Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

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Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi 2013-03-03.jpg
Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt[1]
In office
16 July 2013 – 26 March 2014
President Adly Mansour (Acting)
Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi (Acting)
Ibrahim Mahlab (Acting)
Preceded by Momtaz El Saeed
44th Minister of Defence[2]
In office
12 August 2012 – 26 March 2014
President Mohamed Morsi
Adly Mansour (Acting)
Prime Minister Hesham Qandil
Hazem Al Beblawi (Acting)
Ibrahim Mahlab (Acting)
Preceded by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi
Succeeded by Sedki Sobhi[3]
Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Egypt
In office
12 August 2012 – 26 March 2014
President Mohamed Morsi
Adly Mansour (Acting)
Prime Minister Hesham Qandil
Hazem Al Beblawi (Acting)
Ibrahim Mahlab (Acting)
Preceded by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi
Succeeded by Sedki Sobhi[3]
Personal details
Born Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil El-Sisi
(1954-11-19) 19 November 1954 (age 59)
Cairo, Egypt
Political party Independent
Religion Sunni Islam
Website Official Website
Military service
Allegiance Egypt
Service/branch Egyptian Army
Years of service 1977–2014
Rank EgyField Marshal.png

Field Marshal

Unit Infantry
Commands Minister of Defense and Military Production
Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance
Northern Military Region
23rd Mechanized Division (Suez)
Battles/wars

Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil El-Sisi (Arabic: عبد الفتاح سعيد حسين خليل السيسي‎, Abd al-Fattāḥ Sa'īd Ḥusayn Khalīl Al-Sīsī, IPA: [ʕæbdel.fætˈtæːħ sæˈʕiːd ħeˈseːn xæˈliːl esˈsiːsi];, born 19 November 1954) is an Egyptian military commander who was Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, as well as Minister of Defence, from 12 August 2012 until 26 March 2014.[4] As head of the armed forces, he played the leading role in ousting Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état, following mass protests against Morsi and his government. El-Sisi was subsequently appointed as First Deputy Prime Minister, while remaining Minister of Defense. El-Sisi confirmed on 26 March 2014 that he will run for president in the 2014 presidential election.[4]

Early life and military education

El-Sisi was born in Cairo on 19 November 1954.[5]

He graduated from the Egyptian Military Academy in 1977. He attended the following courses:

Career

El-Sisi received his commission as a military officer in 1977 serving in the mechanized infantry, specializing in anti-tank warfare and mortar warfare. He became Commander of the Northern Military Region-Alexandria in 2008 and then Director of Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance. El-Sisi was the youngest member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt. While a member of the Supreme Council, he made controversial statements regarding allegations that Egyptian soldiers had subjected detained female demonstrators to forced virginity tests. He is reported to have told Egypt's state-owned newspaper that "the virginity-test procedure was done to protect the girls from rape as well as to protect the soldiers and officers from rape accusations."[5] He was the first member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to admit that the invasive tests had been carried out.[7]

Main command positions

Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as a General
  • Commander, 509th Mechanized Infantry Battalion[6]
  • Chief of Staff, 134th Mechanized Infantry Brigade[6]
  • Commander, 16th Mechanized Infantry Brigade[6]
  • Chief of Staff, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Division[6]
  • Chief of Staff, Northern Military Zone[6]
  • Deputy Director, Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance Department[6]

Minister of defense

On 12 August 2012, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi made a decision to replace Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, with El-Sisi, and promoted him to the rank of general.[8] El-Sisi also took the post of Minister of Defense and Military Production in the Qandil Cabinet.

After El-Sisi was appointed as minister of defense on 12 August 2012, there were concerns in Egypt regarding rumors that General El-Sisi was the hand of the Muslim Brotherhood in the army, though El-Sisi has always declared that the Egyptian army stands on the side of Egyptian people. On 28 April 2013, during celebrations for Sinai Liberation Day, El-Sisi said that, "the hand that harms any Egyptian must be cut".[9] This statement was taken by Morsi opponents as a clarification that the Army is in support of the people. However, the statement was interpreted by Morsi supporters as a warning to Morsi opponents that El-Sisi would not allow an overthrow of the government. He remained in office under the new government formed after the coup that deposed Morsi, and led by Hazem Al Beblawi. He was also appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt. On 27 January 2014, he was promoted to the rank of field marshal.[10]

2013 Egyptian coup d'état

On 30 June 2013, in response to the Tamarod movement, mass demonstrations took place in Tahrir Square and Heliopolis Palace in Cairo as well as in other Egyptian cities including Alexandria, Port Said and Suez.

