Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Really Concerns me in the Armed forces reshuffle !!

King Farouk checking the army
There are lot of reactions in Egypt following Mohamed Morsi’s daring military reshuffle decisions. Most reactions welcome the decisions. Some consider the decisions as historical ones , after all it is the first time in our modern history that a democratically elected civilian retires and appoints ministers of defense.
Some believe that this is the end of the 60 years military rule of Egypt and the legacy of July 1952. Of course others believe that this is actually just the beginning , it is a deep legacy where ex-army generals control civilian leading positions in many places.
Another team believes that this is a victory for the revolution , after all you kicked out Mubarak’s army men who are accused of sabotaging the #Jan25 Revolution for nearly 16 months.
Meanwhile neutral Egyptians think it was a good move after the fiasco of the army in the massacre of Sinai and the killing of the 16 Egyptian soldiers from the borders guards in Rafah. The Egyptian army needs new blood.
Ironically those who hate the revolution also welcomed the decisions and were happy that Tantawy and Anan were kicked. They already believe that Tantawy and Anan betrayed Mubarak and gave up the country and the army to the Muslim brotherhood , Americans,Iranians and Israel !!! “Do not even ask or debate”
Of course there is another team who does not approve these decision and believe it is a civilian coup against the military in order to start the Muslim brotherhood’s master plan in MB-ization of the army and the State in partnership with the States that want to destroy our army forever.

Ironically that team believes that the new commanders are incompetent young commanders who did not fight a single war with Israel that were appointed by the States as they studied there.
If it is about fighting wars with Israel , I think we should appoint Gamal Hamad , the famous Free officer Historian who fought Israel since 1948 !! And his son is famous GIS !! I do not how I can answer this but Tantawy’s old age is not good either and ironically Abdel Hakim along his staff fought Israel twice “in 1948 and 1956” and I do not need to speak about what happened in 1967. Also Tantawy did not plan for the October 1973 war , he was just a small officer.
Ironically both men fought the Gulf War II.
Regarding that States point , well unfortunately since 1977 the Egyptian army shifted its alliance with the Russians to the Americans. It is not the mistake of the MB I am afraid. This is the result of Sadat’s policies. Also it is worth to mention that the reliance on the US when it comes to military issues increased in time of Mubarak. These generals did not go to the States in secret but they went by the orders of Mubarak and his generals !!
Speaking about the military , MB and the States , I would like you to refresh your memory and read this post about the report written in 2009 by Steven Cook for the Council on foreign relations about Egypt after Mubarak dealing with two scenarios : Islamist revolution and Military coup. A popular revolution like #Jan25 was unpredictable by anyone.
The MB youth are now in the moon actually with that decision that some of them consider more important the Nationalization of Suez canal in 1956 !!! Their hate for Nasser is obvious “ I can understand” but actually only time will tell us if Morsi’s choices for the minister of Defense and chief of staff are good or not.
The MB youth will cheer up for Morsi regardless of what he does. They are proving to be a threat to him if I may see with their blind support for him and the brotherhood.
I must hint out that most if not all the officers in the Egyptian armed forces seemed to be happy that Tantawy and Anan are retired now , especially Tantawy. It was not a secret that Tantawy was unpopular among Egyptian officers for decades not for years even among those army officers who did not like the revolution. Mubarak appointed unpopular man as the minister of defense keeping him for decades to avoid any attempts from coups. Already he got from Abdel Halim Abu Ghazla when he found that his popularity inside and outside the army was increasing. We are third world country and the President should be careful when it comes to the minister of defense and Chief of Staff.
Anyhow aside from the reactions , fears and admirations , these are my two cents.
I want my army to be modern , I want my army to be corruption free. I want my army to manufacture its arms instead of macaroni , I want my army to diversify its arming sources. I want my army to keep its military doctrine as it is , I do not want it to be changed so the Egyptian Army would turn to be like Jordanian army “With my all respect to Jordan” and fight terrorism and organized crime.
Already I think from the good things Tantawy did through all those years was keeping the military doctrine of the army as it is despite the American pressures according to the Wikileaks. Of course if this doctrine has changed by any chance , Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim brotherhood will be cursed in history and they can find themselves in front of extremely angry army before angry people.
There is growing Nationalism in the Egyptian society where strangely Nasser and Sadat are united against MB , the army is just a reflection for the society.
I want my army to keep its secularity like any professional national army. Our army is not as secular as the Turkish army but let’s say I do not want to see an Iranian or Sudanese army in the horizon.
If what I want for my army happens then I believe that the true demands of the revolution considering the army have been fulfilled and Morsi has done a great achievement for real.
Of course there are many doubts that these wants happen because in the end the United States will not let this happen to keep the balance of power in favor of Israel from its point of view.
This is our army which according to international numbers and reports may could be the true last standing Arab army professionally. May God protect Egypt , its people , its land and its army in this blessed night. May God avenge for the souls of those poor soldiers and bring patience for their families and beloved ones. 


  1. The huge dependence on US aid, the corruption and colossal salaries among the high ranks, the accepted fact inside the army that recruits are a form of slave labour used for serving their officers and the officers' families or working in fields and wataneya stores, these are all problems that can not be tackled easily.
    I share your hopes for the Egyptian army, but it is a world of its own that is not easily affected by whatever changes or revolutions happening outside, there has to be a revolution from within.
    I am not suggesting a coup of some sort, but a set of radical changes to the policies which honestly I do not believe that Elsisy is strong enough to perform.

