Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hosni Mubarak

Hosni Mubarak was born on May 4, 1928, in Al-Min?f?yah governorate, Egypt. In 1972, President Anwar el-Sadat appointed him commander of the air force. Three years later, Sadat named him vice-president. On October 6, 1981, Sadat was assassinated and Mubarak became president of Egypt. He held the position until February 2011, when demonstrations across Egypt forced him to step down.

Reelected president in 1993, Mubrak faced a rise in guerrilla violence and growing unrest among opposition parties, which pressed for democratic electoral reforms (the last free elections in Egypt had been held in 1950). He launched a campaign against Islamic fundamentalists, especially the Islamic Group, which was responsible for a 1997 attack at Luxor that left some 60 foreign tourists dead. In 1995 he escaped an assassination attempt in Ethiopia and in 1999 was slightly wounded after being attacked by a knife-wielding assailant. Throughout, Mubrak continued to press for peace in the Middle East. Running unopposed, he was reelected to a fourth term as president in 1999. In 2005 Mubrak easily won Egypt's first multicandidate presidential election, which was marred by low voter turnout and allegations of irregularities.

In January 2011 thousands of protesters—angered by repression, corruption, and poverty in Egypt—took to the streets, calling for Mubrak to step down as president. Those demonstrations took place shortly after a popular uprising in Tunisia, known as the Jasmine Revolution, forced Tunisian Pres. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from power. Mubrak made no public appearances until January 28—the fourth day of clashes between protesters and police—when he gave a speech on Egyptian state television indicating that he intended to remain in office. In the speech he acknowledged the protesters' demand for political change by announcing that he would dissolve his cabinet and implement new social and economic reforms. Those concessions, however, were dismissed by protesters as a ploy to remain in power and did little to calm the unrest. The following day Mubrak appointed a vice president for the first time in his presidency, choosing Omar Suleiman, the director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service. On February 1, under pressure from continued protests, Mubrak appeared on Egyptian state television and announced that he would not stand in the presidential election scheduled for September 2011.

Under continued pressure to step down immediately, Mubrak made another televised speech on February 10. Although it was widely expected that he would use the address to announce his immediate resignation, he reiterated that he would stay in office until the end of his term, delegating some of his powers to Suleiman. Mubrak promised to institute electoral reforms and vowed to lift Egypt's emergency law, in place since 1981, when the security situation in Egypt became sufficiently stable.

On February 11 Mubrak left Cairo for Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort town on the Sinai Peninsula where he maintained a residence. Hours later Suleiman appeared on Egyptian television to announce that Mubrak had stepped down as president, leaving the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, a group of senior military officers, to govern the country. Upon learning of Mubrak's resignation, crowds at Tahrir Square and other protest sites erupted in celebration.

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