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Morsi's next move
Beyond his seismic military reshuffle, President Morsi appears set to shake up the judiciary and government, confirming Islamist dominance
Dina Ezzat, Thursday 16 Aug 2012
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Mohammed Morsi
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (Photo: AP)

It was not an easy decision to take, or an easy move to implement. This is what many insiders say when they talk about Sunday's military reshuffle in which President Mohamed Morsi, 44 days after being sworn in, effectively removed from public life two of the strongest military leaders: Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) that has been running the country since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak 11 February 2011, and his second in command, General Sami Anan.

The move was shocking even to some who had predicted an end to the détente between Muslim Brotherhood and SCAF leaders. Tantawi had just been reconfirmed as defence minister, and along with Anan seemed set in his role as the head of SCAF. It also came against the backdrop of confusion that followed an attack in Rafah that killed 17 Egyptian border guards, whose funeral was missed by Morsi and briefly attended by Tantawi amid leaks pointing to a rift between the two men.

However, the president's reasons to execute the military reshuffle go beyond the rift and prior mistrust that controlled the relation between Morsi and Tantawi, along with other generals removed during the past few days, including chief of intelligence Mourad Mouafi. "The president was frustrated by the fact that he was treated as an outsider by his top aides. Some of them were not even considering him as the commander in chief, as he is rightly so," said a presidential aide who wished to remain anonymous.

Morsi, the aide said, could not have accepted to be "half a president." Those who had thought otherwise were much mistaken. "As a president, Dr Morsi is entitled to fully assume his prerogatives," the same aide said.

Morsi's attempt to challenge SCAF control was initiated three weeks ago when he called on the predominantly Islamist parliament, which was dissolved by the High Constitutional Court shortly before the presidential elections, to reassemble. A few days later, Morsi bowed to the reaffirmed decision of the court.

"But during the battle to reclaim the legislative power that was transferred from parliament to SCAF, as the former was dissolved, Dr Morsi knew that he had to drop the constitutional decree that was issued (by SCAF) a few days before the election (of Morsi) and that had amounted to a forced power share between the president and SCAF," the same aide said.

The abrogation of this decree was announced Sunday alongside the forced retirement of Tantawi and Anan.

According to Yasser Ali, the presidential spokesmen, both decisions are designed to help the president honour the demands of the 25 January Revolution for democratisation in Egypt. Ali, speaking to reporters at a press briefing earlier this week, did not exclude further moves under the banner of "honouring the demands of the revolution."

Indeed, sources suggest that the process of reshuffling will continue beyond the composition of the Islamist-leaning Hisham Qandil government, the appointment of Mahmoud Mekki as vice president, and the elimination of Tantawi, Anan, Mouafi and a few other army generals.

Restructuring SCAF under the command of Morsi, as commander in chief, and by the direct supervision of Morsi's new defence minister, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, yet another confirmed Islamist-leaning figure, sources following ongoing consultations suggest that only a handful of the original SCAF will remain. Some suggest three, others argue seven. Many resigned their positions in the last two days.

Beyond SCAF, Morsi is contemplating, according to inside sources, another set of moves to make his presidency "more efficient." With the help of key advisors, including Ahmed Mekki, and Vice President Mekki, one such move is to end the service of a judges the president perceives as antagonistic towards his presidency, or worse, "representatives of the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak."

After the Eid holidays concluding Ramadan, announcements will be made regarding the judiciary, though in a fashion that would not suggest interference on the part of the president in the affairs of the judiciary. "The judiciary is and will remain independent," said Ali following the military reshuffle.

According to one insider, Morsi is considering a tactful end to the mandate of General Prosecutor Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud who, like Tantawi and Anan, assumed his job under the rule of Mubarak. "This man is one of Mubarak's key men and his recent decision to keep Mubarak in (Tora) prison hospital rather than the Maadi military hospital to which he had been removed is an attempt to disassociate himself from the old regime," said the same aide on condition of anonymity.

For this move to happen in a way that does not make Morsi look like another dictator in the making, the nomination of the new prosecutor general has to be made not by Morsi but by a competent authority that the president approves of. Ali denied news suggesting that the prosecutor general, who has been under medication in Germany recently, is too ill to resume his job or that he was asked to retire.

Calling parliamentary elections is what Morsi is most keen on. On Sunday, when announcing the move to force Tantawi and Anan to retire, and to annul the SCAF addendum to the Constitutional Declaration, Ali also announced the plan to hold parliamentary elections within two months.

In theory, the president should wait for the constitution drafting body, the Constituent Assembly, to finish its work before he calls for elections, or else risk having to call for additional elections once the new constitution has been completed.

There are conflicting reports on when elections would be called for exactly: some sources close to official circles say they would be next month; others from Muslim Brotherhood quarters say late November, whether or not a constitution is drafted.

The assessment within Muslim Brotherhood quarters is that the Islamist camp would still retain considerable control of the next parliament, even if not the same two thirds majority of the dissolved parliament.

With an Islamist prime minister, whose cabinet would be freed from SCAF supported ministers, either in the next two weeks, some sources argue, or after parliamentary elections, and with an Islamist head of the military, an Islamist vice president and an Islamist parliament, along with the predominantly Islamist drafting body for the constitution, the Islamist current, and president, is fully in control.





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sawsan mostafa ali
19-08-2012 09:33pm
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MORS'S NEXT MOVE
I think that all the coming moves are political moves like : Hiring this and firing this and moving that - So fights to continue between all Egyptians and not to ask about the 100 days plan or Nahda plan( Instead of making people busy by football like the old Mubarak 's regime, people will be busy by arguing, debating and discussing with violence) . But all this future movements will be postponed till after the 24th of Aug. - then we will have a flood of moves at the explained direction.
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9



Egyptian Magician
19-08-2012 04:09am
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Winners, Losers, and Term Limits
Morsi's recent moves looks like the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) are building their own autocratic system, BUT there are excellent reasons for these moves. Let's not forget that the SCAF pushed him into taking these moves to reclaim the powers that a president should have. A president should be able to decide who their defense minister is and appoint certain positions. Morsi is cleaning out the old guard from the defense establishment, which has ruled Egypt since 1952. Secondly, Morsi is eliminating judges that aren't professional. The ammendment to the constitution and the dissolving of the entire lower house of parliament was clearly politically motivated. Therefore, the judiciary (through their own actions) has shown that they need to be reformed. Lastly and most importantly, a democracy must have term limits for its president and other key positions. This means that the next person in office will have the opportunity to make their own changes. THe thing with democracies is that t
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8



Ahmad Shawki
18-08-2012 12:11pm
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Page format needs attention
Ahramonline is to be commended on it new format. But I have two complaints regarding the comment section that I think warrant your attention. The first is that comments take too long to appear. The second concerns formatting in replies to comments, word wrap is not working properly. Thank you
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7



sawsan mostafa ali
17-08-2012 09:03am
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OF COURSE, HE IS THE NEW DICTATOR
Without any doubt, President Morsi is preparing himself to be the new dictator. All tactics , policies and strategies are saying so. Ekhwan have prepared a solid action plan to control Egypt. What makes one sad is that thinking about the problems that Egyptians really suffer from , is not taking any priority or importance at the President's mind. All that matters is how to put supporters everywhere - the government, the army, press, ShouraCouncil, People's Assembly.....etc..- Speeches, speeches, speeches- as if people will eat and drink words. When will the serious work will start???????- Are we going to see a start of any "Nahda".
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6