    1. The corruption started with 'the so called US aid' for the last 30+ years, where 70% of it is "military aid !!!!" following supposedly made peace between Egypt &Israel! Who do you think benefit from that stupid so called 'aid'??. If we are in peace why do we need to spend huge money on arms (supplied by US manifactures!!?) is the corruption difficult to track now?. Egypt should focus on tourism, agriculture, education and health care. Forget these politico arm Mafia life the country lived in the last 50 years. Do you see Spain, Italy, Sweden ..etc spend money on arms ???

  2. As long as the minister of defense is an in-service(active) officer, our army won't be independent. Refer to General Saad El-Shazli's Book on October war.

  3. The smooth transition indicates that these changes were agreed upon before being announced to the public.
    The SCAF is still the power to be reckoned with and is happy to move away from politics and continue the comfortable position it had for the past 60 years.
    Now, Morsi and his government are alone in facing the insurmountable economic, social, political and many other problems that were left unresolved for the past 30 years.

  4. Great post Zenobia
    I wish for Egypts army to be strong again like in the days of the pharaohs. For it to stand on its own feet and stop the factory and resort businesses and concentrate like never before to arm, strengthen, manufacture it own weaponry instead of being reliant on others. To become more independant like Iran. Good training, good structure, invest in home made weaponry that you dont have to beg others for spare parts for. Iran is a good example of self reliance.

  5. Thanks for the good post.

    I believe these changes are key for the success of Egypt as a country and one step in the 1000 miles journey to resolve issues developed from the legacy of Mubarak 30 years in power. One of these issues is the forces of Egypt (I mean by the armed forces and all state agencies concerned with the national security) have lost direction and focus on key strategic challenges in Africa and Middle East that has serious impact on Egypt National Security. These challenges are:

    1) the threat on the Nile and Egypt share of the water which is under threat from A) Dames under constructions on the sources feeding the Nile B) the establishment of South Sudan state.
    2) Security in Sinai due the inherited weakness from the restrictions from peace treaty with Israel.
    3) The siege on Gaza is developing into chronic issue that has created the smuggling business with all what it may comes with it.
    4) The lack of strategic geographic depth to defend the main centers in mainland Egypt due to restriction on military presences in Sinai.
    5) The naval threats to the Suez Canal due 1) Israel presences in the Eritrean Waters 2) Instability in Yemen which affect the flow of shipping lines through Bab El Mandeb 3) The Somalian piracy
    6) Threats of more separations/division of Sudan unity especially in Darfur can have long term effects on sleeping separation dreams from some in South Egypt and the immediate threat to lake Naser and High Dam.

    The forces of Egypt, for the past 30 years, has changed or ignored threats definition for national security. Furthermore these bodies have elected to act only within boarders of Egypt on the map and they would deal with a threat only if it cross such boarder lines. In national security, your boarders starts where your national interest reach.

    Some people would argue that Egypt during Naser rule has went beyond boarders and have paid dear price as a result of such national security definitions. I would agree and disagree with them: I agree that the application was badly managed and staffed at the leadership level with the wrong people and I disagree that national security should stay within boarders as countries pay dear price for such strategy (USA in WWII did pay that price)

    The new minister of defense in Egypt and chief of armed forces has really huge task ahead of them around:
    1) How to diversify the sources of arms
    2) How to develop self sufficient capable and high tech military industry. This task should be a national agenda for everybody in Egypt: Army, government, public sector, eduction sector, and private sector.
    3) How to develop the naval forces in Red Sea and extend the arm length and geographical reach for such fleet.
    4) Prepare for the renegotiation of the peace treaty with Israel as a key in resolving key strategic and operational challenges in Sinai.
    5) How to become far less dependent on the US aid
    6) How to create a highly mobile, agile, armed with intense fire power, long reach army divisions to be ready for actions beyond the boarders.

  6. I agree with the above post that Iran is a good example of self-reliance. However, unless one plays ball with their neighbors, it may also see Iran is not admired or loved by any. That then becomes problematic for the ability to keep a peace in the Middle East for long. I recall when Mr. Sadat wrote about her husband's seeming acceptance of the Shah's Peacock Throne and in your face riches during austere times. Mrs Sadat said, "Anwar, these people are going to rise up against him". See her book "A Woman of Egypt"

    She was right.

    You have to also play ball to get along with others and not become an isolated country too. That's important to seek a balance between the two extremes.

  7. This fits into Egypt's national pass-time - always blame Sadat, never Nasser. The relation between Nasser and the Soviets was always tenuous because Nasser assiduously suppressed the Egyptian Communists. This precluded whole-hearted Soviet support, which alone would have given Egypt a chance to prevail against Israel.

    This is not the time for a wish-list about the army. A decent army, not more concerned with business than military matters, can come only with complete civilian control. The only chance of this is with Morsi and the Brotherhood. Given that the government AND THE PEOPLE are religious, very likely the army will have some of that character. At this point, waxing lyrical about the military can only hurt the reform of that institution and therefore, in the end, Egypt's military capabilities.


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