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Al-Sisi asks journalist to lead campaign for him to maintain military leadership shows leaked sound clip

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General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi. Source: Egyptian military official Facebook page

General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi. Source: Egyptian military official Facebook page

General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi asked a top newspaper editor to lead a campaign securing his position as Minister of Defence whether or not he runs for or wins in presidential elections.

“You are supposed to lead a campaign with intellectuals for a clause in the constitution that safeguards General Al-Sisi’s position as Minister of Defence and allows him to resume his role even if he does not enter the presidency,” the country’s strongman could be heard saying in a leaked sound clip from his interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm editor in chief Yasser Rizk.

The interview was published in a three-part series in the nation’s leading privately owned newspaper but did not include that quote. Al-Masry Al-Youm, like most Egyptian news organisations following the military’s ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July, has a pro-military stance.

The leak was posted by the RASSD news website. RASSD is known for its support for the Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hailed and is largely seen as being run by the Islamist organisation.

Al-Masry Al-Youm has posted a story saying the sound clip is fabricated and that it was suing RASSD for EGP 50 million, about $7.2 million. The voice featured in the clip sounds exactly like Al-Sisi’s voice however.

RASSD had previously posted three leaked videos of Al-Sisi in September of a meeting he had with military leaders in December of last year. The videos made obvious attempts at taking what Al-Sisi was saying out of context but the sound clip released today is more clear cut and does not leave room for interpretation.

Al-Sisi enjoys overwhelming popularity in Egypt following his ouster of Morsi in July. He refused to answer Rizk’s question on whether or not he would run for the presidency but did not rule it out.

The general appointed Supreme Constitutional Court Chief Justice Adly Mansour as the country’s interim president following the ouster of Morsi but is seen as holding actual power in Egypt. He is the military Commander in Chief, Minister of Defence, and following Morsi’s ouster he was also appointed First Deputy Prime Minister.

In late July he called on Egyptians to take to the streets and offer him and the police their support in their efforts to “combat terrorism” which is shorthand for the state’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The following months security forces shot dead over 800 pro-Morsi demonstrators in the Raba’a Al-Adawiya mosque and Nahda Square sit-ins. The protestors were not peaceful but claims over how heavily they were armed were later found out to be widely exaggerated, the Minister of Interior later admitted.

Islamists responded with massive church burning campaign as well as repeated instances of shooting soldiers and policemen. Dozens have been killed in violence between civilians since as well.

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Written by Ahmed Aboulenein

October 11, 2013 at 1:06 am