Hosni Mubarak: Egyptian President
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak:: the fourth and current President of the Arab Republic of Egypt. He was appointed Vice President in 1975, and assumed the Presidency on 14 October 1981, following the assassination of President Anwar El-Sadat. He is the longest-serving Egyptian ruler since Muhammad Ali Pasha. Before he entered politics Mubarak was a career officer in the Egyptian Air Force, serving as its commander from 1972 to 1975. As of 25 January 2011, Mubarak is struggling to contain a popular uprising against his rule.
Mubarak was born on 4 May 1928, in Kafr-El-Meselha, Monufia Governorate, Egypt. Upon completion of high school, he joined the Egyptian Military Academy, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Military Sciences in 1949. On 2 February 1949, Mubarak left the Military Academy and joined the Air Force Academy, gaining his commission as a pilot officer on 13 March 1950 and eventually receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Sciences. Hosni Mubarak is married to Suzanne Mubarak, and has two sons: Alaa and Gamal.
As an Egyptian Air Force officer, Mubarak served in various formations and units, including two years when he served on one of the Spitfire fighter squadrons. Some time in the 1950s, he returned to the Air Force Academy, this time as an instructor, remaining there until early 1959. From February 1959 to June 1961, Mubarak undertook further training in the Soviet Union, attending a Soviet pilot training school in Moscow and another at Kant, near Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan (then a Soviet republic), an airfield that is today home to the Russian 5th Air Army’s 999th Air Base.
Mubarak undertook training on the Ilyushin Il-28 and Tupolev Tu-16 jet bomber, and then joined the Frunze Military Academy in 1964. On his return to Egypt, Mubarak served in wing and then base commander appointments, taking up command of the Cairo West Air Base in October 1966 before briefly commanding the Beni Suef Air Base.
In November 1967 Mubarak became the Air Force Academy’s commander and two years later he became Chief of Staff for the Egyptian Air Force. His military career reached its pinnacle in 1972 when he became Commander of the Air Force and Egyptian Deputy Minister of Defence and the following year he was promoted to air chief marshal in recognition of service during the October War of 1973.
According to the BBC, Mubarak has survived six assassination attempts. In June 1995 there was an alleged assassination attempt involving noxious gases and Egyptian Islamic Jihad while he was in Ethiopia for a conference of the Organization of African Unity. Upon return Mubarak is said to have authorized bombings on Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya which by 1999 saw 20,000 persons placed in detention related to the revolutionary Islamic organizations. He was also reportedly injured by a knife-wielding assailant in Port Said in September 1999.
Mubarak’s stance on the invasion of Iraq in 2003
President Mubarak spoke out against the 2003 war on Iraq, arguing that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved first. He also claimed that the war would cause “100 Bin Ladens.” President Mubarak does not support an immediate US pull out from Iraq as he believes it will lead to probable chaos.
Most populous Arab nation, with 84.5 million inhabitants
Authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak has ruled for 30 years
Protests against corruption, lack of democracy, inflation, unemployment
Unrest triggered by overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia