In a surprise move, on Tuesday evening the defence minister replaced the country’s top brass.It really is just the top brass, the Chiefs of the Greek National Defence Staff, of the Greek Army Staff, of the Greek Air Force and of the Greek Navy General Staff who have been replaced. What is one to make of it? If this move is pre-emptive then it does not go far enough. Any government, particularly the Greek one, that wishes to prevent a military coup needs to purge the entire officer corps down to the colonels.
An extraordinary meeting of the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defence (Kysea), which comprises the prime minister and other key cabinet members, accepted Defence Minister Panos Beglitis' proposal that the following changes be made to army, navy and air force and the general staff.
Naturally, this has caused a political outcry, particularly from the Opposition. Bloomberg says that twelve other commissioned officers have been relieved of their duties. Could it be that, rather than preventing a military coup, Prime Minister George Papandreou is planning one? There is, after all, a crucial confidence vote coming up on Friday.