Egypt's Morsi may have consulted military on Sunday surprise

Ahram Online, Sunday 12 Aug 2012

Conflicting reports emerge from military officials over whether President Mohamed Morsi consulted with army on Sunday's decisions to retire Tantawi and Anan, abrogate 17 June constitutional addendum

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (4th L), the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), and chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces Sami Anan sit with assistants before The Egyptian official news agency, political figures and representatives, at a meeting in Cairo November 22, 2011. (Photo: Reuters)

President Mohamed Morsi's decision on Sunday to retire top army leaders was taken in consultation with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, newly appointed Deputy Defence Minister General Mohamed El-Assar told Reuters on Sunday.

"The decision was based on consultations with the field marshal and the rest of the military council," General El-Assar, who had been in charge of the military's armaments division under Tantawi, said.

In a surprise decision on Sunday afternoon, Morsi retired Tantawi, Egypt's long-serving minister of defence and commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces. He also retired Army Chief-of-Staff Sami Anan.

The army officer in charge of media relations for Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), however, said he was unaware of any statements issued by El-Assar.

"The SCAF has not made any official statements," said Hany Badran, a major in the Egyptian Army's morale department. "And I don’t know about any statements made by El-Assar."

Essam El-Erian, vice president of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), for his part, made some statements following Morsi's decisions suggesting the move could run up against opposition in the coming period.

El-Erian praised the decisions via Twitter, saying they had served to "thwart the plans of the counter-revolution and expose the third party, which wants to obstruct the path of Egypt's democratic transition."

In other statements, El-Erian called on FJP members to take to the streets to show solidarity with Morsi in an effort to "pre-empt any moves against his decisions," which, he said, represented "the second wave of the Egyptian people's revolution."

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