Egypt’s Military Defends Public Image Abroad After Fighting Protests at Home

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In the Internet age, the war fought online is often as furious — if not as deadly — as the war fought on the ground. As Egypt‘s political crisis deepens, the social-media battle is one the Egyptian military, which ousted the democratically elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, has thus far been losing.

The generals this week took a page from the Israeli media blitz that surrounded their last Gaza offensive in November and launched some propaganda of their own. The military distributed a 36-minute video to government officials and journalists in Washington — see an edited version above — that explains their case for the removal of Morsi from power and the subsequent rooting out of his supporters from protest camps, which has claimed the lives of at least 850 people in the past week according to Reuters.

The video, which is recorded in English, clearly with an international audience in mind, claims that the pro-Morsi protesters camping out in Cairo were militants in training. It uses footage showing rioters destroying property, shooting indiscriminately at buildings, throwing a man off a roof and building barricades around their camps. “How would you like it if thousands of people camped out in your city? Where would they go to the bathroom? How do you prevent disease?” a senior Egyptian official in Washington tells me. “Now imagine they’re armed and eager to die for their cause. In New York they hardly tolerated the Occupy movement, in England [British Prime Minister David] Cameron said don’t lecture him on human rights [in relation to the 2011 summer riots].”

(MORE: Egypt’s Turmoil: How the World Is Reacting to the Bloodshed)

The video also shows in graphic detail the corpses of security personnel purportedly killed by Muslim Brotherhood supporters and shows footage of attacks on police and local authorities. “This is even before today when they killed 25 police,” another senior official notes, referring to the murder of two busloads of Egyptian police by insurgents in the Sinai on Monday. “Those responsible for the violence will not be part of the team, or the political situation,” the official continues, noting that no political prisoners are being held, only those who are being charged with felonies. Dozens of Islamist officials are reportedly being held. “This doesn’t mean the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t invited, but only those who haven’t committed crimes.”

The senior military officials who spoke with TIME — both declined to be identified as they said they wanted the focus to remain on the civilian interim government — said the removal of the protesters was necessary, and the longer Egypt had waited the worse it would have become. “They were building concrete walls, giving military training to their people, as you see in the video,” one of the officials says.

But the video may be too little too late. There were reports on Tuesday that Obama Administration is looking at suspending military aid to Egypt — Some $500 million of this year’s aid remains to be distributed. (Note: the money never actually goes to Egypt, it sits in a bank in the U.S. and the Egyptians use it to shop for weaponry from U.S. manufacturers.)

On Aug. 16, the National Press Club condemned the crackdown — which has already led to the deaths of four journalists — decrying “the Egyptian government-ordered violence” that’s led to hundreds of deaths and “the shooting, beating and detainment of many others.” But this video paints a different picture, showing the military’s concern for Egyptians and Egypt’s reputation abroad. “There has been a lot of misinterpretation in the U.S. and in Europe,” one official says. “We are looking forward now and starting reforms. Stability is what Egypt needs.”

Update: Here’s a link to the full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZgEP1NB3pLk.

PHOTOS: Clashes Erupt in Egypt as Protesters March Against Earlier Bloodshed

106 comments
ConcernedEgyptian
ConcernedEgyptian

To all the esteemed readers here: please note the amount of posts by people who display a hand with four fingers against  yellow backgroud.  These are profiles of MB suporters who deny all wrongdoing by their terrorist organization.  Ordinary Egyptians have gone out in the streets on 30 June to depose/ impeach an incompetent and fascist president who may have been elected via the ballot box, but because of his abysmal management of the country, people voted with their feet to get rid of him.  His supporters promised to burn Egypt down (originally before he was elected if he did NOT get elected) and then proceeded to do just that when he was removed from office.  How would you deal with a group hell-bent on destroying civilizion and holding an armed sit-in with RPG's stationed on top of roof tops?!  They happen to have a lot of money to throw around in defending themselves by buying PR companies in the US and in the UK to paint them as victims, a role they love to play.    Hwever, I am sure the discering and intelligent reader will not fall for their comments here. 

sunnydawn7777
sunnydawn7777

the MB are a tiny minority in Egyptian society, representing less than 5% today as they have lost almost all their support! they are NOT persecuted, in fact we gave them a huge chance and even one of them reached president (Morsi) and in one year was more fascist and ruthless and did more damage and more crime in the country than Mubarak did in 30 years!!! on 30/6 Egyptians, the other 95%, were depressed and exhausted and even more impoverished than when Morsi started, so they went to the streets and removed Morsi... since then the 5% MB have waged a bloodthirsty, brutal war on the rest of our society, killing indiscriminately civilians on the streets, women, children, killing, torturing and burning, and mostly christians and their churches!  The US Gov funded them in the first place knowing they were mercenaries and would be easily controlled if paid off with huge amounts of your tax money, didn't want to lose it's investment to date, so kept throwing good money after bad and continues to support them by hiding the truth from the American people of the huge bungling mistake they made!!! don't believe anything the MBs post,  yes some of them were killed by our people or army in SELF DEFENSE, or in Rab3a when their bloodthirsty presence there was a torture to residents whom they bullied by their numbers on a daily basis!!! but a lot of the videos, and pics they post are fake and orchestrated ... they were even caught stealing bodies from a public hospital to mutilate them, douse them with fake blood, then add to their fake body count ... just as they do in Syria!!! KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT EGYPT, AMERICANS! DON'T LET UR GOVERNMENT LIE TO YOU!! EGYPTIANS ARE PEACEFUL PEOPLE BUT THE MB ARE NOT!!!  OUR ARMY SAVED US FROM A LIVING HELL OF MB RULE ... WE ARE GRATEFUL TO OUR FORCES FOR SAVING US!!!  it was NOT A COUP! ALL of us went to the streets asking and begging the army to help us rid ourselves of the MB plague .. and the army, gratefully, responded.  I am an egyptian citizen, i write the truth from the heart, but u will notice their posts below are organized and documented with well developed tools, because their posts come from an international ring of criminals.. FAR outweighing the Mafia, but operating under the guise of religion, so grows faster and attracts more self-righteous fanatic idealists than the mafia ever could!  they exist in HUGE numbers in the states and use their dirty money to control half ur media ... please wake up Americans before you also become Ameristan!

