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Egypt: Who's left in the army following the 2013 coup

The decision to replace the commanders of the Air Defence Forces and Navy Forces in Egypt has rekindled the debate the military coup against Mohamed Morsi, the first elected civilian president in the country's history on the July 3, 2013.

Saturday evening President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi replaced Lieutenant-General Osama Mounir Mohamed Rabie, Commander of the naval forces, and appointed General Ahmed Khaled Saeed instead. Sisi also ordered the replacement of Lieutenant-General Abdel-Moneim Ibrahim Bayoumy Altras, Commander of Air Defence Forces, with General Ali Mohamed Fahmy.

Sisi moved Rabie to a new job as the deputy head of the Suez Canal Authority and appointed of Altras as presidential advisor for military affairs, effective Sunday.

In accordance with this decree, the two former Air Forces and Naval Forces commanders are no longer members of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF). The highest council in the military, which is tasked with leading the main operations room of the Armed Forces in a state of war.

SCAF consists of the leaders of the Egyptian Armed Forces, headed by the Chief of staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces Sedki Sobhy and the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Mahmoud Hegazy.

Changing the military Council structure

SCAF comprises 25 generals, and a president of the council. They all have prominent roles in governing the country and influence over the huge economic assets owned by the Egyptian army.

On 17 March, 2014 Sisi decided to reshuffle the SCAF. This is an unorthodox move given that such changes generally take place biannually in either January or July. 

Yet in spite of a series of high profile changes, one of the individuals who remained in service until today is Mamdouh Shahin, legal affairs assistant to the Defence Minister who was also the first SCAF member to make an appearance on satellite TV.

A list of the SCAF leadership

A list of the SCAF leadership

Shahin is considered one of the most prominent legal military experts that the SCAF relies on in all matters relating to its military laws and its entanglement with other state parties while preparing the laws.

Shahid was a founding SCAF member and a member of the committee to write the constitution, known as the 100-person Committee. Though Shahid exceeds the legal age for SCAF members to retire.

Another SCAF member reaching the retirement age is Ahmed Farid Hegazy, Secretary-General of the Defence Ministry. Hegazy was appointed commander of the second ground army for two years from 2010 to 2012. He was then assistant to the Defence Minister and Secretary-General to the ministry.

Mohsen El-Shazly, Commander of the Southern military area during the military council's rule of the country. E continued in this position after Morsi became president and until Sisi became Defence Minister and made a number of changes in August 2012. He removed El-Shazly from his position and appointed him as head of the SCAF operations, hence allowing El-shazly to remain a SCAF member.

Younes Sayed Hamed Al-Masri, commander of the border guard forces and SCAF member who planned the coup and one of those executing the plans to displace the people of Rafah and the destruction of the tunnels in Gaza, has also maintained his SCAF membership. This is also true for Head of arms in the Armed Forces, Abdul Mohsen Al-Shabrawi, Ahmed Abu Dahad, Gamal Ismail, Emad Al-Alfi, Mohammad Ameed, Medhat Ghazy, Mohammed Al-Shehat, Osama Askar, Mohammed Abdulelah, Tawheed Tawfiq Mohammad Al-Zamlout, Yayhya Al-Hamili, and Khairat Barakat.

Sisi has doublecrossed many friends during the coup, the most prominent of which are former Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim, who carried out the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda massacres, and former head of intelligence, Mohammad Al-Tuhami, for unknown reasons.

In jut two years, Sisi undercut 1500 officers and dismissed them from their positions in the army as a means of imposing his control over the military institution and to ensure the loyalty of the leaders and officers. His is perhaps afraid some of them would support a new revolution to stage a coup against his oppressive acts, according to Arabi21.

On December 31, 2015, the Egyptian president sent 13 high-level intelligence officials to retirement. The Official Gazette published the text of the decree regarding its liquidation of the intelligence agency as he openly dismissed 67 intelligence officers since the overthrow of Morsi.

The process of restructuring the SCAF by Sisi will most likely lead to his appointment of allies in the main positions and provide him with a strong base for military support and influence that could keep him in power for two presidential terms until 2022.

Translated from The New Khalij, 18 December 2016

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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