President Mohamed Morsy appointed three new commanders to the air force, air defence force and navy service branches on Sunday. The decision comes two days after Morsy retired several high ranking members within Egypt’s military hierarchy.
Staff Major General Abdel-Moniem Bayoumi Al-Terras has been appointed Commander of the Air Defence Forces, Staff Air Vice-Marshal Younes El-Sayed Hamed was made Commander of the Air Force and Staff Rear Admiral Osama Ahmed Ahmed El-Gendy is now Commander of the Navy.
A statement released on the presidency’s official Facebook page shows the presidential decree Morsy made. The first article of the decree lists the names of the new commanders and the second article states that “the Commander-in-Chief and Minister of Defence and Military production is obliged to execute this decision.”
The fact that it was Morsy himself who issued the decision instead of delegating it to newly-appointed Commander-in-Chief and Minister of Defence General Abdel-Fatah Al-Sisi signals that the president is set on a path to assert his control over the military.
Although Al-Sisi is Commander-in-Chief, Morsy has started using the title Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, which was traditionally the role of the president but is not explicitly mentioned in the 30 March 2011 constitutional decree acting as the country’s temporary constitution.
It seems that after Morsy retired former Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Chairman and Commander-in-Chief, Minister of Defence Hussein Tantawi and his Chief of Staff Sami Anan it will be the president himself who will function as Chairman of SCAF. The three new appointees will also serve as members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
The presidency’s official Facebook page also reported that Tantawi was given Egypt’s top state honour, the Order of the Nile, and that Anan also received the prestigious Order of the Republic. During Morsy’s announcement on Sunday that he would retire both men, he said they would receive the awards. A ceremony will be held later on Tuesday for Tantawi and Anan to receive their medals.
Tantawi and Anan were also hired as presidential advisors for military affairs.