A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Egypt's Cabinet: No Change at Foreign, Finance, Defense; New Interior Minister; Azhari for Awqaf

Egypt's new Cabinet is slowly emerging (it will be sworn in tomorrow), and it looks quite a bit like the old Cabinet. Field Marshal Tantawi, of course, remains Defense Minister (that was certain from the beginning), and the Foreign and Finance Ministers remain in place from the transitional government. That will give a sense of continuity, if that is indeed what was intended, though a fresh start with fresh faces was hoped for by many.

The new Interior Minister will be Maj. Gen. Ahmad Gamal El-Din, Director of the Public Security Authority and, in keeping with a longstanding tradition many would have liked to see changed, a career policeman. Though State Security was "abolished," its replacement, the "National Security" apparatus, looks a great deal like its predecessor.

One piece of good news: a Salafi preacher, Muhammad Yusri Ibrahim, had been claiming to be the new Minister of Awqaf-designate. The Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) is responsible for Islamic religious affairs generally, and a Salafi in that position would have been provocative indeed. Instead the new Minister of Awqaf will be Osama al-‘Abd, an establishment Azhari figure as President of al-Azhar University. The important Education Ministry did go to a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. The other FJP member in the Cabinet is the Housing Minister.

Reports on the new Cabinet here and here. More details here. Six ministers served in the transitional Cabinet.

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