I mean frankly in many ways see if you can imaginate General Sisi is really the resurrection of President Muburak in military uniform and younger. President Mubarak was a flying man, but he was a military man and frankly the Americans only trust the military to keep stability inside Egypt and therefore within the wider Middle East.”Press TV has conducted an interview with Christopher Walker, a Middle East Expert from London. The following is a rough transcription of the interview. Press TV: Let me start first with you Christopher Walker. We found the Interim President of Egypt Adli Mansour sitting in the presidential palace or the General [Abdel-Fattah] Sisi, I would be very worried about what the Muslim Brotherhood has come out saying as a result of what Sisi has announced and that is they want this rally to be held on Friday with the Muslim Brotherhood coming out with an anti-coup rally and saying that it basically is a call for a civil war. Was this a good gamble or a positive gamble for Egypt’s army general to have taken calling for this rally? Walker: I think it was an enormous gamble, we can’t either of us say until Friday to see exactly what happens, but it is very, very difficult to be optimistic with the clashes already rising in places like Mansoura and with the reactions that have been made by supporters of the Brotherhood. But, there are those who said that it had to be done; even though it is a gamble, things cannot go on as they are and maybe once the full strength of the army is seen as it were on the streets, in the air and everywhere in the country, there will be the necessary, as it were, quietening down.
But, how can one be optimistic when there is no knowledge about where the former President [Mohamed] Morsi is, where his family claims he has been kidnapped and where the army just does not seem in anyway ready to accept the vote.Those of us who were in Algeria in the 90s remember what happened there when a vote was overturned by the military and it is very difficult not to think that that may well happen again in Egypt with severe consequences for the whole region. Press TV: You say that the army perhaps needs to make its presence known and you mentioned the air, the ground and overall. But, it appears that what they are doing aside from that is they have not only stepped up their campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood, it appears that they are trying to flush out the Muslim Brotherhood completely. You know as you mentioned with Morsi being in jail, we don’t know where he is exactly and of course a number of Muslim Brotherhood officials being detained. Why would they want to flush out the Muslim Brotherhood, when they have all these supporters to begin with but, not only that they have different entities within this interim government that are calling for national reconciliation, which should involve Brotherhood members. Walker: I think they have decided that they just can’t rule alongside the Brotherhood anymore and that the cooperation that they are getting from it is not sufficient to enable them to, as it were, to rule in the way that they want. Press TV: I am going towards trying to find a political solution, the options, etcetera. I am looking at one of the other initiatives that that has been sponsored by one of the political groups in Egypt. A couple of things they said, the military’s exit from the political process is necessary, but more importantly they said, “You know what, these presidential election and parliamentary polls; they need to happen as soon as possible.” Do you think that the ingredients are there yet for that to happen? They suggested three months for the presidential elections and immediately the three months after for the parliamentary polls to take place. Or vice versa I should say, parliamentary polls in the first three months, then after that presidential elections within three months. Walker: Well theoretically you could do that, but the question is of course what is going to happen on Friday?
If you have what involves virtually a civil war that is fighting that will not only take place on the streets of Cairo, but in Alexandria, in Aswan, in Mansoura and all over the country, you will not have the circumstances to hold a general election that would have any meaning, so it is okay to say in theory you could put together an election that quickly, but that is before Friday.I think we have got to take into account what is being said today by the army and I think what we haven’t mentioned is that this is a test as well, perhaps of the allegiances within that army. There have been rumors of splits and there is a strong feeling that by putting them out in the front line on Friday that General Sisi will lay down the law to his own men and be from then on the power that has to be contended with. It could be bloody, it could be absolutely an ugly phenomenon, but on the other hand without it can we go on with these daily riots, daily incidences that are actually bringing the economy to its knees? Press TV: Still having a hard time with what the EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton is doing there in Egypt on a surprise visit that she went there amongst the turmoil that is going on there. She interestingly came out representing the EU with a five step plan for Egypt to obtain democracy. That would be for a political process like Abayomi Azikiwe stated there; a balanced constitution. But, what I found interesting is the fact that she said free and fair elections must be held within the next few months. It seems there is some type of urgency coming from her. Will what she say make a difference given the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood first official announcement of negotiation came after her visit? Walker: No, I don’t think frankly there is any strong influence there, you have got to look to Washington for the real influence and for the money that is flowing from Washington to the army. Also, I think one vital subject we haven’t discussed is the timing of this announcement. It is Wednesday today, this announcement of such as confrontation 48-hours away I believe would not have been made if Sisi had not already done intelligence research inside his own ranks from the top to the bottom and determine that they are prepared to stand up to whatever is thrown against them by way of demonstration and such like. You cannot deny the army firepower and as we saw originally with those helicopters, it may be in the air that this is largely resolved. Press TV: Well, I was almost ready for you to say without the consultation of the army general and the United States, Christopher Walker. Do you think that the US has given a green light to this? Walker: Yes. I mean frankly in many ways see if you can imaginate General Sisi is really the resurrection of [former] President Mubarak in military uniform and younger. President Mubarak was a flying man, but he was a military man and frankly the Americans only trust the military to keep stability inside Egypt and therefore within the wider Middle East. Press TV: There is a large number of initiatives, five of them I am looking at are noteworthy. One of them, do you think that would best serve the system to calm it down is to provide confidence building measures to take place between the Muslim Brotherhood and the army. Is that a viable, or the best option right now to calm things down? Walker: I hate to say it, I hate to be gloomy; too little, too late, where this is much of a replay. We have already had an election once, we got a president he was fairly elected. What are we going to do, go back to that situation, or go forward to a more brutal, tougher situation? GVN/HSN