- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
Egypt military signals support for president
Question of the Day
CAIRO — Egypt's military signaled its acquiescence Monday to the president’s surprise decision to retire the defense minister and chief of staff and seize back powers that the nation’s top generals grabbed from his office.
President Mohammed Morsi’s shake-up of the military on Sunday took the nation by surprise. It transformed his image overnight from a weak leader to a savvy politician who carefully timed his move against the military brass who stripped him of significant powers days before he took office on June 30.
A posting on a Facebook page known to be close to the country’s former military rulers said the changes amounted to the “natural” handing over of leadership to a younger generation.
“A greeting from the heart filled with love, appreciation and respect to our leaders who passed on the banner. They will be in our eyes and hearts,” said the posting. “The armed forces is a prestigious institution with a doctrine of full discipline and commitment to legitimacy.”
Egypt’s official news agency quoted an unnamed military official late Sunday as saying there has been no “negative reaction” from within the military. And a day after the orders, no unusual military movements were detected anywhere across the nation.
If Morsi’s decisions go unchallenged, it should end the power struggle that pitted him against the powerful military. That could mean the ushering out of six decades of de facto military rule since army officers seized power in a coup in 1952. But removing the defense minister and chief of staff does not necessarily mean that the military, Egypt’s most powerful institution, has been defeated or that it would give up decades of perks and prestige without a fight.
Morsi has been locked in a power struggle with the military since he took office on June 30. But after militants killed 16 Egyptian soldiers a week ago at a border post with Israel in Sinai, he has sought more aggressively to assert his authority over the top generals.
He fired the nation’s intelligence chief a few days after the Sinai attack and made two highly publicized visits to Sinai in the company of top commanders. He also chaired several meetings with the military brass and made a point of calling himself the supreme commander of the armed forces in televised speeches.
On Sunday, he ordered the retirement of Defense Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Gen. Sami Annan. But he appointed them as presidential advisers and awarded them some of the nation’s highest honors — something that suggested they agreed, perhaps grudgingly, in advance.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist Islamist group, won both parliamentary and presidential elections in the first free and fair votes in Egypt’s modern history. The group had been repressed under Mubarak, who ran a secular state.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which ruled Egypt for 17 months after Mubarak was forced out, stripped the presidency of many of its key powers before it handed the office to Morsi. Tantawi was the head (SCAF) and Annan was No. 2. Tantawi was also Mubarak’s defense minister for two decades before the regime was ousted.
Days before Morsi’s inauguration, the SCAF decreed constitutional amendments that gave them the power to legislate after they dissolved parliament, as well as control over the national budget. It also gave them control over the process of drafting a new constitution. The generals had put themselves in charge of all defense and foreign policy, including the appointment of the defense minister.
With his latest move, Morsi reclaimed the powers taken from him, seizing back sole control of the constitution drafting process and the right to legislate.
The two men appointed to replace the top military commanders were also members of the SCAF — something that could indicate either the military’s agreement to the shuffle or splits at the highest level of the armed forces. Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi replaced Tantawi and Lt. Gen. Sidki Sayed Ahmed replaced Annan.
Morsi may have tapped into divisions and the generation gap within the top echelons of the military. Tantawi is 76 and he was in that job for more than 20 years. His replacement, former military intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, is 58.
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- Hamas terrorists wear Israeli army uniforms to ambush soldiers in Gaza
- LYONS: Small-arms treaty, big Second Amendment threat
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- Rick Perry: County jails in Texas have taken in 203,000 "criminal aliens"
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq