Egypt’s President orders top military generals to retire

Monday, August 13, 2012
Cairo: Egypt’s new elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi dismissed county’s top two military officers and cancelled a military order that curbed his powers. 

In a dramatic move Morsi announced immediate retirement of Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi and Army Chief of Staff Sami Annan. 

The move comes close on the heels of growing tensions over military operations in the northern Sinai, following a recent attack by militants that killed 17 Egyptian soldiers. 

The order of the retirement of top officials struck on a quiet summer afternoon as most Egyptians fasted for Ramadan.

In a televised statement the president’s spokesperson, Yasser Ali has reportedly announced the news of the replacement of the top officials saying that Morsi was also annulling constitutional amendments that gave military commanders sweeping powers.  

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. 
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