Clashes took place around Egypt. Soon afterwards, the Egyptian Army issued a 48-hour ultimatum which aired on television that gave the country's political parties until 3 July to meet the demands of the anti-Morsi demonstrators. The Egyptian military also threatened to intervene if the dispute was not resolved by then.[11]

On 2 July 2013, the presidency rejected the Egyptian Army's 48-hour ultimatum and Morsi made a late speech declaring that he would "defend the legitimacy of his elected office with his life and he won't step down".

On 3 July 2013, the Egyptian Army declared that as the political parties had failed to meet the deadline and Morsi had failed to build a national consensus for his leadership, they had to overthrow Morsi. The Egyptian Army then installed Adly Mansour as the interim head of state in his place, and ordered the arrest of many members of the Muslim Brotherhood on charges of "inciting violence and disturbing general security and peace."[12] El-Sisi announced on television that the president had "failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people" and declared that the constitution would be suspended, which was met by acceptance from anti-Morsi demonstrations and condemnation from pro-Morsi supporters in Rabia Al-Adwyyiah. Many Islamist movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Wasat Party and al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, rejected the change of regime as a military coup, which they described as "illegitimate" and "anti-democratic".[13]

In November 2013, Morsi claimed to have been kidnapped by the Armed Forces and held at the Republican Guard headquarters a day before the army announced his removal; he claimed that he had been kept there until 5 July and forcibly moved again to a naval base where he spent the next four months.[14][15][16] The Egyptian Armed Forces later gave Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, permission to meet him. Ashton later stated that Morsi was doing well.[17]

The new Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi decided to split the Ministry of Defense and Military Production into two ministries. El-Sisi retained the defense portfolio, while Air Marshall Reda Hafez received the military production portfolio until El-Sisi got it back again on 3 December 2013 following Hafez's death. Beblawi also named El-Sisi as First Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt. He was sworn in on 16 July 2013.[18]

Egyptian presidential election, 2014

The anti-Morsi demonstrators on the streets welcomed El-Sisi's overthrow of Morsi with celebrations and carried posters of El-Sisi, chanting "The Army and the People are one hand" and supporting General El-Sisi. On social networks, thousands of Egyptians changed their profile pictures to pictures of El-Sisi, while others started campaigns requesting that El-Sisi be promoted to the rank of field marshal, while others hoped he would be nominated in the next presidential elections.[19]

On 6 December 2013, El-Sisi was named the Time Person of the Year in Time magazine's annual reader poll.[20] The accompanying article noted "Sisi's success reflected the genuine popularity of a man who led what was essentially a military coup in July against the democratically elected government of then President Mohammed Morsi.".[20]

Cupcakes, chocolate and necklaces bearing the "CC" initials were created, restaurants in Egypt named sandwiches after him, blogs shared his pictures, and columns, op-eds, TV shows and interviews discussed the "new idol of the Nile valley" in the Egyptian mainstream media.[19][21][22][23]

On 6 December 2013, El-Sisi was named "Time Person of the Year" in Time magazine's annual reader poll.[24] The accompanying article noted "Sisi's success reflected the genuine popularity of a man who led what was essentially a military coup in July against the democratically elected government of then President Mohammed Morsi.".[25]

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel participates in an arrival honors ceremony with Egyptian Minister of Defense, Abdel Fatah Saeed Al Sisy, in Cairo, Egypt, 24 April 2013

