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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Tantawi’

How Morsi Took Power in Egypt

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Earlier this year, most analysts in Egypt assessed Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi as the key figure in that country’s politics and President Mohamed Morsi as a lightweight, so it came as a surprise when Morsi fired Tantawi on Aug. 12, 2012.

This matters because Tantawi would have kept the country out of Islamist hands while Morsi is speedily moving the country in the direction of applying Islamic law. If Morsi succeeds at this, the result will have major negative implications for America’s standing in the region.

Tantawi, then the effective ruler of Egypt, had handpicked Morsi to become president, seeing him as the safest option, someone who could be manipulated or (if necessary) replaced. Toward this end, Tantawi instructed the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) to approve Morsi as a candidate, despite his arrest on Jan. 27, 2011, for “treason and espionage,” his time in prison, and despite the SCC having excluded other Muslim Brotherhood candidates, especially the rich, charismatic, and visionary Khairat El-Shater, on the basis of their own imprisonment. Tantawi wanted the obscure, inelegant, and epileptic Morsi to run for president because Shater was too dangerous and another Brotherhood candidate, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fettouh, too popular.What happened?

Sometimes after Morsi became president on June 30, Tantawi openly signaled his intent to overthrow him via a mass demonstration to take place on Aug. 24. His mouthpiece Tawfik Okasha openly encouraged a military coup against Morsi. But Morsi acted first and took several steps on Aug. 12: he annulled the constitutional declaration limiting his power, dismissed Tantawi, and replaced him with Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, the head of military intelligence.

Morsi, in brief, pre-empted the impending military coup d’état against him. Tarek al-Zomor, a leading jihadi and Morsi supporter, acknowledged that “choosing Sissi to replace Tantawi was to stop a coup,” publicly acknowledging Morsi’s urgent need to act before Aug. 24. Hamdi Kandil, one of Egypt’s most prominent journalists, rightly characterized Morsi’s act as “a civilian coup.”

They missed one hidden factor: Brotherhood-oriented military officers turn out to have been far more numerous and powerful than previously realized: they both knew about the Aug. 24 plot plan and helped Morsi to beat it. If it was long apparent that some officers had an outlook sympathetic to the Brotherhood, the extent of their network has only just come out in the three months since the coup. How did Morsi pull it off? How did the lamb slaughter the butcher? Why did so many analysts not see this coming?

For example, we now know that Major General Abbas Mekheimar, the army officer assigned to oversee the purge of officers with Brotherhood or other Islamist affiliations, himself is aligned with the Brotherhood or perhaps a member of it. As for Sissi, while the Brotherhood denies his direct membership, one of its leaders says he belongs to its informal “family” – which makes sense, seeing that high-ranking public figures best advance its agenda when not formal members. His position as head of military intelligence gave him access to information about Tantawi’s Aug. 24 planned coup and historian Ali Al-Ashmawi found that Sissi tracked military officials loyal to Tantawi and had them discharged.

Where does this leave matters? Tantawi and company are safely pensioned off, and (unlike Hosni Mubarak) are not going to jail. Sissi’s military has retreated to roughly the same position that Tantawi’s military occupied before Mubarak’s overthrow in Feb. 2011, which is to say it is allied with the president and following his leadership without being fully subordinate to him. It retains control over its own budget, its promotions and dismissals, and its economic empire.

But the military leadership lost the direct political power that it enjoyed for 1½ years in 2011-12. In retrospect, this network should not be a great surprise, for it has a precedent: the Brotherhood had infiltrated the military in the 1940s, standing behind the “Free Officers” movement that overthrew King Farouq in 1952. After having been shut out in the period 1954-74, the Muslim Brotherhood then rebuilt its network of officers in ways invisible and unknown to outside observers, including ourselves. One top Brotherhood figure,Tharwat al-Kharabawi, now acknowledges that some of the organization’s members “became high-ranking leaders in the military.”

Morsi’s future is far from assured. Not only does he face competing factions of Islamists but Egypt faces a terrible economic crisis. Morsi’s power today unquestionably brings major short-term benefits for himself and the Brotherhood; but in the long term it will likely discredit Brotherhood rule.

In short, following thirty years of stasis under Mubarak, Egypt’s political drama has just begun.

Originally published at the Washington Times and DanielPipes.org on Nov. 14, 2012.

