Nine years in power, Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, 68, a former army chief himself, is facing a challenge from disaffected officers. It is led by the armed forces’ Chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Osama Askar, who is defying the president’s order of dismissal and hanging on to office. Sources in Cairo read the situation as signifying an attempted military coup against the president.
Gen. Askar was last seen at an officers’ graduation ceremony taking place on June 22 at the Nasser military academy, alongside Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammed Zaki. Reports that a number of high-ranking officers were plotting to unseat the president appear to have led up to Askar’s dismissal. The British weekly The Economist recently revealed that El-Sisi and the Egyptian high command are deeply at odds and the president has taken to frequently reshuffling the generals because he does not trust any of them.
In 2013, El-Sisi led a military uprising to remove Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi from power. He ran for election in 2014 winning a landslide victory to become Egypt’s 8th president.