Sisi reportedly forming a rapid intervention force
Egypt's military chief, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has reportedly formed a new rapid intervention force as he plans to run for president.
A new report citing informed military sources on Thursday said that Major General Tawfik Abdel-Samei, head of the Egyptian army’s central command, has been appointed as the head of the military body.
On Wednesday, el-Sisi announced his plan to resign as defense minister in order to officially run for presidency.
According to the report, Sisi and Abdel-Samei have handpicked 10,000 Egyptian commando fighters from the various army units to form a special airborne force.
The special airborne force, equipped with air transport and helicopters, is capable of reaching all parts of Egypt and its operations can be accompanied with tanks, self-propelled artillery and counter-terror measures.
Meanwhile, Sisi has reportedly been receiving colossal support from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since he seized power last year, including from former Saudi spymaster, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid al Maktoum.
In the domestic front, Sisi enormously relies on the top military elite and the judiciary as the key supporters for his presidential bid.
Egypt has become the scene of violent demonstrations in protest against Sisi’s new decision.
State institutions and media are all geared toward Sisi's candidacy, a situation which undermines the chances of a fair competition for any other candidate.
Egypt's political parties and figures have repeatedly called on the country’s army to stay out of politics.
El-Sisi ousted the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, last year, following mass protests against his rule.
The UN Human Rights Council recently expressed concern over the Egyptian security forces’ heavy-handed crackdown and the killing of peaceful anti-government protesters.
According to a UK-based rights group, Amnesty International, 1,400 people have been killed in the political violence since Morsi’s ouster in July last year, "most of them due to excessive force used by security forces."