Egypt military uses propaganda to thwart defections

The Egyptian military has enlisted Muslim scholars in a propaganda campaign to persuade soldiers and policemen that they have a religious duty to obey orders to use deadly force against supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi.  generals are worried about insubordination in the ranks, after security forces have killed hundreds of their fellow Egyptians who were protesting against the military’s removal of the elected president — violence by the armed forces against civilians that is without precedent  in modern history.

More than 1,100 civilians have been killed in the crackdown since Aug. 14, and many of the conscripts are likely to have lost a cousin or relative, or heard stories of the carnage.

The recourse to religion to justify the killing is also a new measure of the depth of the military’s determination to break down the main pillar of Mr. Morsi’s support, the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Amr Khaled, a televangelist who is popular with young Muslims, specifically addressed the question of insubordination in a military video. “You don’t obey your commander while performing a great task?” he asked, adding, “You, you conscript in the Egyptian military, you are performing a task for God Almighty!”

The first fragmentary account of the clerics’ statements appeared on Wednesday in a harsh report on a Web site aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood. That suggested that at least some of the soldiers and police officers who heard the speeches sympathized with the Brotherhood enough to leak the information.

“If a person wanted to rebel with arms against the military, what would the situation be?” Dr. Gomaa said. “Kill him. I hereby say it again. Those who rebel against the Egyptian military or police deserve, according to Shariah, to be killed.”

On Sunday court began the retrial of Mr. Mubarak, released last week from prison, on charges of directing the killing of protesters. His lawyers are expected to argue that the security forces under Mr. Mubarak were restrained compared with the violence unleashed this month on the sit-in protests against the takeover.

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