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Army for the state...not a state for the army

January 27, 2014 at 11:13 am

Those following the military coup’s media campaign will notice its use of the phrase “incitement against the army” to describe anyone criticising the leader of the military coup and Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, or rightfully calling what he did a military coup, and holding him legally and politically responsible for the killing, wounding, and detainment of tens of thousands of individuals, fragmenting social relations, and destroying the national economy.

Due to the fact that the coup media and political hypocrites want to limit the Egyptian military institution to Al-Sisi, who suspended the constitution, law, democratic process, and the Egyptian people’s free will, I find it necessary to explain our position towards the military institution in a manner that leaves no room for doubt.

One of the most important goals of the 25th January revolution is to establish a new democratic civilian Egyptian state with a constitution and a rule of law, in which the people are the source of sovereignty and power.

Another requirement of the new democratic Egypt is for civilian-military relations to be restricted, like any other civil and developed countries ruled by the constitution, law, and popular will and not by weapons and the military leader’s domination of the state’s institutions over the will of the people who own and fund these institutions.

In this context, we must stress the following ten points:

First: The military institution is a national institution and we and all the Egyptian people respect and revere the important role it plays, entrusted to them by the constitution: to defend the country and protect its territory.

Second: The military’s preoccupation with politics, directly or indirectly, is a dangerous and scary matter for this prestigious institution and is a direct threat to the national security of the country because it consumes its energy for something other than its main task, and pulls it into political conflicts. The army must not be involved in politics and there must be no politics in the army.

Third: The duty of the military is to use and direct all weapons and bullets towards the enemy and protect the country, including the men, women, youth, and children of the nation.

Fourth: The Minister of Defence and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces is a public servant of the state, and his boss, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, is the civilian president elected by the people in free and fair elections to manage the affairs of the country.

In this context, it is neither the right nor the duty of the Defence Minister to appoint himself as ruler over the country’s constitution that was approved by the people or to remove officials who were elected through free and fair democratic elections. The decision whether or not to change the government should be based on its political performance at the polls.

Fifth: The military institution must be subject to supervision by the people’s elected representatives, as determined by the constitution, in a manner that preserves the institution’s prestige, professionalism and efficiency. This is because the people fund all state institutions, including the military, and therefore must supervise it – through their elected representatives – all state institutions, including the military establishment.

Sixth: The state’s constitution must dictate the relations among state institutions in order for the military not to become a state within a state or above the state.

Seventh: The military institution is a professional disciplined institution that should not turn into a profitable or economic institution.

Eighth: The civilian posts in the state administration, such as mayors and the administrative and supervision agencies, are not exclusive to, owned by, or an end of service or benefit for military retirees to ensure the military’s control over the state’s administrative agencies. These posts must be reserved for those qualified civilians unless there is a specific and urgent need for this.

Ninth: The era of military coups against elected civilians is over in the modern history of developed countries. The army’s descent to the streets to beat demonstrators is a very serious and dangerous matter and is driving Egypt into an abyss, which has also been said by the coup leader himself.

Tenth: The Minister of Defence – a state employee who receives his salary from the Egyptian taxpayers – must not take advantage of the power of his institution’s arms, which are funded by the people, to suppress the people and overthrow their will.

He must also not take advantage of the professionalism of his officers and their commitment to obeying their leader by ordering the killing of Egyptians.

Al-Sisi deviated from his duties and violated the Egyptian people politically by suspending the constitution and the democratically elected civil institutions. He also violated them criminally by committing massacres, genocide and crimes against humanity, which have claimed the lives of thousands of Egyptians. He also exercised apartheid through the power he gained by his coup and divided the people based on their political opinions and ideological identities.

The essence of the current conflict is the struggle against the military state in Egypt, which was founded in 1952, and the accompanying corruption that did not spare any of the state’s institutions. This military state is fighting a war for its survival on the one hand, and a war against the people’s free will, launched in 25 January 2011, which aims to establish a modern democratic civilian state.

We want an army for our state… not an army state.

The author is an Egyptian politician. This is a translation of the Arabic text published by Al Jazeera net on 12 November, 2013

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.