Where are the Egyptian Generals?

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Rumors are flying around Egpyt that Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Hafez Anan have been placed under house arrest by President Morsi. The two former military leaders of Egpyt have not been seen or heard from by anyone since they were retired yesterday.

On Sunday, supporters of Tantawi gathered by the Egpyptian Ministry of Defense in East Cairo. Fights broke out at the protest.

Clinton Meets Morsi, Urges Egyptian Control over Hamas

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday, marking the latter’s highest level meeting to date with a U.S. government official.

Clinton restated Washington’s support for Egypt, which has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy since 1978. She said the U.S. favors democratic rule in Egypt and urged the return of Egypt’s military to its defense role

Al Ahram on Saturday quoted an anonymous U.S. official who said that, in addition to stable relations with Israel, “the U.S. is expecting Egypt to use the good ties that link the Muslim Brotherhood with the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip to curtail any plans that Hamas might have towards escalation with Israel.”

The U.S. is also expecting President Morsi’s Egypt to remain committed to its traditional policy of limited engagement with Iran, according to Al Ahram.

Also on the list of U.S. expectations is a clear cut commitment from the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president on ensuring respect for the rights of women, Copts, and other minorities in Egypt.

On Sunday Clinton will meet with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the council of generals supervising the transition from the old regime.

“The United States supports the full transition to civilian rule with all that entails,” Clinton said at a news conference after her meeting with Morsi. “But there is more work ahead. And I think the issues around the parliament, the constitution, have to be resolved between and among Egyptians. I will look forward to discussing these issues tomorrow with Field Marshall Tantawi and in working to support the military’s return to a purely national security role.”

Egyptian Elections Draw Crowds, Support for Islamist Parties

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The first day of a historic democratic election in Egypt has come to a close, with a higher than expected turnout and a strong showing for Islamist parties.

 

Egypt’s first election day since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak saw overwhelming public participation, with polling stations being asked to stay open an additional 2 hours to accommodate the large number of voters.  Parliamentary elections will continue until early January.

 

Electoral overseers received hundreds of complaints of voting violations, including vote buying and the abuse of a law forbidding campaigning on election day.  Delays in the delivery of ballot slips to polling stations and the late arrival of ballot supervisors were included in the list of grievances.

 

On Sunday, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the interim President and head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, urged Egyptian citizens to participate in elections, even as citizens called for the army to cede power.  Also on Sunday, protestors in Cairo demonstrated against Tantawi, demanding that he and his fellow generals immediately resign.

 

Protests against Tantawi’s government have continued throughout the country, with particular gusto in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.  Yet some protests have focused on hate for Israel, including a special Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo on Friday entitled “Kill The Jews.”  Since Saturday, more than 42 people have been killed and 2,000 injured.

 

The Muslim Brotherhood, a radical pro-Jihadist organization poised to win the first stage of elections, will likely use their victory to enforce anti-Israel policies in Egypt and garner support for the Palestinian Authority (PA).  Their credo states “God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”  The state of Israel is the number one threat to Egyptian security, according to the body, making Jews “the most serious problem in terms of Egypt’s national security.”

 

On Monday, the gas pipeline between Egyypt and Israel was targeted again, with masked gunmen exploding the line near El-Arish in the northern Sinai.  The line has been attacked 8 times this year.

Protests Erupt in Egypt, 37 Dead

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, Egypt’s de facto head of state since the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, has failed to quiet raging protests which have now claimed 37 lives across the country.

In a televised address to the country on Tuesday, Tantawi promised presidential elections in June, six months sooner than initially planned.  Egypt’s first free parliamentary elections are expected to begin on Monday.  In his speech, Tantawi told citizens that the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces – the military organization which governs Egypt – would be coming to an end, and that power would be returned to civilians.

Yet demonstrators were angered that Tantawi suggested a referendum on whether to end military rule sooner, which they saw as an attempt to divide Egyptians fearful of continued violence into distancing themselves from protestors, according to Reuters.

Clashes between protestors and police erupted throughout the night, resulting in more deaths since the renewed protests began 5 days ago.  Riot police fired teargas and rubber bullets at protestors in Tahrir Square after being attacked with rocks.  Though police have denied using live ammunition, most of the dead have displayed bullet wounds, according to medics.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/protests-erupt-in-egypt-37-dead/2011/11/23/

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