Egypt army dismissals signifies a bold move by Morsi

Egyptians take to the streets to celebrate President Mohamed Morsi’s decision to order the retirement of the head of the Army and Defense Minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.

Thousands of Morsi’s supporters gathered in the iconic Tahrir Square and outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Sunday night to voice support for the president’s decree, obliging top military officials’ dismissal from their positions.

The Egyptians’ backing for the reshuffle was rooted in their assertion that the suspension of the military’s addendum to the constitution and the dismissal of the members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took over after the fall of the former dictator Hosni Mubarak, will pave the way for clearing the country from the remnants of the previous regime.

On Sunday, in a move that stunned many, the Egyptian president dismissed country’s top military officials and cancelled a military order, which had restricted presidential powers.

Tantawi was replaced as defense minister with Major General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Egyptian chief executive also ordered the retirement of the military’s chief of staff, Sami Anan, replacing him with Sedqi Sobhi Sayyid Ahmed.

Among the people’s other demands was the release of the more than 11,000 political prisoners, who were unlawfully detained and referred to military tribunals of the former military council.

The Egyptian head of state also appointed Mahmoud Makki, a former judge, as vice president.

Last week, Morsi sacked the country’s intelligence chief, the Republican Guard commander, and the head of the military police days after gunmen killed 16 Egyptian border guards at a checkpoint near Egypt’s border with the Occupied Territories.

The Egyptian president also fired Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, the governor of North Sinai, where the deadly attack took place.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Mohamed Ghanem, Muslim Brotherhood Leader, from London, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Tell me your perspective about this shakeup. Why do you think that it is taking place at this time, and the significance of it.

Ghanem: [In the Name of God – Most Beneficent, Most Merciful] First, these changes were necessary and it was long waited for. One thing was to match what was happening in the presidency and the public process having an elected president.

It has to have another equal change to match this changing within the structure between the authority of the president and the army.

We know the army did a good job. There’s no denial that that job; part of it has finished and needs to be reformed. In order to reform that, you have to change the leadership of the army in particular.

It is significant in a way and is very bold as well for Dr. Morsi to take that step because no one actually was imagining to…the authority of the army or the high council of the army.

For the [authority] to cancel the declaration, that was advised. The declaration actually was illegal.

Press TV: Mr. Ghanem, with the cancellation of the declaration, I understand now from our reporter on the ground there who was saying that now the president is actually going to appoint the assembly and that they have a certain period of time now to deal with the constitution.

Tell me the significance of all of this. Do you think that it will cause a total shift in the way that the constitution will be formed? Tell me about it from that perspective.

Ghanem: I would add to its significance; it’s very bold for Dr. Morsi to step in an area where everybody is untouchable. He touched it very carefully with his authority and he took that decision.

That decision actually is amazing. It will restructure the relations between the president and the army. The constitution, of course, will write clearly and define this relationship in the legal term.

Up to that date, he didn’t wait. Actively looking forward, looking after the benefit for the Egyptian whole, he took the decision.

That decision will make life easier for the institution which runs Egypt — the presidency and the establishment with the army. Then it will put everything in its position and that would make life easier for and give trust to the Egyptian people. He is bold enough to take the decision to their own benefit.

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