MUBARAK, Mohammed Hosni

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mohammed Hosni Mubarak was born on May 4, 1928 in the village of Kafr el-Musaliha located in the governorate of Al-Menoufiyah in the Delta region. He is married to Suzanne Thabet with whom he had two sons, Alaa and Gamal.

Training

After finishing high school, he joined the Military Academy and obtained a degree in Military Sciences. He then joined the Air Force Academy in 1950 and received a new diploma in Aviation Sciences.

Military Career

Mubarak then began a military career. He held numerous positions within the Egyptian Air Force successively pilot, instructor, squadron leader and base commander. In 1964, he became the head of the Egyptian delegation to the USSR for a little more than a year and was then appointed commander of the air base of Cairo West . From 1967 to 1972, between the two Arab-Israeli wars, he is finally appointed as Head of the Academy and Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

Political Career

Mubarak began his political career under Sadat who appointed him Commander in Chief of the Air Force and Minister for Military Affairs. Promoted Air Marshal following the Yom Kippur War, he was appointed Vice-President of the Republic in 1975, and Vice-Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP) three years later. Therefore, everything designed him then as the successor of Anwar Sadat at the head of the country.

On October 6, 1981 the latter was assassinated by Islamists during the military parade recalling the Egyptian victory. Hosni Mubarak became the leader of the country and the NDP.

Domestic politics

The regime set up by President Mubarak is authoritarian. Having declared a state of emergency following the assassination of his predecessor, he has never withdrawn it.

Mubarak has never made a real political opening. From the outset of his presidency, he feared the power of potential adversaries. In February 1986, he faces a mutiny of 17,000 conscripts of Central Security Forces. Abu Ghazala, the Minister of Defense at the time, managed to control it, which gave him a great relationship with the population. Fearing his power, Mubarak removed him from office. As the sole candidate, Hosni Mubarak was reelected to the Presidency of the Republic in 1987.

The elections of 1993 and 1999 reproduce the same situation. But in 2005, the presidential election was opened to other candidates as a result of pressure exerted by the United States in favour of democratic efforts. On 9 September 2005, Mubarak was re-elected with 88.5% of the vote. Many voices raised then to denounce rigged elections. His main opponent, Ayman Nour was jailed in December of that year for embezzlement, which many interpreted it as a way to reject it politically.

Today, there are rumors in the country on a future transfer of power from Hosni Mubarak to his son Gamal. He raised indeed rapidly through the ranks in the PND and progressively appears to be prepared to take over the post.

As for the attitude of Mubarak to the fundamentalists, it has hardened over the years. After a few years of laxity, it has indeed resumed the repressive policy of his predecessor. The Islamist movements of the Gamaat Al Islamiya and al-Jihad al-Islami intensified their campaign against him from 1992. Many of their attacks were attributed to them: an attack on a bus of tourists in Luxor in 1997, two attacks in Cairo and one Sharm el-Sheikh in 2005 and one in 2006 in the resort of Dahab on the Red Sea.

The opposition is now mainly carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood. To counter this organization, the latest constitutional revision introduced amendments prohibiting religious parties.

Foreign policy

While his domestic policy is often criticized, both inside and outside, President Mubarak’s foreign policy often allows him to restore his image.

Like Sadat had initiated during his reversal of 70 years, Mubarak maintained a foreign policy that looks to the United States. However, unlike its predecessor, he resumed contacts with the USSR.

On the regional level, Egypt was rejected of the Arab regional system because of the peace with Israel in 1979. But little by little, thanks to Mubarak’s clever political  management, Egypt recovered its place as regional political leader through its pro-Iraq actions in the Iran-Iraq war. A few years later, however, Egypt led Arab opposition to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

In recent years, Egypt appears to have lost much of the regional leadership for the benefit of Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, it remains one of the only Arab states to have signed peace with Israel (only Jordan has followed the same path in 1994), and often carries the role of mediator between the Israelis and Palestinians as such.