Egypt Independent

Brotherhood leaders laud decision to retire SCAF heads



Muslim Brotherhood leaders reacted positively to President Mohamed Morsy’s Sunday decision to send Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Anan to retirement and abolish the supplement to the Constitutional Declaration.

Essam al-Erian, vice president of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, praised Morsy’s decrees.

“It was brave of him,” Erian said, calling the moves “the second wave of the revolution.”

“He has foiled the counter-revolutionary plots and exposed the third party that works to obstruct the democratization process for the people of Egypt,” Erian wrote on Twitter. “The revolutionaries must support him for exercising his sovereign duty and meeting the demands of the revolution.”

On Sunday, the presidential spokesperson announced the decisions, which mark the most significant change to Egypt’s military leadership since the 25 January revolution.

Morsy had appointed Judge Mahmoud Mekky as vice president and promoted SCAF members Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Sidqy Sobhy as defense minister and chief of staff, respectively. The appointment leaves Sisi in control of the armed forces. Morsy’s spokesperson also announced that SCAF member Mohamed al-Assar was appointed to be deputy defense minister.

Morsy also granted Tantawi the Nile Medal, Anan the State Medal, and appointed them as his advisers.

Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council member Karem Radwan asserted there was no secret deal behind Morsy’s recent decisions, which he said were autonomous and reflected the power of his civilian office.

“Perhaps [the military’s] failure to protect the border was the reason [for the moves],” Radwan said, referring to the latest attack by armed militants in Sinai that left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead.

“The army protected the revolution, but made a mistake by engaging in politics and issuing a Constitutional Declaration without justification,” he added.

“Being the president, Morsy has the right to send the army back to the barracks,” Radwan said, contending that the revolutionaries would approve of his decision as they want to end military rule.

Morsy also abolished the supplement to the Constitutional Declaration, which was put in place by the SCAF in June and limited the president’s powers.

Figures from outside the group also commended the decision. 

"You cannot cleanse Sinai before you cleanse the armed forces," journalist Hamdy Qandil wrote on Twitter Sunday. On 5 August, gunmen attacked a checkpoint near the Egypt-Israel border, killing 16 Egyptian border guards amid increasing concerns about declining security in Sinai. “I think there was some concern that the military might exploit the Sinai campaign and make maneuvers to pave the way for a coup against the president.

“I think the president made a coup in anticipation of another by the military that might have been scheduled for 24 August,” Qandil continued, in reference to calls for protests against the Brotherhood on 25 August by those sympathetic to the military and Mubarak regime.

“Mubarak’s men may get fiercer, with clandestine sabotage attempts to create possible disturbances, but they will be more cowardly in public now," he said. "And the military must resume its core mission of protecting Egypt's borders and national security.”

Poet Abdel Rahman Youssef also praised Morsy’s decrees. “Today, the Mubarak state finally came to an end,” he wrote on Twitter. “And no medal can save you from history’s call to account.”

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm