There is no sign yet
of any opposition to Egyptian President Morsi's seemingly dramatic move to remove the two top military leaders from their posts. There were no unusual military movements across Egypt today.
Morsi not only removed top military leaders but also took away
some of the powers that the generals had given themselves. Morsi has reclaimed control of the constitution drafting process, the national budget, and the right to issue laws. If this decision stands it will reduce the power of the generals.
Morsi's moves however may have been made through negotiation with the military ruling council. Apparently there were consultations with members of the ruling military council including the two who lost their jobs before Morsi's made his decision. While there is always tension and potential conflict between Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and the military often the conflict results in deals between the opposing forces. This could very well be the case with the two leaders who have left their jobs. In a remarkable move today Morsi actually awarded medals to the two retiring leaders. Some may actually want them to face charges for actions under the Mubarak regime.
On August 14th President Morsi
awarded Field Marshal Tantawi the Order of the NIle. This is Egypt's most prestigious honor. The award was in appreciation for Tantawi's efforts in protecting and serving Egypt. Tantawi served under Mubarak for decades. Lt. Gen. Sami Anan former army chief of staff was awarded the Order of the Republic. The two will also serve as presidential advisers. No doubt they will receive enough to live comfortably in retirement as well! This ceremony seems part of a worked out plan to show that there are no hard feelings at the changes.
The newly appointed Minister of Defense Lt. General Abdel el-Sissi
is also a member of SCAF and former head of military intelligence under Mubarak. General Mohamed al-Assar who is a member of SCAF says that Morsi's decisions were made after consultations with Tantawi himself and SCAF.
Further confirmation that there there was a deal and not a dangerous confrontation comes from Washington's reaction.
George Little a U.S. Defense Department Spokesperson said:
"We had expected President Morsi to coordinate changes in the military leadership....The United States and the Department of Defense, in particular, look forward to continuing a very close relationship with the SCAF."
All in all it the evidence points to a deal between the Egyptian military and Morsi. However, it is a deal that could bring Egypt closer to democracy and is a step in the right direction.