Abdullah Hasan
17-08-2012 01:07am
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Muslim and Islamist
I'm muslim and Islamist too. How come someone Muslim but non-Islamist. So all Muslim egyptian shall Islamist too.
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Ibnu Ahlan
28-08-2012 12:25am
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Muslim and Islamist??
Salam and Hello everyone .. I read about Muslim and Islamist posting. To me this is simple. Don't get confuse. Islamist is just a word created by " western author" so it easy to cornered Muslim who practice true Islam to aside and try try to claim them as a "unmoderate Islam".
Mohamed
23-08-2012 06:49pm
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Wrong
WRONG, WRONG WRONG. I am a Moderate Muslim........ Neither you, nor Ekhwan nor anyone can judge me. Only God will judge. Get off your high horse!!
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Diab
17-08-2012 12:49am
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Democracy means the majority rules.
Well, if the people of Egypt wants an Islamist government, then the liberals and Secularists should simply shut up. The people are sovereign. Isn't this the essence of democracy?
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Ahmad Shawki
18-08-2012 12:04pm
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A bottle of oil and a bag of sugar
In democracy there is no such thing as "shut up". In democracy there is what is known as opposition, which means opposition parties criticize government policies, and they work towards coming to power in the next election, that is the essence of democracy. If you can't take criticism, then you shouldn't be in politics. The Egyptian people don't want an Islamist government, they only voted for the FJP for a bottle of oil and a bag of sugar, which is a shame. The trouble with you people is that you believed the lies you've been telling everyone, but you know what, people have figured you out, and your end is near.
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Nezar
16-08-2012 10:11pm
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the judiciary needs to be purged of Mubarak's men
We all know that the constitutional court's decision to nullify the parliamentary elections was politically motivated and aimed at undercutting the Islamists. Likewisw, we all know that had non-Islamists won the polls, no such a decision would have been made. Hence, President Mursi has every right to cleanse the judiciary of Mubarak's fulool.
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Ahmad Shawki
17-08-2012 11:11pm
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The election law was unconstitutional.
We all know, including the MB, that the parliamentary election law was unconstitutional. The MB and the Egyptian Block were warned as such, but they threatened to boycott the elections if their demands were not met. The constitutional court decision is a sound one, it is a fact, so live with it. Morsi has no right to interfere in the judiciary.
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Abu Mohamed
16-08-2012 05:53pm
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Isn't Egypt A Muslim country?
I don't know about al-ahram online, but I been to Egypt and as a muslim American I considered Egypt as being an Islamic country. All I can say is be good citizens and love your country. In america, France, UK, Italy, Russia, Japan, S.korea and so many other countries they have christian head of state, christian parliament, and their news paper don't they say oooh look at the all of these christian leaders. In fact they obey their rules and law of the land.
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Najjar
19-08-2012 11:06am
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'Islamist or Islamism' a term foreign to Muslims and the Arabic tongue.
But still some cafeteria 'Muslims' just use the term without bothering the least to understand how it got their mouth in the first place. Those who want us to believe that there is separation between the religion of Islam and political, have definitely understood nothing, nada, rien, zip to Islam which is DEEN – a complete way of life, and not narrowed down to the word religion - In the Quran, Islam is always referred to as Din and not as Muzdhab. As for the separation of Church and State is simply a foreign concept and one only has to dig deeper in European History to understand the cause of its advent. Unfortunately millions of the people with Muslim names are still colonized.
Ahmad Shawki
17-08-2012 11:57pm
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You're confusing Islam with political Islam
I'm afraid you're confusing Islam with political Islam. The majority of Egyptians are Muslims, and so it's only natural that the majority of parliament members would be Muslims, no one is against that. In America as you must be well aware, since you are an American Muslim, there is a separation of Church and State, still since the majority of Americans are Christians, so are public servants. They are being elected to Congress as American citizens, not because they are Christians or belong to a Christian church. What we have here in Egypt is a religious international group, playing politics, using all kinds of unfair practices, in clear violation of the law. Slogans like “vote for us you go to heaven, vote for them you go to hell” were widely used. The MB are urging people to elect MP's only because they are members of the Muslim Brotherhood FJP (as the only ones worthy of being called Muslims), and not based on their qualifications as Egyptian citizens. That is Fascism pure and simple.
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A Concerned Reader
16-08-2012 04:03pm
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Poor and Unbased Article
This article is an example of Al Ahram's continuing disregard for honesty in journalism. The author chooses to manipulate words in order to support their argument with no factual basis. I want to know how the author can conclude the new PM government is “Islamist-leaning” when the majoring of the ministers are not affiliated with any religious group. Or how Hisham Qandil is considered an “Islamist prime minister” – apparently the author would like us to believe that anyone in Egypt today wearing a beard and is appointed to a government post is an Islamist. And since when is Mekki, the new VP, an “Islamist vice president”? He might have worked with the Brotherhood but he is certainly not a member. Shame on Al Ahram for publishing articles containing fabricated information.
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TH
16-08-2012 10:32pm
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Dear Concerned Reader
You should be CONCERNED. But not about Al Ahram. You should be concerned about the writing on the wall. Unfortunately, you, nd the millions like you that can only see the facts after they have happened, will be led like lambs to the slaughter.
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TH
16-08-2012 03:58pm
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God help us
Is this what the revolution wanted, an Islamist everything ? If this is what Morsi and the MB want to do, that is their decision. But they should not claim to be doing this in the name of the revolution. The revolution was to grant rights and freedoms to all, not to turn the country into an Islamic Republic .
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A woman
18-08-2012 09:34am
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Historically....
Dear Samiha! When did Egyptian history start for you? With the birth of Prophet Mohamed or when? In fact historically Egypt was a coptic country first!!!
Samiha
17-08-2012 05:00pm
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An anti Islamic, Muslim country?
Egypt is historically and de facto Muslim majority country. Why are people surprise an Islamic majority is ruling? In UK the majorities of MPs are Christians and only a few are Muslims as this represents sections of the population. Why are people so scared of islam if Egypt was a great nation under islamic ruling? With their hostility against Islam, do Egyptian Muslims doubt the word of their Lord?
Samiha
17-08-2012 04:55pm
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An anti-islam, muslim country
Egypt is historically and de facto muslim majority country.

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