In what is apparently the first protest by a member of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces over President Mohamed Morsi’s dismissal of several senior commanders, General Hassan al-Rawini, a council member and head of the Egyptian Army’s Central Command, has resigned.
The sixth member of the military council to resign or be fired since Morsi assumed the presidency, Rawini gave no reason for his resignation other than to say it was for personal reasons.
During last year's Egyptian revolution, Rawini was responsible for the deployment of troops in the country's main cities. He is hated by many young Egyptians who participated in demonstrations against the Mubarak regime and clashed with security forces.
On Sunday, Morsi dismissed defense minister and military council head Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and armed forces chief of staff Gen. Sami Anan.
According to Egyptian media reports, the two will serve as security advisers to the president. At the same time, Morsi announced the appointment of Lt. Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi as defense minister and commander in chief, while Gen. Sadki Sabhi was appointed armed forces chief of staff.
Morsi also named former judge Mahmoud Mohamed Mekki as his vice president. It is only the second time in 30 years that an Egyptian president has appointed a vice president.
Last week, intelligence chief Gen. Murad Muafi was dismissed and replaced by senior intelligence official Mohamed Raafat Shehata. Shehata was seen leading Gilad Shalit toward his handover to Israel after the military wing of Hamas freed the captured soldier last October.
Morsi also got rid of other senior Egyptian security officials, among them Northern Sinai governor Abdel Wahab Mabrouk; Northern Sinai security chief Maj.-Gen. Saleh al-Masri; Military Police chief Gen. Hamdy Badin, and the commander of the Presidential Guard.
The dismissals of senior army brass follow the attack early last week at the Kerem Shalom crossing, in which 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed. Morsi appears to be exploiting that attack to disengage the Egyptian security establishment from the centers of power under its control.
In addition to the dismissals, Morsi also voided constitutional changes declared by the Supreme Military Council just before it handover of power to Morsi. The amendments gave the military most of the authority for administering the country as well as control over the state budget.
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