Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s president, has ordered two of the most powerful figures in Egypt’s army to step down.
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who headed the military council that ruled Egypt for 17 months after Hosni Mubarak’s fall in February 2011, and the military council’s No 2, army Chief of Staff Sami Anan, were both ordered to retire on Sunday.
Morsi said the decision was aimed at benefiting “this nation and the people of Egypt” and the move is seen as part of a series of far-reaching changes initiated by the new Morsi govenment.
Here are brief profiles of the two men asked to step down.
|Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi|
|Tantawi joined the Egyptian army in 1956 [Reuters]|
Born in Upper Egypt in 1935 and joined the army in 1956.
Over the next half-century he fought in all of Egypt’s major wars, including the 1967 and 1973 confrontations with Israel, and held the rank of field marshal.
Tantawi was appointed defence minister in 1991.
He became deputy prime minister, in addition to his post as defence minister, when Mubarak sacked his cabinet in an attempt to calm mass protests on January 29, 2011.
Tantawi became the gead of the Higher Military Council after Mubarak stepped down in February 2011.
He was often disparagingly referred to as “Mubarak’s poodle” for his perceived obedience to Mubarak.
General Abdul-Fatah al-Sessi has replaced Tantawi as defence minister and the general commander of the army.
|General Sami Enan|
|Anan, right, was second in command of the army until his firing [EPA]|
Born in Mansoura, in the Nile Delta, Anan joined the military in 1967 and rose through the ranks of its air defence command.
He headed the command from 2001 until 2005, when he was appointed chief of staff and the commander of 468,000 troops.
He was seen as having a crucial role in co-ordinating interim arrangements for the government in Egypt.
Anan, 63, was in Washington when the uprising began and he cut short his visit to return.
It was reported that the US was pushing Anan for a key mediating role, though it was speculated that he was far too close to Mubarak to retain any role in a new government.
Anan has been a public figure since the Egyptian revolution – he toured polling stations during the first round of the presidential election – and he has met on numerous occasions leaders from Egypt’s various political factions.
He also appeared in front of protesters in Tahrir Square in February 2011 and promised to safeguard the interests of the people.
After the revolution, he became second in command of the army, behind Field Marshal Tantawi.
Lieutenant-General Sidki Sayed Ahmed has been named as Anan’s replacement.