The Brotherhood’s biggest mistake, however, may have been to encroach on the military’s historic monopoly over national security decisions. The National Defense Council, composed overwhelmingly of military figures under the SCAF, became majority-civilian under Morsi (and tellingly reverted back to majority-military in the 2014 Constitution). In December 2012, the Brotherhood raised more red flags
by allegedly backing a Qatari-Palestinian scheme to buy land in the Sinai. The military balked, claiming that “Sinai is a red line” and Sisi took the unprecedented step of issuing a decree (typically the president’s prerogative) limiting the sale of this land.Wael Haddara, an advisor to Morsi, told me about another incident in December 2012 when he and two other Morsi administration officials were sent to Washington to meet with the Department of Defense. Intentionally or not, the Egyptian embassy in D.C. failed to inform the defense attache of their meeting, contributing to fears that Morsi was sidelining the military.