News / Middle East

Change Atop Egyptian Military 'No Surprise' to US

Egyptian Field Marshal Gen. Hussein Tantawi (l) President Mohammed Morsi, center, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan, right, July 5, 2012.Egyptian Field Marshal Gen. Hussein Tantawi (l) President Mohammed Morsi, center, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan, right, July 5, 2012.
x
Egyptian Field Marshal Gen. Hussein Tantawi (l) President Mohammed Morsi, center, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan, right, July 5, 2012.
Egyptian Field Marshal Gen. Hussein Tantawi (l) President Mohammed Morsi, center, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan, right, July 5, 2012.
STATE DEPARTMENT —The Obama administration says it is not surprised by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's move to change his country's top military leaders. The United States says what is important now is for Egypt's civilian and military leaders to complete the country's democratic transition.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew of ongoing discussions about a new defense team and was told during talks with President Morsi in Cairo last month that the change would be made "at an appropriate moment."

So, Nuland says, Sunday's forced retirement of Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi and Army Chief of Staff Sami Annan was "no surprise."

"These are obviously personnel decisions for Egyptians to make. What is important to us is that the civilian leadership and the military keep working well together to advance the goals of the democratic transition in Egypt and to work through the many remaining outstanding questions about how we get to a fully democratic parliament, a constitution, etcetera," said Nuland.

Nuland says the new leaders named by President Morsi are all people with whom Washington has worked before, including many who have trained in the United States. Among those is the former senior judge and new vice president Mahmoud Mekki. Nuland says Mekki could play an important role in still-to-be-decided aspects of Egypt's transition.

"Clearly, having somebody who has got strong legal background could be helpful, could be appropriate in the context of working through these remaining constitutional issues that have to be solved there, but time will tell obviously," she said.

The military shake-up comes amid growing tensions over security in the northern Sinai following a recent attack by militants that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers. Nuland says Sinai security has a direct impact on the new government's relationship with Israel.

"Obviously there are security issues in Sinai that have to be dealt with," said Nuland. "As the Egyptians work to gain control of Sinai, the way they do it obviously has an impact on their neighbors, has an impact on the region, has an impact on their existing security and treaty relationships, and we want to see all of those things go smoothly."

President Morsi canceled a constitutional declaration that granted wide powers to senior military officers. He says Sunday's decisions "did not intend to embarrass institutions" and were taken for the benefit of Egypt and its people.

The military has not publicly reacted to the new president's move.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mr. Rob from: LV
August 14, 2012 3:42 AM
What I wonder most when Hillary Clinton says she is 'not surprised' by the announcement, is this: How much information did the Obama Administration really have ahead of time about the 'soft coup.' Was the Obama Administration involved in the plot to organize the coup. For example, perhaps the reason why the two top generals who were fired have so far not publicly resisted the move is because the Obama Administration pressured the generals ahead of time into accepting the forced resignation. What this could mean is that the Obama Administration is responsible for delivering near total control of the Egyptian government into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. This could be catostrophic for American interests in the Middle East.

by: heshukui from: China
August 13, 2012 9:21 PM
We can consider to jack up some countries the words of military weight!

by: Paul from: UK
August 13, 2012 4:51 PM
i am of the belief that if the Israelis were surprised... the whole world is surprised... so don't try to sell us "the Obama administration" was not surprised... hey Obama why not send an additional 1.7 Billion Dollars to sustain this Arab degeneracy??

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs