CAIRO, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday appointed Abdel Fatah el Seisy as defense minister and chief of the supreme council of the armed forces, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali announced.
El Seisy, 58, used to be the leader for the military north region. After that he was appointed as the chief of military intelligence.
El Seisy will replace Hussein Tantawi, who along with former Chief of Staff of the armed forces Sami Enan, was ordered to retire Sunday.
Enan's post will be filled by Sediqi Sobhi. Both Tantawi and Enan were appointed as advisers to the president. Other changes also included Reda Mahmoud Hafez Abdel Maguid, commander for the air force staff, who was appointed as state minister for military production to replace the newly-appointed Ali Sabri.
Mohamed el-Assar was appointed an assistant to the defense minister. Mohab Mamish will be the acting board chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, and Abdel-Aziz Seif-eldin the board chairman of the Arab Organization for Industrialization. Dr. Noha Bakir, professor at American University in Cairo believed that Morsi's surprising decisions were a revolutionary solution for political disputes which is completely different with ways in former regime.
"In former President Sadat's time, for example, the senior military officers can resign but would not be forced to retire. This is a strange decision from Morsi because he had the chance to appoint a new defense minister in the new cabinet, but the reasons for keeping Tantawi and then retired him now is implied something that is ambiguous," said Bakir.
"However, one explanation for his surprising decision is that Morsi himself firstly dismissed some military officers after Rafah 's accident, and when the army didn't show any opposing response, he made up his mind and took the biggest step. Morsi was in a period of waiting, expectancy and consultations. But it seems that the army members agree with his decisions as of now," Bahir noted.
Bahir held that the Rafah incident which killed 16 soldiers was a heavy blow to the Egyptian Army. "After the incident there is some sort of discontent among the army's lines over their leaders. The army members feel humiliation after Rafah's attacks. The army commanders felt ashamed to be the protectors of the nation because they couldn't secure the minor soldiers. They lack the spirit of integrity as assumed among the commander and the soldiers, " said Bahir.
Former judge Mahmoud Mekki was appointed as vice president.
Meanwhile, Morsi also issued a new constitutional declaration and cancelled the supplementary declaration issued in mid-June by the army.
According to the new declaration, if the Constituent Assembly could not accomplish its work in 15 days, the president should form a new one which represents all the society spectra after consulting all the national movements to prepare a constitution draft.
The Constituent Assembly should draft the constitution within three months from the date of its establishment and the new constitution should be put up for a public referendum within 30 days of its drafting.
Dr. Salah Salem, political professor in Cairo University thought Morsi's decision gave solutions for the complicated problem, namely the drafting of the new constitution.
"Morsi's decision is a correction for the mistakes of the transition period, and implementation for steps which should be taken long time to end polemics, pitfalls of the transition period. It is a real start for the new beginning of the correct path, the path of the revolution and concluding the revolutions demands," said Salem.
"To draft new constitution is part of the president's power. We are not talking about his intentions or theories, it is a main part of his jurisdictions and he should use it. His decisions were not a surprise at all, he should make the suitable decisions as he believed his nation needs," Salem noted.
On the other hand, Hussein Abdel Raziq, secretary general of Tagmmu party slamed Morsi's decision as a plan to get ride of the civil state and turned it into a religious one, or the Brotherhood state. "To issue, cancel the constitution is the task of the parliament. If Mosri is giving himself this task then he has the legislative, judicial, and executive powers beside the constitutional power. It is the simple meaning for a dictator, not an elected president," Raziq said. "This is a violation to legitimacy which brought him to the presidency, the legitimacy for the constitutional declaration. The President snatched the constitutional authority," he affirmed.
For Bahir, the announcement of the new constitutional declaration was a bid of Morsi to control all the executive and legislative authorities before finishing drafting the constitution. And it is a heavy blow for those who were intended to protest on August 24 to support the army.
"Now Morsi gripped full executive power in his hands. If the new People's Assembly coming with Muslim Brotherhood majority, all authorities will be in his hands. Leftists and secularists will worry again for a possible dominance of Brotherhood and this may cause new fears and echoes in the future," said Bahir.
The president took those decisions to "complete the objectives of the revolution and develop the state institution," said the presidency spokesman, adding that Tantawi and Enan were awarded the "Order Of Nile" for their services to the nation.
As for the relationship between military and the presidency, Salem didn't expect any conflicts between them. "Egypt is a country of institutions, not individuals, and the individuals should respect the institutions. And the army respect the institutions, it respect the figures of the country and the rules of the political work," he added.
When attending a ceremony on Sunday night in AL-Azhar Mosque, President Morsi said "My decisions weren't to embarrass individuals or institutions. What I meant by the decisions is the interest of the nation and people".
There are a lot of changes that face the people, and we have to pay careful intentions for it, added Morsi.
He extended appreciation and thanks to the military men and the leaders of the armed forces. "I want the military forces to be devoted for its mission which is to protect the country," he said.
"We carry a peace message, and we wouldn't allow any person to threaten the nation," he said, adding "I will never have rest until everything in the country is stable".
"There is no place for strikes in the state institution, the country needs all their efforts," he added, warning those who want to cut the road will be punished.
AL-ARISH, Egypt, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- About five militants were killed by Egyptian troops in a border village early Sunday in North Sinai, a security source told Xinhua.
The five militants were killed during a fire exchange between the troops and some of the Jihadists in Nagaa Shabana zone, the security source said, adding the troops were exposed to rocket- propelled grenades.Full story
AL-ARISH, Egypt, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Egypt intensified its security operation to eliminate terrorists Thursday in North Sinai with more military equipment dispatched to the area.
A machinery fleet composing of 20 armored vehicles, 30 vans carrying tanks and a batch of soldiers, arrived in Al-Arish, capital of North Sinai, on Thursday, a local security source told Xinhua.Full story
CAIRO, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi ordered on Wednesday to appoint Mohamed Raafat as acting chief of intelligence to replace Murad Muwafi who was ordered to retire, state TV reported.
Morsi also sacked North Sinai Governor Abdel Wahab Mabrouk after the deadly attack on a military checkpoint attack which killed 16 soldiers and injured seven others on Sunday.Full story