Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi replaced several top military leaders on Sunday, sharply shifting Egypt’s balance of power. At the top of the list was Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, a crucial ally of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s who has served in the post for more than two decades.
Morsi also vowed to scrap a constitutional declaration put in place by the military before his June 30 inauguration that had essentially stripped the authority of his office. To some observers, Morsi’s actions are seen as the rightful assertion of a civilian-run government. Others see it as an aggressive power grab aimed at giving the Muslim Brotherhood unchecked influence over the military, parliament, and the presidency.
So far there has been no sign of a counter-coup or backlash by the armed forces and there have been some reports that Morsi’s reshuffle was actually made in consultation with the military council.
Do Morsi’s moves reveal a split within the senior leadership of the Egyptian military? Did Morsi just make himself a dictator? What will happen now that Morsi has claimed all the power? What are the implications for the U.S.?
Michele Dunne, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
Jeffrey Martini, Middle East analyst with the RAND Corporation; Co-author of “Democratization in the Arab World: Prospects and Lessons from Around the Globe