Egyptian President Mursi orders Tantawi to stand down

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Gen. Hussein Tantawi, left, and President Mohammed Mursi Photo: Sherif Abd El Minoem, AP

Breaking news: Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi has ordered the retirement of Egypt’s entire military leadership, the SCAF (the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces),  including Defense Minister Mohamad Hussein Tantawi and commanders of the navy, air defense and air force.

India TV:

Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi today sacked the powerful Army chief and his No 2 and annulled a constitutional amendment issued by the generals, in a drastic move by the new-to-power Islamists to shuffle the top brass of the entrenched military.

Mursi packed off Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi as well as the second-in-command General Sami Anan into “retirement” and appointed both of them as ‘advisers’ to the president. Both of them were also given Egypt’s highest state honour—the Nile Medal.

The shock announcement over state television came amid an ongoing military operation in Sinai, where 16 soldiers were killed in an attack by militants last week.

Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Morsi has been in a power struggle with the military since he came to power on June 30. Shortly before he was announced the winner of elections, the ruling military council that took power after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster stripped the presidency of many of its key powers.

Mr. Morsi also appointed a senior judge, Mahmoud Mekki, as vice president. All decisions are effective immediately.

Outgoing Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi headed the ruling military council for 17 months after Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011. Before that, he was defense minister for nearly two decades under Mr. Mubarak. The military council’s No. 2, Chief of Staff Sami Annan, was also ordered to retire. But both men were appointed advisers to Mr. Morsi, according to state television.

Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said told a news conference aired on state TV that Mr. Morsi named a career army officer, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, to replace Tantawi and Lt. Gen. Sidki Sayed Ahmed to replace Annan.

Mr. Morsi also ordered the retirement of the commanders of the navy, air defense and air force. The retired navy commander, Lt. Gen. Mohan Mameesh, was named as chairman of the Suez Canal, the strategic waterway linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean and a major source of revenues for the country.


Field Marshal Tantawi – ….- has not yet indicated whether he accepts the moves.

The BBC’s Yolande Knell in Cairo says the president’s intervention is clearly an attempt to take decisive action in his tug of war for control with the armed forces.

Under the interim constitutional declaration issued before Mr Mursi was sworn in, the president cannot rule on matters related to the military – including appointing its leaders.

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Who knows what the intentions are plans are…but what we know for sure is that the pre-existing apparatus of key decision makers that have ruled the country for decades NEEDS to go (ie: something like Napoleonic exile to an island where they can live the rest of their lives away) for Egypt’s uprising to be set on a successful path, otherwise, it will be tainted at its core. Removing that high level military structure seems… Read more »

I think Mursi is doing what Erdogan did in Turkey. He knows that with the stranglehold of the military leadership he is impotent. What remains to be seen is how far they will let him go with this. Another shrewd move on his part (which Obama failed to do in his first 100 days) is to take decisive action immediately following the elections. The longer a newly elected leader waits to enact sweeping moves, the… Read more »

Suddenly lost all your “sharp” analytical skills, Annie? Once again the cruel life in Middle East breaks your theories and insinuations. For example in your previous post, when asking the question who benefits from killings of Egyptian soldiers the obvious answer for you was- Israel of course! Now I see your theory and raise mine- Muslim Brotherhood has planned and coordinated this event in order to kick the chair under the army and cease complete… Read more »

Juan Cole’s thoughts on this below. Cole always said the Egyptian Revolution wasn’t dead or failed. That there were more changes to come. But even he is surprised Musrsi moved so quickly. In Switch, Egypt’s Civilian President Makes Coup against Generals Posted on 08/12/2012 by Juan This is BIG. P.S People might want to read up on the domestic economic privilages the Egyptian military enjoyed. With not enough military errands to occupy a force… Read more »