"Kamel Gemilak" or (Complete your kindness) and "El-Sisi for president" are campaigns that were started aiming to gather signatures in order to press El-Sisi, who has said he has no desire to govern, to run.[26] Many politicians and parties including Egyptians and non-Egyptians had announced their support for El-Sisi in the event of his running for president, including the National Salvation Front,[27] Tamarod,[28] Amr Moussa, the previous candidate for the presidency,[29] Hamdeen Sabahi,[30] Abdel-Hakim Abdel-Nasser (son of President Gamal Abdel Nasser),[31] unsuccessful presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik,[32][33] Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi,[34] Naguib Sawiris,[35] the Free Egyptians Party, The Revolutionary Forces Bloc,[36] and the Russian president Vladimir Putin.[37] However, Hamdeen Sabahi may run against him in a future presidential race.[38] Subsequently, Sabahi has issued criticisms of Sisi and his potential candidacy by expressing doubt about Sisi's commitment to democracy, arguing that the general bears a measure of direct and indirect responsibility for the human rights violations carried out during the period of the interim government, and denouncing what he deems to be the transitional government's hostility toward the goals of the revolution.[39][40][41]

Kamel Gemilak has claimed to have collected 26 million signatures asking Sisi to run for president.[42]

On 21 January 2014, Kamel Gemilak organized a mass conference call in Cairo International Stadium to call on El-Sisi to run for president.[43]

In 6 February 2014, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyassah has announced that El-Sisi will run for president saying that he had said that no alternative but to meet the wishes of the Egyptian people for him to run.[44][45] Colonel Ahmed Ali the Egyptian army's spokesperson later denied the news saying that it's not accurate through his official Facebook page.[46]

El-Sisi confirmed on 26 March 2014 that he will run for president in the 2014 presidential election.[4] Shortly after his announcement, a popular hashtag, which translates as "vote for the pimp" has been tweeted hundreds of thousands of times. It became one of the methods used against al-Sisi and against his candidacy.[47]

Call for mass demonstrations

On 24 July 2013, during a speech at a military parade, General El-Sisi called for mass demonstrations to grant the Egyptian military and police a "mandate" to crack down on terrorism.[48] Some interpreted this to mean that El-Sisi felt the need of the people to prove to the world that it wasn't a coup but the popular will, while the statement was seen by others as contradicting the military's pledges to hand over power to civilians after removing Morsi and as indicating an imminent crackdown against Islamists.[49][50]

The reactions to El-Sisi's announcement ranged from open support from the Egyptian presidency[51] and the Tamarod movement[52] to rejection, not only by the Muslim Brotherhood,[49] but also by the Salafi Al-Nour Party,[53] the moderate Strong Egypt Party,[54] the revolutionary April 6 Youth Movement[55] and Egyptian human rights groups.[56]

However, on 26 July 2013, millions rallied across Egypt, responding to El-Sisi's call, a gathering which was described as "the largest crowds in 2½ years of upheaval" and even bigger numbers than 30 June's numbers.[57]

During the August 2013 Egyptian raids, the Egyptian military under El-Sisi's command joined with the national police in removing camps of Muslim Brotherhood supporters from sit-ins being held throughout the country. This action resulted in rapidly escalating violence that eventually led to the deaths of 638 people, of whom 595 were civilians and 43 police officers, with at least 3,994 injured. Some liberal activists who had supported the ousting of Morsi publicly voiced their concerns: "I'm not happy when they use violence. And I'm worried about them using it again," said Gamal Eid, a well-known human rights activist.[58][59][60] Robert Fisk described General El-Sisi as at a loss, but that a massacre would go down in history as an infamy.[61] Lee Smith concluded that "Egypt’s New Leader Is Unfit to Rule".[62] In a file published by the State Information Services, the government explained the raids by claiming that police went on to use force dispersing the sit-in on 14 August 2013, with the least possible damage, causing hundreds of civilians and police to fall as victims, while Muslim Brotherhood supporters imposed a blockade for 46 days against the people in Al Nahda and Rabaa al-Adawiya squares under the name of sit-in where tens of protests took to the street daily hindered the lives of the Egyptians, causing unrest and the death or injury of many victims as well as damage to public and private properties.[63] A poll by the Egyptian Centre for Public Opinion Research later showed that 67 percent of Egyptians were satisfied concerning the methods by which the Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-ins had been dispersed.[64][65][66]

