Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

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Mohamed Hussein Tantawi
محمد حسين طنطاوي
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi 2002.jpg
Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt
In office
11 February 2011 – 30 June 2012
Prime Minister
Deputy Sami Anan
Preceded by Hosni Mubarak (President)
Succeeded by Mohammed Morsi (President)
Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement
In office
11 February 2011 – 30 June 2012
Preceded by Hosni Mubarak
Succeeded by Mohamed Morsi
Minister of Defence and Military Production
In office
20 May 1991 – 12 August 2012
Prime Minister
Preceded by Sabri Abu Taleb
Succeeded by Abdul Fatah al-Sisi
Personal details
Born (1935-10-31) 31 October 1935 (age 78)
Cairo, Egypt
Political party Independent
Religion Islam
Military service
Allegiance  Egypt
Service/branch Egyptian Army
Years of service 1955–2012
Rank EgyptianArmyInsignia-FieldMarshal.svg Field Marshal
Commands Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
Battles/wars
Awards
  • Liberation Order
  • United Arab Republic Anniversary Order
  • Distinguished Service Order
  • Order of the Nile

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Soliman (Arabic: محمد حسين طنطاوى سليمان ‎, Egyptian Arabic: [mæˈħæmmæd ħeˈseːn tˤɑnˈtˤɑːwi seleˈmæːn]; born 31 October 1935) is an Egyptian field marshal and former statesman. He was the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces[1] and, as Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, was the de facto head of state from the ouster of Hosni Mubarak on 11 February 2011 to the inauguration of Mohamed Morsi as President of Egypt on 30 June 2012. Tantawi served in the government as minister of defense and military production from 1991 until Morsi ordered Tantawi to retire on 12 August 2012.

Military career[edit]

Tantawi, who is of Nubian origin,[2][3] received his commission as a military officer on 1 April 1955 serving in the infantry. Later that year he took part in the Suez War (or the Tripartite Aggression as it is often known in Egypt). Later in his career he was involved in the Six-Day War of 1967, the War of Attrition of 1967–1970, and the October or Yom Kippur War of 1973. He held various command and staff appointments including both the Chief of Staff and then Commander of the Egyptian Second Army. Additionally he has served as the military attaché to Pakistan, an important role given the two countries political and military links. Tantawi has served as Commander of the Republican Guard, and Chief of the Operations Authority of the Armed Forces. In 1991, he also commanded an Egyptian Army unit in the U.S.-led Gulf War against Iraq to force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, which it invaded in 1990.

On 29 May 1991, following the dismissal of Lt. General Youssef Sabri Abu Taleb,[4] Tantawi was appointed as minister of defense and military production and commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces. He was also appointed as field marshal. It is believed that Tantawi would have succeeded Mubarak as president of Egypt, had the assassination attempt in June 1995 been successful.[5] Early in 2011, Tantawi was seen as a possible contender for the Egyptian presidency.[6]

2011–2012 Egyptian Revolution[edit]

On 11 February 2011, when President Hosni Mubarak resigned, after 18 days of protests from the Egyptian people, Tantawi transferred authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, headed by himself. The council, overseeing issues with the Chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Farouk Sultan, dissolved the Egyptian parliament,[7] overseen the referendum over temporary constitutional amendments took place on 19 March, and presided over the accountability of Mubarak and many of the former regime's top figures summons to justice.

On a personal level, Tantawi kept a relatively low profile since the handing over of power to the Council, only making a first public appearance in an address to mark the graduation of a batch at the Police Academy on 16 May 2011. He opted to leave most public speeches and press releases to other senior members in the council, he also appointed Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and his cabinet. Tantawi also received a number of foreign officials, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

After a new series of protests in November 2011, that escalated by 22 November to over 33 dead and over 2,000 injured in the wake of the use of force by the police to quell protests at Tahrir Square and its vicinity, Tantawi appeared on Egyptian national television to pledge the speeding up of presidential elections – the principal demand of protesters – and that the armed forces "are fully prepared to immediately hand over power and to return to their original duty in protecting the homeland if that's what the people want, through a popular referendum if necessary.[8]

On 12 August 2012, Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi ordered Tantawi to retire as head of the armed forces and defence minister.[9] Tantawi has been decorated with the Order of the Nile and appointed, instead, as an advisor to Morsi; there is speculation that his removal is part of a pre-arranged withdrawal by the military from political power in exchange for immunity from prosecution for earlier actions.[10]

Criticism[edit]

Criticism of Tantawi in Egypt has been manyfold,[11] including many chants in Tahrir for him to leave.[12] Chants against Tantawi have included "Tantawi stripped your women naked, come join us."[13] According to The Telegraph, protesters have also "demanded the execution of Tantawi."[13]

Nabeel Rajab, the head of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, criticized Tantawi for his reception for king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in October 2011. "This is a very bad message from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to the international community, the Egyptian and Bahraini people", he said. "Continuing this path threatens Egypt's democratic future", he added.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Cabinet". Website of the President of Egypt. 2005. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2007. 
  2. ^ Egypt State Information Service (Official Egyptian government website)
  3. ^ Paradise Lost Egypt Today (Google cached version)
  4. ^ The Truth Publication Online (11 February 2011)[dead link]
  5. ^ Sobelman, Daniel (2001). "Gamal Mubarak, President of Egypt?". Middle East Quarterly 8 (2): 31–40. 
  6. ^ Morrison, James (30 January 2011). "Cairo in Chaos". Washington Times. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Egypt Trades Torture Supervisor for 'Mubarak's Poodle'? ABC News, 11 February 2011
  8. ^ Egypt military pledges to speed up power transfer BBC News, 22 November 2011
  9. ^ "Egypt leader Mursi orders army chief Tantawi to resign". BBC News. 12 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Hussein, Abdel-Rahman (13 August 2012). "Egypt defence chief Tantawi ousted in surprise shakeup". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Egyptian Military Maintains Censorship Where Criticism of Its Leaders is Concerned « CONNECTED in CAIRO
  12. ^ Million-strong protests in Egypt demand end of military rule, Tantawi accepts Cabinet resignation, battle continues - Ahram Online
  13. ^ a b "Egypt: 10,000 march in protest at woman dragged half-naked through street". The Daily Telegraph (London). 21 December 2011. 
  14. ^ Ahmed Al Samany (2 November 2011). "حقوقي بحريني: "استقبال "العسكري" للملك رسال سيئة.. والجزيرة تجاهلت أحداث البحرين"". Tahrir newspaper. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Youssef Sabri Abu Taleb
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
1991–2012
Succeeded by
Abdul Fatah al-Sisi
Preceded by
Hosni Mubarak
as President of Egypt
Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt
2011–2012
Succeeded by
SCAF dissolved
Political offices
Preceded by
Youssef Sabri Abu Taleb
Minister of Defense and Military Production
1991–2012
Succeeded by
Abdul Fatah al-Sisi
Preceded by
Hosni Mubarak
as President of Egypt
Head of state of Egypt
2011–2012
Succeeded by
Mohamed Morsi
as President of Egypt
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Hosni Mubarak
Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement
acting

2011–2012
Succeeded by
Mohamed Morsi