'Egyptian military accused of using divide and conquer strategy in run up to reform'

Cairo, Feb 17(ANI): The Egyptian military, which took direct control of the country for what it insists will be a maximum of six months before restoring civilian rule, has been accused of seeking to exploit the divisions in the country.

It comes after Egyptian military chief Mohamed Hussein Tantawi appointed a council to reform the Constitution with limited input from the broad coalition that led the first stage of the revolution.

Osama Ghazali Harb, a spokesman for the Ghad Party, claimed that there have been indications that Tantawi and other military officials are favoring some groups over others in an attempt to break apart a broad front that viewed Hosni Mubarak's removal as a first step, not an end point.

"One thing I don't really like is that the Supreme Military Council has not tried to speak to the parties or to movements that drove this phenomenon," the Christian Science Monitor quoted Osama Ghazali Harb, a spokesman for the el-Ghad Party, as saying.

"They've singled out a few young people to talk to, they're from the people's movement, but there are a lot of others that need to be included," he added.

He also stressed that the military should not try to revive the old tactic of divide and conquer.

The military has also named Tariq al-Bishri - a judge respected for his independence, yet who is also close to the Muslim Brotherhood - to head the constitutional reform committee.

Political analyst Issandr El Amrani said that other members of the committee also appear to be legal figures very close to the Mubarak regime and his ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).

"The appointment of Sobhi Saleh, a former Brotherhood MP in Alexandria, to the same committee has sent an even more worrying message: that the Army is drafting the [Muslim Brotherhood] to help calm down the national euphoria by giving the group a privileged position in amending the Constitution," El Amrani said.

He argues that the move "will revive longstanding perceptions of a symbiotic relationship between the regime and the Brotherhood at the expense of public interest". (ANI)

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