Army says political tussle taking Egypt to brink

A protester stands in front of a burning riot police vehicle after it was seized on the Kasr Elnile bridge in Cairo January 28, 2013. A man was shot dead on Monday in a fifth day of violence that has killed 50 Egyptians and prompted the Islamist president to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to end a wave of unrest sweeping the biggest Arab nation. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Egypt’s army chief said political strife was pushing the state to the brink of collapse – a stark warning from the institution that ran the country until last year as Cairo’s first freely elected leader struggles to contain bloody street violence. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a U.S.-trained general appointed by President Mohamed Mursi last year to head the armed forces, added in a statement on Tuesday that one of the primary goals of deploying troops in cities on the Suez Canal was to protect the waterway that is vital for Egypt’s economy and world trade.

Sisi’s comments, published on an official army Facebook page, followed 52 deaths in the past week of disorder and highlighted the mounting sense of crisis facing Egypt and its Islamist head of state who is struggling to fix a teetering economy and needs to prepare Egypt for a parliamentary election in a few months that is meant to cement the new democracy.

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