World Bulletin / News Desk
Senior advisers have revealed that plans to install Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi as the president of Egypt were drawn up long before former dictator Hosni Mubarak was even removed from office.
Speaking to the Telegraph, advisers said that Sisi was chosen to lead the country before he had even became the top general of the army, while he was still just in charge of military intelligence back in 2010.
Back then, differences were beginning to emerge between the 82-year-old Hosni Mubarak and the army, which was then under the command of Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi. It was feared that Mubarak's plan to pass on the leadership position to his son would stir social unrest.
Sisi had in a report stated his belief that the army need to play a more direct role in the country's administration in a report he drew up regarding Egypt's political future. The 2011 Arab Spring uprising, which was triggered by protests in Tunisia, then gave the Egyptian army the mandate to spill onto the streets 'for the interest of the Egyptian people'.
Even before Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign in February 2011, “the army already had plans to deploy,” Hassan Nafaa, a prominent political scientist, told the Telegraph.
“I came to the conclusion that the army took advantage of the revolution to get rid of Mr Mubarak’s scheme of succession - maybe also that they had to sacrifice Mubarak, rather than the regime itself,” he added.
Before being elected as president in Egypt's election last weeked, gaining a landslide victory over his only rival Hamdeen Sabahi with 97% of the votes, Sisi was serving as the interim government's defence minister. It has also been claimed that he had already been hand-picked by former general Tantawi to take the post ahead of second-in-command Sami Enan while he was still as colonel.
“Even when he was still a colonel, we all knew he would be the next defence minister,” said a senior military officer told the Telegraph.
Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first elected president and Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, replaced General Tantawi with Sisi shortly after his election, as Sisi was known for being a devout Muslim. However, Sisi was also very close with Tantawi, who according to many would refer to Sisi as his 'son'.
On July 3, Sisi took advantage of mass demonstrations against Morsi's rule, which was plagued with economic problems, and carried out a military coup on the government. However, the interim government that came to power afterwards has struggled to assert its control and legitimacy over the Egyptian people, many of whom fear a reversion to the old regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Although Sisi was elected by 97% of voters, the voter turnout in the elections was much lower than expected, indicating that Sisi will have a difficult time now trying to pick up the pieces of a shattered political system.
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