A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Egypt's Interim Cabinet: Which One Do You Notice First?

What's the first thing you notice about this picture? Is it the fact that two of the new Cabinet are women (a third seems to have missed the photo op), or that one is in clerical garb? Perhaps, but I'm guessing you noticed how clearly the uniform stands out among all those dark suits. And General Sisi is also Deputy Prime Minister as well as Defense Minister.

None of that is a surprise of course; in fact, since Sisi is one of the few Defense Ministers in recent years not to hold (yet) the rank of Field Marshal, I suspect he might have a promotion coming. [Update: A commenter notes that traditionally the rank is not given to someone without combat experience. Sisi has not served in a war.]

Nor is he the only military man: Air Marshal Reda Hafez, who was the Commander of the Air Force until last year, remains Minister of State for Military Production, the post to which President Morsi named him last August after retiring him and the other senior commanders. That gives him control over much of Egypt's military industry. And the Interior Minister, as usual, is a general in the security forces, Gen. Muhammad Ibrahim, who held the job under Morsi.

Women hold the Ministries of Health, Environment, and the powerful Information Ministry. There are said to be three Christians.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whether by tradition or by law, a field marshall must have served in a real war. El Sisi was too young and so he missed the last one Egypt participated in. It will be interesting to see how they work their way around this in the future.

Mohammed Morsi, shortly before his exit, seemed to be offering El Sisi just such a war when he informed thousands at a Syria rally that he would be sending in his army; of course, he had not mentioned this to anyone beforehand and El Sisi publically disavowed the idea, stating that the purpose of the army was to defend the homeland.

There are definately two Christians, but I'm not sure who the third is. it was a pretty clever move to have the champion of the "independent" trade unions in the manpower ministry after those products of the 2011 revolution were refused recognition by the SCAF or MB government. Presumably, that will change. The government-controlled unions are, needless to say, furiousl