Replacing Tantawi is the head of military intelligence, Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi – one of the generals who defended the use of "virginity tests" against female protesters in March 2011 – with El-Assar as his deputy. The new chief of staff is General Sidqi Sobhi Sayed. The appointments are all members of Scaf.
Tantawi and Anan were honored with accolades, Tantawi receiving the highest medal in the country, the Order of the Nile, and Anan also receiving a medal, which has led to speculation that rather than indicating a face-off, this latest move comes as part of the "safe exit scenario" that would see Scaf members leave office without fear of prosecution for crimes committed against protesters during their tenure, including when army APCs ran over Coptic Christian protesters on 9 October 2011, killing 27.
"What is happening now was planned once Scaf realized they had to make a deal with the Brotherhood anyway," said Sherif Azer, deputy director of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights. "This moment where Scaf would fade back into the background was expected, and I believe that they knew this was their best option for a safe exit, just fade away from the political realm."
Revolutionaries who participated in the ousting of the former president, Hosni Mubarak, in 2011 have remained opposed to the military throughout the transitional period, and have criticized the Muslim Brotherhood for what they see as the party's willingness to forgo the revolution in return for political gain. Gigi Ibrahim, a member of the Revolutionary Socialists group, said: "Morsi and Scaf joined forces in the face of the revolution to simply crush and control Egypt."
With these latest decisions, and the continued absence of an elected parliament, legislative powers revert from Scaf to Morsi. The president also decreed that fresh parliamentary elections would take place 60 days after a new constitution is ratified in a popular referendum.
A constituent assembly was formed to draft the constitution and, if the current assembly fails to come up with a draft, Morsi now has the power to appoint a new assembly to draft Egypt's future constitution.
The president also appointed senior judge Mahmoud Mekki as his vice-president. Mekki was a senior figure in the independent judges movement during the Mubarak era that agitated for more judicial independence. Morsi had promised that his two first appointments would be Coptic Christian and female vice-presidents.
Intellpuke: You can read this article by Guardian Correspondent Abdel-rahman Hussein, reporting from Cairo, Egypt, in context here: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/12/egyptian-defence-chief-ousted-shakeup