Egyptian president fires head military officials and reserves more political power for himself
On Sunday, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi replaced his defense minister, and the heads of his air force, army, and navy. Morsi also appointed a new vice president.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that while former Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi has been removed from his official role, he will be kept on as an adviser. Other officials Morsi removed will be placed in lesser government positions.
President Morsi also repealed constitutional declarations issued by Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). According to Ahram Online, this essentially ends the military’s political role in post-revolutionary Egypt.
Morsi’s new constitutional declaration restores the president’s full executive powers, which had previously been tempered by the SCAF, and allows him legislative powers until new parliamentary elections can be held. Morsi also controls the drafting of Egypt’s new constitution.
This move comes after the August 5 murder of 16 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula near the Israeli border. The attack was allegedly carried out by jihadis. In reaction to the attack, President Morsi fired his head of military police, the head of the central security forces, and the head of the presidential guard.
Qadri Saeed, ex-general and strategic expert, speculates that Morsi is taking advantage of the August 5 attacks to justify replacing old military elite.