Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi is out. See the news here. Egyptian President Mursi gave him his marching orders today.
Common wisdom has it that Tantawi was a stooge for the U.S. government and Israel, implementing their policies and maintaining Israel’s lock on Gaza.
Will Tantawi, who led Egypt after Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year, go quietly into the sunset of retirement? It’s too soon to tell. But Mursi’s decision is certainly a game-changer.
Along with this announcement, President Mursi also annulled the law that gave the Egyptian military broad powers, and he moved Egyptian tanks up to the border with Israel in the Sinai.
The U.S. certainly can’t count on Egypt and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to do its bidding any longer. The analysts in the halls of the U.S. State Department must be chain-smoking today!
I certainly have no special insight into President Mursi’s mind and heart, but I can only hope that he might be thinking along these lines:
My responsibility is to serve all Egyptians. Historically, we have been ill-served in our relationships with the international community (especially the United States and Israel). The financial $$ aid coming to Egypt has enriched the military and upper class but has done very little to build a strong economy.
Egyptians want jobs and a good future for their children and families. I can’t turn things around quickly, but I know what steps to take to empower Egyptians to build a strong country and to fulfill the hopes and dreams of the revolution last year.
Step #1 – All of my decisions and actions will be made in a transparent process that is understandable to all Egyptians and foreign leaders. No more backroom deals.
Step #2 – I will have an open door policy to every government, including Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, but I will not be a rubber stamp for any0ne’s agenda.
Step #3 – I will use my military to defend Egypt’s security and sovereignty, and all nations will know that Egypt is no one’s stooge.
Step #4 – The 21st century is Egypt’s time to shine. I will lead by example to show everyone at home and abroad that “we all do better when we all do better.” (Thanks to Paul Wellstone.)