08/13/2012, 00.00
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For Egyptian Catholic Church, Gen. Tantawi’s resignation would be “positive”

The decision of President Mohammed Morsi marks the end of the overlapping of power between military and civilian institutions. The change of leadership of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces follows the tragedy of the Rafah crossing (Sinai) and the deaths of seven soldiers. Fears of the islamization of society by the Muslim Brotherhood remain high.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - "The resignation of Gen. Hussein Tantawi, as requested by the president, would be positive and put an end to the the overlapping of power between military and civilian institutions, which impedes the good governance of the country." So says Fr. Greiche Rafiq, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, commenting to AsiaNews on the recent change in the military leadership demanded by Mohammed Morsi. The move by the head of Islamist state has attracted much criticism, but according to the priest it is not against the law. "As in all democracies - he explains - the president can renew the leadership once in power." "What worries us - he continues - is the excessive power of the Muslim Brotherhood and the risk of islamization of Egyptian society."

The demand for resignation of the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), was made August 11. Together with Gen. Tantawi, who was appointed defense minister a few weeks ago, Morsi demanded the resignation of another key SCAF figure, Sami Annan linked to the old regime of Hosni Mubarak. Yesterday, Morsi also announced the cancellation of the constitutional treaty signed June 17, giving the army the legislative power until the presentation of the new constitution. Morsi said that the decision is "for the good of the country." The newly appointed generals belong to the current military establishment None of them are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, although they are all practicing Muslims. However there are still many doubts about the future role of Gen. Tantawi, who has not yet said whether he will accept the President's decision. Meanwhile, the president has already indicated a replacement. He is Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who will also serve as defense minister.

"Many parties - continued Fr. Greiche - while accepting the need for a change, say Morsi has acted unilaterally without consulting the other political forces, increasing distrust of the Islamists." "All Egyptians who believe in a secular state are afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood - he says - but without the excessive military interference, politics will be more transparent and we will know who makes the decisions, whether right or wrong. In the case of unpopular decisions , the Muslim Brotherhood will be the only target of demonstrations and protests. "

The change at the top of the military takes place after an attack by Islamic extremists against a roadblock on the Rafah Crossing Point (North Sinai) on the border with the Gaza Strip and Israel, which killed 16 soldiers. The event shocked Egypt and sparked much criticism of the military, accused of serious negligence in maintaining security in the country, especially in the Sinai Peninsula. In an attempt to reassure Israel and the population, both skeptical about the efficiency of the armed forces, the military has launched a series of air raids to flush out and capture the terrorist groups active in the area.

After the collapse of Mubarak, the area has become a lawless land dominated by Bedouins and terrorist groups. Most of the soldiers killed in the attack had no experience. They were surprised by the terrorists while they were busy celebrating the iftar (the meal that breaks the daily fast of Ramadan), instead of monitoring the outpost. In recent days, the president had also demanded the resignation of intelligence chief Muraf Muwafi, North Sinai governor Abdel Wahab Wabruk and regional chief of police Hamdi Badeen.


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