News / Middle East

Egypt's Morsi Orders Top Military Officers to Retire

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi swears in newly-appointed Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012.Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi swears in newly-appointed Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012.
x
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi swears in newly-appointed Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi swears in newly-appointed Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
CAIRO — Egypt's new President Mohamed Morsi has forced out the country's top two military officers, announcing the immediate retirement of  Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi and Army Chief of Staff Sami Annan. The move comes after growing tensions over military operations in the northern Sinai, following a recent attack by militants that killed 17 Egyptian soldiers. 
 
News that President Morsi had fired Defense Minister Tantawi and Army Chief of Staff Annan struck on a quiet summer afternoon as most Egyptians fasted for Ramadan.
 
The president's spokesman, Yasser Ali, announced replacements for the two top officers on state television. He said Morsi was also annulling constitutional amendments that gave military commanders sweeping powers.
 
  • The Egyptian military seized power in 1952.
  • Every leader for the past 60 years until President Mohamed Morsi has been part of the military.
  • The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ruled Egypt after Hosni Mubarak's ouster as president early last year until Mr. Morsi's election this June.
  • During that time, the military council approved a constitutional declaration granting its top commanders wide powers and scaled back presidential powers.
He said the president has named Mahmoud Mekki as his vice president, that he is ordering Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi to retire, along with Army Chief of Staff Sami Annan.
 
Morsi was shown on state TV swearing in his new Defense Minister, Abdel Fattah al Sissi.
 
The new defense minister said he swears to protect the nation and its presidential system and to respect the constitution and the law, to defend the people's interests and the borders of the country.
 
It was not immediately clear if the president's decision would provoke a constitutional crisis. Field Marshall Tantawi and top generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces had given themselves powers before the presidential election that some analysts compared to a “check-and-balance” system.
 
The unexpected moves by the president came as tensions mounted between him and top officers of the armed forces council. Photos showed Mr. Morsi and Field Marshall Tantawi tense and unsmiling as they visited the Sinai in recent days, during a government military operation against Islamist militants.
 
Essam Elarian, the head of President Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party, said Egyptians have been “dreaming of a fair democratic system for more than 60 years.” The Egyptian military seized power in 1952 and every leader until Morsi has belonged to it.
 
Defense Minister Tantawi was named to the post by former President Hosni Mubarak in 1991. A former US ambassador to Egypt once described him as “Mubarak's poodle,” according to a document leaked by the website Wikileaks.
 
It was not immediately clear how the Egyptian army would react to the president's decision to relieve the top commanders, or if the country's top court might attempt to reverse the decisions.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: J B from: USA
August 14, 2012 4:50 PM
Effectively the Hindis have supplanted one repulsive system of what they call a democracy with an even more repellent hindi style rule... Indians... what a joke

would you like some curry with your dimmmokrrrracyyyy siiiiirrrrr??? (shaking head side to side)

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 13, 2012 7:39 AM
The die is cash; the stage is set. The action is about to start. Morsi is about to unleash himself on Egyptians. Now we are going to find out the stuff he's made of. This action was expected, but not too soon, just not as soon as it came. Goes to show how urgent Morsi wants to return Egypt to the days of the Shah and Nebukadnedzar. Next will be the issuance of a decree. What to expect in that decree? Watch and see. I can only reveal that it won't look different from what obtains in Iran and the Arab world - and the motto: Arab Spring devaluation of human rights.

by: Rahimi from: Kabul/Afghanistan
August 13, 2012 5:30 AM
i would like to congratulate this victory to all Ugandan people. Basically, the victory and proud of this gold medal goes to all Ugandan nation.

by: Mahmoud Heshla from: Egypt
August 13, 2012 2:53 AM
Millions are in the streets of Egypt supporting president Morsi's decision , Here is Egypt back to civil government again as it was 60 years ago .

by: Malek Towghi/Tauqee from: USA
August 12, 2012 8:30 PM
It will be easier for historians and Egyptian people to give credit or discredit for pluses or minuses if there is only one ruling institution. The Sunni Islamists of Egypt now have a chance to demonstrate -- through a radical reinterpretation of the Quran & the Sunnah -- that their political Islam is compatible not only to the unchanging realities of our world -- the existence of Israel being one --but also to the unspoken aspirations of the suffering Muslim masses. During the 23 years of Muhammad's 'missionary' life CHANGEs did happen in the Quran and his Sunnah (unfortunately from good/ok to worse). Why not make this principle of POSSIBILITY /JUSTIFICATION of CHANGE -- and the principle of MASLAHAH of the society and RECOGNITION of 'URF as considered and done by some medieval fuqaha (jurists)-- the bases for the much-needed reconstruction of the Shari'ah??? Another point to be considered is the fact that the Sunni Shari'a in its details was 'canonized' centuries after Muhammad's death and was never practiced in totality by Muslims.

Personally, I am not so optimistic particularly thinking of the Sunni Islam. Yet, this is a stage the Muslim society has to pass before hoping for a Mass Rushdite Intellectual Revolution -- to call the humbug a humbug.

I hope my country, the US, and the ultra 'politically corrects' of the West will not again sabotage and frustrate this evolutionary process by allying themselves with the Sunni Islam for ephemeral gains (as they seem to be doing in Syria) or just out of ignorance and stupidity.

by: Sunita Chadry from: India
August 12, 2012 4:47 PM
effectively the Egyptians have supplanted one repulsive Military Dictator with an even more repellent Islamic Dictator... Arabs... what a joke

would you like some Humus with your dimookracy???

by: Mahmud Sulieman from: Egypt
August 12, 2012 4:17 PM
i don't know where this leads... but let me tell you that Egyptian are buying guns from Libya and Gaza. Terrorist groups move from the Sinai to Cairo and Alexandria with the blessings of Mursi and the Islamic Brotherhood - wake up America - this is not good

by: Dona Lynn Brown from: USA
August 12, 2012 3:25 PM
hey, haven't we seen it before...? remember Turkey used to be a westernized country... now its in the grip of Islamic forces that vilify western values to a point where it has become a Terrorist state just like Iran Lebanon Pakistan...
you want to know the future of Egypt - look to Hamas... Hizbolla... al Qaida... well, we have such an incompetent president... I guess the trend will continue

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs