Hosni Mubarak: Life and legacy of one of Egypt’s most notorious leaders
On October 6, 1981, a parade commemorating the 1973 October War passed the streets and a group of soldiers dismounted from the army trucks. They began firing bullets and grenade fragments that killed Anwar Sadat who was Egyptian president at the time. Hosni Mubarak, his vice president, sustained light injuries from the attack in Cairo.
In a sudden escalation of events following the death of the president, Mubarak assumed presidency just a week later. On top of this, the former vice-president had a myriad issues to attend to: the restoration of order in Egypt, examining the scope of the military rebellion, and swiftly deciding the outcome of the country’s relations with Israel.
Mubarak, who passed away on Tuesday in an Egyptian military hospital aged 91, became Egypt’s longest-serving ruler ever since Muhammad Ali Pasha’s reign in the Ottoman Empire.
He declared a year-long state of emergency, purged the military of opponents and sent troops to stop an Islamic insurrection in the south. Furthermore, he assured Israel and the United States that he would stand by every word of the Camp David peace agreement – a three-year-old treaty that ended Egypt’s leadership role in the Arab world and plunged it into uncertainty.
While this appeared as a victory for the West, the Egyptians sunk in a state of turmoil as the next three decades became replete with tyranny and corruption. The era eventually ended with the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 and the president’s ouster.
Hosni Mubarak was forced out of power, charged for killing protesters, and handed a life sentence. His two sons were jailed as well.
Mubarak had little positive impact on the Egyptians. He strengthened his bond with the United States, reinforcing a trend that relied on a market economy, although a flawed one. He also dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood.
In an interview in 2012 with the former president’s cousin for a media outlet, Amin Mubarak said, “His major success was stability.”
The writer stated that he would only mean stability in regards to hardship and employment when he said this, as Egypt was still stuck under a blanket of poverty.
Mubarak was born in 1928 and grew up in a small town and went to pursue a military career. Mubarak rose to the position of Air Force chief. Sadat saw him as a hero despite his contentious role in the war and made him vice-president.
In a span of nine years, Mubarak restored relations with several Arab nations, many of which were ceased owing to Egypt’s peace agreement with Israel. He also ascended Egypt to its role as leader of the Arab world.