osalemm
osalemm

We believe in the Justice of our cause, we may be frustrated but the strength of our cause keeps motivating us #OmarSalem

osalemm
osalemm

 Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail 

I would agree with Saint Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all.'" #Morsi

osalemm
osalemm

Martin Luther King  Labeled a “ Terrorist" "While King was in jail, he said " I am here because injustice is here #Morsi#MartinLutherKing

osalemm
osalemm

They labels anybody against the military coup terrorist , junta intelligence who is burns the churches and that video created by Egyptian director his name is  Khaled Youssef  he is agent of Junta , They are trying to find a justification for killing  more than 5000 peaceful  protesters in Rabaa and across Egypt

Lolly
Lolly

One year of MB rule was disastrous - the 7000 year old Egypt would have been wiped off the map. Not to mention their tolerance : either we rule or we burn the country. Why not ? They are originally palestians guests in Egypt - treated with respect and equal rights even granted citizenship. Instead of gratitude Egypt gets violence and hatred in return

Lolly
Lolly

If the USA and Europe are deliberately blind, I guess the reason is a big reward - big money paid to obtain new division of Africa and middle East besides ecomic occupation of the area. Distort media all you can but believe me. Egyptians, Syrians would. Ever be able to lives with those phsycopaths, I mean the blood thirsty beasts - Moslem brothers. So 85 million Egyptians prefer to die of hunger than die after being tormented at the hands of the MB. Egypt, its army, its police, its people have had enough. We don't want reconciliation with them - we don't want them participating I. Politica

Lovely Rosy
Lovely Rosy

I am an Egyptian and what happened in Egypt is not a coup. It is the correcting wave of the revolution that was kidnapped by the fascist group of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian people are now fighting against terrorism and we will win our battle.

JNSmall
JNSmall

@Meha Hi Neha. Alas, I don't speak Arabic and I'm not comfortable being interviewed outside of my native tongue. Thanks, tho. Jay

justice2013
justice2013

the coup regime falsify videos and images. they filmed Baltagia ( thugs) and they present them as anti-coup protestor. the regime organized attacks on the churchs and other public institutions, and they accuse the protesters to be behind these attacks. the regime medias and officials are expert in this kind of media war. this coup regime is immoral, criminal, and corrupted. all officials of this regime are corrupted: their only interest is money and stealing. 

masedik
masedik

@TIME The coup trying to get the International Support through local "Disabled" media, overlooking the international community not blind.

gamalupstream
gamalupstream

@TIME This is a military coup.,Mubarak will be back ,Stole our revolution and kill us and accuse us of terrorism when we defend ourselves

Hanaa Sidky
Hanaa Sidky

The Egyptian People's Revolution in 30-6 against terrorism and against the terrorist group and In Prime demolition of the first of all the state institutions of the judiciary and the security and military establishment and the country's borders grubby ... draw your attention It is a revolution of the people respected the Egyptian army*** قامت ثوره الشعب المصري في 30-6 ضد الارهاب وضد جماعه ارهابيه ورئيس هدم كل مؤسسات الدوله اولها القضاء والمؤسسه الامنيه والعسكريه وضيع حدود البلاد...نلفت نظركم انها ثوره شعب احترمها الجيش

Eglal El Gamal
Eglal El Gamal

I am Egyptian and i regect this terrosist MB. group and what is happening in Egypt is not a coup it is a populer revolution againt fascist and funatic Muslim International organization

Eglal El Gamal
Eglal El Gamal

Muslim Brotherhood the TRUTH · Suggested Post Complication Video Showing Muslim Brotherhood terrorism [ENGLISH SUBTITLES] Egypt Facing Terrorism www.youtube.com The real facts about Muslim Brotherhood terrorism

sunnydawn7777
sunnydawn7777

@osalemm @Sultana_Farida  El Sisi or CC is a just and good man!!! shame on you for trying to defame him!!! he saved Egypt from liars like you!!!   everything you, the MB, post is fake just like your leaders!!!

ZabaDa
ZabaDa

The winner denied the crown.This is weird democracy.That why people became terrorist.Egypt is having weird democracy.