The Egyptian Military Asserts Its Power

UPDATE 7 pm Saturday: No Palestinian terrorist events reported in Israel during the day–so far.


SCAF with Field Marshal Tantawi and his deputy Sami Enan out front.

There was an unusual funeral in Cairo yesterday–a funeral normally reserved for a head of state.  Wreathed, horse drawn carriages carried the coffin of the deceased, Samir Anwar Ismail. Behind the coffin, beside Ismail’s family, marched most of the members of SCAF–the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces–including Egyptian leader Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and his deputy Sami Enan.

Tantawi standing beside Ismail's parents at yesterday's funeral.

Just who exactly was Samir Ismail? The answer is that he was simply a member of the Egyptian Army’s special forces who was killed near Tahrir Square on Friday in clashes with protesters. And why the elaborate funeral? Apparently because–in the words of a SCAF spokesman– SCAF wanted to make the very public statement that “Ismail’s death at the hands of the protesters represents a clear attack on the army.”

It appears that Friday’s protests marked a dramatic change in the content of Egyptian political unrest insomuch as members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Movement were at the head of those protesting. Aside from Ismail’s death, two other persons were apparently shot and killed by the Army, another 300 protesters were injured, and another 320 protesters were arrested.

All of these protests are in run up to the presidential elections of May 23 and 24th–with a run off scheduled for June 16 and 17th if there is no candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote. And, in case you have not been following the confusing news out of Egypt, the presidential race has been thrown into turmoil in the last two weeks.

The Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) has announced the disqualification of 10 candidates including Salafist politician Hazem Abu Ismail (disqualified because his mother apparently has dual American-Egyptian nationality), Muslim Brotherhood deputy leader Khairat El-Shater, and Omar Suleiman–Hosni Mubarak’s intelligence chief.

Who does this leave still in the running?

Amr Mussa (former head of the Arab League)

Ahmed Shafiq (Mubarak’s last premier)

Mohammed Mursi (the head of the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood)

Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh (an ardent Islamist and former member of the Brotherhood)

Lest we forget, Egypt is currently being run by SCAF through its appointed government of Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri. What will happen after a new President is elected is anyone’s guess.

However, two things are certain as evidenced by the demonstrations this week and yesterday’s funeral: the Egyptian Army will not countenance any attempt to undermine it or to diminish its importance on the Egyptian political scene, and there is no love lost between the Army and the Muslim political parties.

As noted in recent blogs, a list of vocabulary for Israel supporters to begin using is appended to this blog (and every blog for the next month).

1. Use ‘Judea and Samaria’ instead ofthe West Bank.

2. Use ‘Jewish community’ instead of settlement.

3.  Use ‘construction of Jewish homes, schools, and hospitals’ instead of settlement activity.

4. Use ‘new Jewish communities’ instead of outposts‘.

5. Use ‘Jewish community member’ instead of settler.

6. Use ‘conservative politicians’ instead of right-wing politicians‘.

7. Use ‘PLO’ or  ‘Palestine Liberation Organization’ instead of Palestinian Authority.

8. Use ‘Palestinian Islamic Terrorist Organization–HAMAS’ instead of merely Hamas.

9. Use ‘Israeli men, women, and children’ instead of  Israeli citizens‘.

10. Use ‘Palestinian cities’ instead of  Palestinian refugee camps.

11. Use Palestinian ‘settlements’ instead of  Palestinian ‘villages’ or ‘hamlets’.

12. Use Palestinian ‘settlers’ instead of Palestinian ‘farmers’ and ‘villagers’.

13. Use international ‘lawbreakers’ instead of international ‘activists’.

14. Use ‘the suicide bomber prevention fence instead of the ‘separation fence’ or ‘wall’.

15. Use ‘eastern Jerusalem’ or the ‘eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem’ instead of East Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem must never be divided again.

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