Recent Intra-Military Activity of Egypt’s Sisi
During July 2018, there was much military-related activity by Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, including attending graduation ceremonies of military cadets, as follows:
First: Sisi Visits Military Academy and Attends Youth Conference
1- Sisi in the Military Academy
Abd Al Fattah Al-Sisi attended on Sunday, 22 April a graduation ceremony of military cadets’ new batch of military academies and technical institutes held at the headquarters of the Military Academy in New Cairo. Minister of the Interior Major General Mahmoud Tawfiq and a large number of assistant ministers attended the ceremony. In his speech at the ceremony, Al-Sisi said that Egypt has faced one of the most serious challenges in its modern history, namely attempts “to create chaos and instability inside the Egyptian state”. During the graduation ceremony, Sisi praised the Egyptian people saying that it remained steadfast and adhering to its values of belonging and loyalty to the homeland.
Talking about the military commanders who led the army movement on July 23, 1952, Sisi wanted to show that the military institution protects and honors its historic commanders, even those who used to have differences with the political leadership: including the late president Mohammed Naguib, the late president Anwar Sadat, the late president Gamal Abdel Nasser and former Minister of Defense Hussein Tantawi, and for the first time Staff Colonel Youssef Siddiq, one of the symbols of the 23 July revolution, who was repressed by the late president Gamal Abdel Nasser.
As usual, Sisi used the opportunity to send messages to the Egyptian people and remind him of the permanent threat to the Egyptian state, chaos and instability. One of the most important messages that Sisi wanted to send to the Egyptian people is that their sacrifices in order to overcome the economic crisis are far less than the suffering they could undergo if they once thought of doing anything to bring about change within the Egyptian state.
2- Sisi at the Youth Conference
During his speech at the University of Cairo’s Sixth National Youth Conference on Saturday 28 July 2018, Sisi stressed that he had not planned or plotted a coup against President Mohamed Morsi, saying that during the first three months of 2013 he had warned against the country’s entering into a dark tunnel.
Al-Sisi’s remarks came after a report, published by the New York Times, revealed details about Obama Administration’s position from the military coup in Egypt, exposing the complicity of the US administration with Sisi’s move regarding the military coup. The report also highlighted the role of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel in pressuring Obama Administration to support the military coup against the elected president (Morsi).
Second: Sisi Promotes and Courts Army Commanders
1- New Director for Sisi’s Office
On 2 July 2018, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi appointed Major General Mohsen Mahmoud Abdel Nabi as new director of the president’s office. Abdel Nabi graduated from the Egyptian Military Academy in 1978, and occupied the position of the director of the Armed Forces’ Morale Affairs Department in January 2014. During his tenure, the Armed Forces’ Morale Affairs Department has been greatly developed; he inaugurated in 2014 the advanced Military Information Center, coinciding with holding the referendum of the Constitution, to follow up the local and international media as part of the department’s tasks.
The former director of Sisi’s office was Major General Abbas Kamel. Kamel took the constitutional oath before Sisi as the new director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service (GIS) on June 28.
Major General Mohsen Abdul Nabi is considered one of Sisi’s most loyal military commanders. The director of the presidential office is one of the important positions within the current presidential system in Egypt. Major General Abbas Kamel, former director of Sisi’s office and current GIS director, had extensive powers within the Egyptian state.
2- Promotion of Mohamed Zaki
On Saturday, July 28, 2018, the newly appointed Minister of Defense Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, was promoted to the rank of General. Sisi announced Zaki’s promotion during the opening session of the sixth Youth Conference. In June, Mohamed Ahmed Zaki took the oath before Al-Sisi as the Minister of Defense in the new cabinet, to succeed Sedki Sobhi. In January, 2017, Sisi approved Zaki’s promotion form Major General to Lieutenant General. It is noteworthy that Zaki was the one who arrested president Mohamed Morsi during the military coup on July 3, 2013.
3- Promotion of Air Force Commander
Being Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Sunday 22/7/2018 approved the promotion of Air Force Commander Mohamed Abbas Helmi Hashim to the rank of lieutenant general. The announcement was made on the fringe of a graduation ceremony of students of the military academies and technical institutes held at the Military Academy premises.
4- Sisi’s Law on Treatment of Senior Army Commanders
On Tuesday, July 3, 2018, members of the Egyptian House of Representatives (parliament) approved the articles of the “Law on Treatment of Some Senior Armed Forces Commanders”, which Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, being the supreme commander of the armed forces, referred to parliament for ratification.
Articles of the draft law
Article 1 of the draft law states that: “Senior commanders in the Armed Forces who are named by a presidential decree shall be summoned to serve the Armed Forces for life. Those who currently hold a position outside the Armed Forces shall be summoned immediately after completing their position.” This means that those “senior officers” will be summoned to serve the Armed Forces during their lifetime, and that those who are holding a civilian post will be recalled to the army service soon after they complete their term in office.
Article 2 stipulates that the: “Senior commanders in the Armed Forces, referred to in Article 1, who have not previously held a ministerial or higher position, shall be treated as a minister, and shall enjoy all privileges and rights stipulated for government ministers.”
Article 3 states that: “A presidential decree shall determine the privileges and other allowances enjoyed by the subjects of this law. The privileges and allowances established under the provisions of this Law may be combined with any privileges established under any other law.”
Article 4 stipulates that: “The persons referred to in Article 1 shall be awarded, by this law, medals of honor as determined by a presidential decree.”
Article 5 states that: “No investigation or judicial action may be initiated against any of the parties to the provisions of this Law for any act committed during the period of suspension of the Constitution until the date of the commencement of the work of the Council of Representatives, during the performance of their positions or because of them, except with the permission of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.”
Article 6 stipulates that: “The persons who are addressed by this law, while traveling abroad, shall enjoy the special immunities stipulated for the heads and members of diplomatic missions throughout the duration of their service and the duration of their summons; and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall take all necessary measures to that end.”
Article 7 provides that: “This Law shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall come into force as of the day following the date of its publication. This law shall be stamped with the seal of the state, and enforced as one of its laws.”