In exclusive statements to Al-Masry al-Youm, Nazili said that the Egyptian people reject these claims, noting that none of the Muslim Brotherhood members have ever said that Egypt belongs to them or that it could belong to a specific faction. He added that “there is no need for these hollow comments and statements because they are for public and media consumption.” He said that although Tantawi is now “temporarily” sharing power with the president, “we know that, ultimately, power belongs to the head of the state alone; that is, President Morsi, who was elected by the Egyptian people.”
He stressed that the army will enjoy no authority other than what has been stated in the constitution, and that it is part of the state, not above it.
Ali Fath al-Bab, majority leader in the Shura Council from the Freedom and Justice party, said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Field Marshal Tantawi in his capacity as head of the military council. The SCAF has legislative authority under the supplementary Constitutional Declaration, which was issued on June 17.
“We reject US intervention in the internal affairs of Egypt. Egyptian-US relations after the revolution must be based on mutual respect,” said al-Bab in an exclusive statement to Al-Masry al-Youm.
The majority leader said that Egypt is ruled by an elected president, who derives his legitimacy from the popular will. One-man rule has ended and will never return now that the former regime has collapsed.
Naser al-Hafi, a lawyer and former MP from the Freedom and Justice Party, described Tantawi's statements as “provocative,” saying they do not reflect the will of the people.
Hafi deemed Tantawi’s statements a departure from the democratic framework that has been demanded by all political, revolutionary and national forces, and called Tantawi’s move an attempt to override the popular will expressed by voters at the ballot box, in both the legislative and presidential elections.
Hafi noted that the meeting between Tantawi and Clinton reinforced the concept of the Egyptian state being ruled by two presidents, as opposed to one holding all presidential powers.
Hafi said that the supplementary Constitutional Declaration issued by SCAF effectively granted it legislative powers, placing the Egyptian ship under the leadership of two captains. He warned that the status quo would bring Egypt back to the former era, citing the proverb "two captains will sink the ship."
He objected to the term “clash” being used to describe the relations between the president and the military council, stressing that Morsi is the head of all institutions, including the military institution. He noted that the term “clash” is used to describe a conflict between two equal forces, not between a president and his subordinates.
Jaber Al-Jahlan, a MP in the recently dissolved People's Assembly and a leader of the Gamaa Islamiya, also described Field Marshal Tantawi’s statements as provocative and said that they prove the SCAF’s “strong desire to share in power.” He said that the SCAF’s intentions are clear and obvious, and that it should have returned to the barracks instead of engaging in a power struggle with an elected president.
Jahlan told Al-Masry al-Youm that the SCAF has been making statements implying that it seeks to take control of the country. “It may have taken a green light from the US Secretary of State,” he added.
Jahlan said that Tantawi’s statements seek to put pressure on Morsi and the Brotherhood and that they will be in vain.
He said that the SCAF’s competition with the president over his powers may push the people to stage a new revolution, because the Egyptian people will not abandon their rights or allow anyone to take them away. He said that the SCAF should be well aware of this fact and treat it as reality.
Jahlan called for the resumption of the People’s Assembly’s work. According to him, the president “was right in his decision to reinstate the parliament, at least in the interim period until a date is set for holding the new elections.”