Sunday 24 September 2017

Maggie Fick: Egypt's army chief turns on the president who promoted him

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi sleep on the floor during a sit-in protest demanding that Mursi resign at Tahrir Square in Cairo July 2, 2013
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi sleep on the floor during a sit-in protest demanding that Mursi resign at Tahrir Square in Cairo July 2, 2013

WHEN President Mohamed Mursi swept aside the ageing commanders of Egypt's military a year ago and named a soft-spoken, deeply religious younger general to head the armed forces, it was a demonstration that the military was now subordinate to Egypt's first freely elected leader.

Fast forward one year, and now it is the general, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who appears poised to sweep aside the president.

At the time of his appointment last August, the choice of Sisi, 58, seemed to suit both Mursi and the younger generation of army commanders seeking promotion after years under older generals, like 78-year-old Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak's defence minister for two decades.

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