Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Egypt Army Chief, Turns On Morsi, The President Who Promoted Him
(Reuters, July 3, 2013)
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A career military man, Sisi was groomed for a leadership role after serving in top roles in the command, intelligence and diplomatic branches of the armed forces.
Among his previous postings were a stint as defence attache in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and command positions in the Sinai Peninsula which borders Israel and in the Northern Military Region which includes the second city of Alexandria.
"He had been carefully prepared for a high command position," said Robert Springborg, an expert on the Egyptian military based at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
Apart from his comparative youth among top ranking commanders, two other attributes made him a good fit for the Islamist Mursi seeking a new generation of military leaders.
In a military known for its secularism, Sisi is a devout Muslim, whose wife is said to wear the niqab full-body covering. And after a year at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania in 2005-2006, he was comfortable with the United States, which funds Egypt's military with $1.3 billion a year.
"Insiders in the U.S. government and military were aware of him. He was a name that was mentioned when people talked about next generations," said Springborg.
He had a favourable reputation among those who worked with him in the American military, although his course work was described as showing Islamist leanings, Springborg said.
"Islamic ideology penetrates Sisi's thinking about political and security matters," he said, citing material Sisi produced while at the course.
Steve Gerras, a retired Army colonel who was Sisi's faculty adviser at the college, described him to Reuters as a serious student and pious Muslim, open to the United States and passionate about Egypt's future.
(New York Times, August 17, 2013)
The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.
Israeli officials deny having reassured Egypt about the aid, but acknowledge having lobbied Washington to protect it.
When Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, proposed an amendment halting military aid to Egypt, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee sent a letter to senators on July 31 opposing it, saying it “could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally.” Statements from influential lawmakers echoed the letter, and the Senate defeated the measure, 86 to 13, later that day.