Using The Sinai Situation, President Mursi Reinforces His Hold

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Context
13-08-2012_Egyptian Military BrassEgypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas have accused Israeli intelligence organization Mossad for orchestrating the Sinai attack on August 5th that lead to the death of 16 Egyptian security troops. On the contrary, Egyptian military had indicated that the ambush might have been carried out with the help of Palestinian militants.

However, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya directly blamed Israel saying it wanted to embarrass Egyptian leadership and undermine its efforts towards ending Gaza blockade. Haniya commented, “No Palestinian wants to kill anybody in Egypt. Any attack against Egypt’s security is also against the security of Palestinians.”

Meanwhile, Israel’s foreign ministry has dismissed the allegations calling them nonsense. The country is preparing itself for the possibility of Sinai militants attacking Israeli vessels in Red Sea and other tourist sites.

On the other hand, Egypt has launched a military operation against the militants responsible for the Sunday attack. Israel has also ceded to Egypt’s request to deploy fighter jets in Sinai for a few days, which otherwise is a demilitarized buffer zone under the 1979 peace treaty.

However, Israel suspects that using the pretext of Sinai incident, President Mursi is cleansing the Egyptian military of officers carrying pro-western orientation. Since the Sinai attack, Mursi has fired the head of Intelligence, Military Police, and the Republican Guard. In a surprise move on August 12th, President Mursi has now also sacked the Egyptian Defense Minister Mohammad Tantawi, the Chief of the General Staff Hafez Sami Annan, and has ordered the retirement of the commanders of navy, air defense and air force. Moreover, he canceled the military-declared constitutional amendments that gave the generals extensive powers.