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Military

Sisi’s Policy of Constant Change of Military Leaders

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Since assuming power following the July 2013 military coup, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has adopted a policy of constant change of military leaders, whether inside the army or those appointed as governors and heads of civil bodies.

Maintaining this policy, Sisi, only since 2017, has replaced over 130 high-ranking state and military officials, including the country’s defense and interior ministers, the army chief of staff, the director of the General Intelligence Service, and most recently the chairmen of the Sues Canal Authority – all of them are former military commanders – only to keep an even stronger grip on the military institution and the State in general.

During August 2019, the military institution witnessed several developments, most prominently the dismissal of the Suez Canal Authority chairman, where Sisi replaced Lt. General Mohab Mamish, the then chairman of the Suez Canal Authority with Lt. General Osama Mounir Rabie, the former commander of the naval forces, as the new chairman, as follows:

First: Appointment of former commander of naval forces as chairman of the Suez Canal Authority:

In August 2019, General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree appointing Lt. General Osama Mounir Rabie, former commander of the naval forces, as chairman of the Suez Canal Authority to succeed Lt. General Mohab Mamish, who was appointed as Sisi’s advisor for the projects of the Suez Canal axis and seaports.

Sisi’s decision to overthrow Lt. General Mohab Mamish from his post as chairman of the Suez Canal Authority is a customary action by Sisi, as many similar steps have been taken since the July 3, 2013 coup d’etat. Sisi follows a policy of constantly making changes and reshuffle of leaders within the military institutions as well as those occupying high-ranking posts in government bodies. Under Sisi, no military leader would stay in office for a long time so as not to establish influence and control over his sector. Lt. General Mohab Mamish was appointed as Chairman of the Canal Authority in August 2012 by a decree from President Mohamed Morsi, almost seven years ago. Therefore, some observers believe that Sisi’s decision to dismiss him from chairmanship of the Suez Canal Authority was in line with the policy followed by Sisi, exactly as he had done with many leaders within the military institution, or any officials who seem to be gaining more popularity and influence, such as Maj. General Ahmed Wasfi, Maj. General Osama Askar, Lt. General Kamel al-Wazir and dozens others within the Egyptian army.

However, some military officials believe that what happened after the overthrow of Mamish was in violation of the hierarchical rules within the Egyptian army. When Mohab Mamish was chairman of the Suez Canal, he had had two deputies, according to the official page of the Suez Canal Authority:

1- The first deputy was Lt. General Osama al-Gindi, former commander of the naval forces who was overthrown in 2015.

2- The second deputy was Lt. General Osama Mounir Rabie, former commander of the naval forces who was removed from his position in 2016.

Some military say that with the dismissal of Mamish from the Suez Canal chairmanship, his first deputy, Lt. General Osama al-Gindi, was supposed to succeed him, not the second deputy, Lt. General Osama Mounir Rabie. They argue that this decision came because Al-Gindi was among the military leaders that supported Lt. General Sami Anan, the former chief of staff of the Egyptian army, in his attempt to run the presidential elections in 2018 against Sisi. General Sisi did not only suppress Anan for such move, but also punished all military leaders who supported Anan in making such a decision, including Al-Gindi.

Second: Renewal of appointment of Sherif Seif Al-Din as ACA head:

During August 2019, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi issued decree no. 424 of 2019 renewing the appointment of Maj. General Staff Sherif Seif El-Din – the former commander of the southern zone and member of the junta, on the summons – as acting chairman of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) for one year, starting from 30 August. Al-Sisi also issued decree no. 425 of 2019 which names Amr Adel Ali Hassan Ibrahim as ACA deputy head, as of 24 August.

Maj. General Staff Sherif El-Din Hussein had been in charge of the southern region before he was removed from his position in July 2018. One month after his dismissal, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi decided to appoint him as chairman of the Administrative Control Authority in August 2018 for a year. At the end of the one-year period, Sisi has decided to renew his appointment for one more year.

Sisi’s policy of governance is to militarize senior positions within the state so that the Egyptian institutions could be fully controlled by the military. The Administrative Control Authority (ACA) is headed by a military officer, Maj. General Staff Sherif El-Din Hussein; and the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) – the official statistical agency of Egypt that collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates statistical data and conducts the census – is headed by Maj. General Staff Khairi Mohamed Barakat, who had served as head of the Egyptian Army Personnel Authority and is still member of the military junta, on the summons.

Also, looking at the list of governors recently appointed by Sisi, we find that it included 19 military officers out of 28 governors among them, including three members of the military junta, on the summons list, namely:

1- Major General Staff Mohamed Suleiman Zamalout, current governor of the New Valley and a former commander of the Northern Military Zone.

2- Major General Staff Said Abbas, the current Governor of Monofiya and a former commander of the Northern Military Zone.

3- Major General Staff Ahmed Ibrahim, current governor of Aswan and former commander of the Border Guard Forces.

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