Egypt’s Tantawi Pledges no first Strike Abroad, Fair Elections at Home

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi addressed Egyptian troops on Wednesday and attempted to raise their morale for praising them as the guarantors of Egypt’s security.

Al-Masrawi reports:

“Field Marshal Tantawi said, “We are heading in the right direction.” He deplored the allegations that sometimes issue from activist organizations “that we are in enmity with this state or that or that we will abrogate a treaty with such-and-such country”… He added, “We do not enter into war save if we are forced to and because we feel there in danger. For that reason, we must always keep our eyes wide…”

Some Egyptians are afraid that the army will attempt to tamper with the elections so as to bring Ahmad Shafiq to power. (He is a man of the old regime and only barely survived politically). He appears to have been attempting to allay those suspicions.

Incredibly, Tantawi’s speech was misinterpreted in Israel as a threat of some sort. The speech was just trying to reassert control over the troops, and to encourage them to pride in country. He implicitly criticized Egypt’s Left and far right, insisting on the foreign policy status quo, and reaffirming that Egypt’s hefty army would never be deployed aggressively.

One response

  1. Oh, I don’t know that it was “misinterpreted in Israel.” Maybe it was misinterpreted by the tabloid reporter who authored the story in question. But more importantly, Israelis have seen this movie before and it’s not the first time that the military leader of a big neighboring army has engaged in aggressive chest-beating.

    Truth be told, Tantawi doesn’t help calm tensions by this sort of strutting and screeching.

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