On 3 August 2013, El-Sisi gave his first interview since the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi. Speaking to The Washington Post, he criticized the U.S. response and accused the Obama administration of disregarding the Egyptian popular will and of providing insufficient support amid threats of a civil war, saying, "You left the Egyptians. You turned your back on the Egyptians, and they won't forget that."[67]

6 October war anniversary

On 6 October war anniversary, El-Sisi announced that the army was committed to the popular mandate of 26 July 2013: "We are committed, in front of God, to the Egyptian and Arab people that we will protect Egypt, the Egyptians and their free will."[68]

During the anniversary celebration, General El-Sisi invited the Emirati, Iraqi, Bahraini, Moroccan and Jordanian defense ministers to celebrate with Egypt. During his speech he said in a warning way that the Egyptian people "will never forget who stood with them or against them". El-Sisi described 6 October as "a day to celebrate for all Arabs", hoping for the "unification of Arabs". He also thanked "Egypt's Arab brothers, who stood by its side." El-Sisi commented on the relationship between the Egyptian army and Egyptian people, saying that it is hard to break. El-Sisi said: “We would die before you [the Egyptian people] would feel pain". He also compared the Egyptian army to the Pyramid, saying that "it cannot be broken".[68]

Personal life

Unlike previous leaders, El-Sisi has been protective of the privacy of his family.[69] El-Sisi is married and the father of three sons and one daughter. El-Sisi comes from a religious family and frequently inserts Quranic verses into informal conversations;[70] El-Sisi's wife wears the traditional Islamic Hijab. He is known to be quiet and is often called the Quiet General. He loves to read about history and law. Due to being orderly, Sisi was often called General Sisi when he was young.[69]

According to Sherifa Zuhur, a professor at the War College, when El-Sisi attended, many American officers expressed doubts that Muslims could be democratic, which he disputed, and he and others were critical of decisions made in Iraq. Zuhur also had the impression that El-Sisi supported gradual move towards pluralism.[71]

Medals and decorations

  • 25 April Decoration (Liberation of Sinai)[6]
  • Distinguished Service Decoration[6]
  • Military Duty Decoration, Second Class[6]
  • Military Duty Decoration, First Class[6]
  • Longevity and Exemplary Medal[6]
  • Liberation of Kuwait Medal[6]
  • Silver Jubilee of October War Medal[6]
  • Golden Jubilee of 23 July Revolution[6]
  • Silver Jubilee of the Liberation of Sinai Medal[6]
  • 25 January Revolution Medal[6]

See also

References

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  2. ^ "Abdel Fattah al Sisi: New commander of the armed forces". Egypt Independent. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
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  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Profile: Egypt armed forces chief Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi". State Information Service. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Egypt amnesty virginity BBC. 27 June 2011.
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  38. ^ David Kirkpatrick. (28 January 2014). Egypt’s Ruler Eyes Riskier Role: The Presidency The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
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  62. ^ Smith, Lee (20 August 2013). "Viewpoint: Egypt’s New Leader Is Unfit to Rule". Time. 
  63. ^ State Information Services (15 August 2013). "Sit in Dispersal". State Information Services. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
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  66. ^ "67% of Egyptians are satisfied with dispersal of Brotherhood sit-ins: Baseera". Ahram online. 
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  68. ^ a b "Egypt rights groups voice misgiving about army's call for rallies". Daily News Egypt. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  69. ^ a b "The Quiet General". Newsweek. 16 August 2013. 
  70. ^ "Sisi's Islamist Agenda for Egypt". Foreign Affairs. 
  71. ^ Egypt’s army: Ambitious men in uniform The Economist.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi
Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces
2012–2014
Succeeded by
Sedki Sobhi
Political offices
Preceded by
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi
Minister of Defence
2012–2014
Succeeded by
Sedki Sobhi
Preceded by
Mohamed Morsi
Supreme Commander of the Egyptian Armed Forces
2013–2014
Succeeded by
Sedki Sobhi
Preceded by
Momtaz El Saeed
Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt
2013–present
Incumbent