CAIRO – Egypt's former army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has vowed to wipe out the deeply rooted Muslim Brotherhood from the country if he was elected president later this month.
“There will be nothing called the Muslim Brotherhood during my tenure,” Sisi said on Egypt's privately-owned CBC and ONTV television channels, The Guardian reported on Tuesday, May 6.
“I want to tell you that it is not me that finished [Brotherhood]. You, the Egyptians, are the ones who finished it,” he added.
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Sisi first appeared as a key player in the Egyptian political arena after toppling the first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July after mass protests on June 30.
In the midst of the aftermath political turbulence, Sisi denied accusations that he was leading a military coup after facing huge protests demanding the reinstating of Morsi.
The comments gave a clear sign that there was no prospect for political reconciliation with the Islamist group that propelled Mohamed Morsi to the presidency in 2012.
“It will not work for there to be such thinking again.”
Promoted twice in a year to reach the rank of field marshal, Sisi is almost universally expected to win the election, in what many analysts see as formalizing the de facto power he currently holds since July ‘coup’, seen as the government’s pre-eminent decision maker.
Ever since, the pivotal Middle East country has taken a sharply authoritarian turn, with activists, protesters, and Muslim Brotherhood members jailed in what rights activists, observers, and many in the international community call an attempt to silence dissent.
The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, has vowed to continue in peaceful protests until the Islamist president is reinstated.
There has since been a severe crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group, as well as on other activists seen as hostile to the military-backed interim government.
Last December, the Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organization after which the authorities started punishing any public show of support for it.
Sisi, a head of military intelligence under Mubarak, confirmed rumors that there had been attempts on his life, highlighting the security challenges facing Egypt, a strategic US ally in the heart of the Arab world.
Sisi said there were "two attempts to assassinate me. I believe in fate, I am not afraid."
Sisi also expressed his support for a law criticized by rights groups for imposing tight restrictions on the right to demonstrate, appearing to acknowledge human rights abuses reported by human rights groups.
"I say that anything needed for security and stability we will do,” he said.
"We must understand that there cannot be a security situation with this depth and confusion that we are seeing, without some violations," he said.
"There is law and procedures taken so that this does not happen again."
Sisi has also denied accusations that his ascent to power was part of a long-term plan.
"I took the side of millions not because I was interested in power," he said, claiming that he had only taken the decision to run for president in late February after a public show of support from Egypt's supreme council for the armed forces.
Sisi is expected to easily win the May 26-27 presidential election. The only other candidate is leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third in the 2012 election won by Morsi.
According to a recent survey by the Egyptian polling centre Baseera, 72% of those who intend to vote in the elections say they will back Sisi, with 2% supporting Sabahi.
Many Egyptians have elevated Sisi to celebrity status, with chocolate shops selling sweets bearing his likeness.
Vendors also sell everything from hats to pins to t-shirts plastered with his picture.
Graffiti calling him a “traitor” and a “killer” is also everywhere in Cairo as many other Egyptians despise him for his leading role in the crackdown on Morsi supporters after the coup, when security forces killed hundreds of protesters.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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