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Mubarak survived 6 assassination attempts

Hosni Mubarak survived six assassination attempts during his 30-year rule of Egypt with an iron hand but could not survive the deluge of unprecedented street protests and was brought down by his own people.



Cairo: Hosni Mubarak survived six
assassination attempts during his 30-year rule of Egypt with
an iron hand but could not survive the deluge of unprecedented
street protests and was brought down by his own people.

Until the outbreak of the grassroot uprising on January
25, 82-year-old Mubarak seemed insurmountable as president of
the most populous nation in the Arab world.

When he was elevated to the presidency in the wake of
Anwar Sadat`s assassination in 1981, few had expected that the
little-known vice-president would hold on to the country`s top
job for so long.

Mubarak, who was lucky to escape when Sadat was
assassinated by Islamic radicals at a military parade in
Cairo, has survived at least six assassination attempts since
then.

The narrowest being in 1995 shortly after his arrival
in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to attend an African
summit. In the end, he was consumed by people`s anger and fury
that lasted 18 days.

Mubarak was sworn in on 14 October 1981, eight days
after the Sadat assassination.

The former Egyptian Air Force commander, despite
having little popular appeal, had managed to hold on to power
for three decades by positioning himself as a trusted Western
ally to keep peace with Israel.

Throughout his years in power, Mubarak maintained the
unpopular policy of peace with Israel and accomodation with
the West that cost Sadat his life.

Mubarak, who ruled as a quasi-military leader since he
took power, kept the country under emergency law, with
sweeping powers to curb basic freedoms in the county.

He argued that draconian laws were necessary to combat
Islamist terrorism, that he said would target the country`s
lucrative tourism sector.

Amid pressure from his powerful ally United States,
Mubarak had come under pressure for the first time to
encourage democracy in the country.

Mubarak, who won three elections unopposed since 1981,
had to change the system to allow rival candidates in his
fourth contest in 2005.

Never a smoker or a drinker, he has built himself a
reputation as a fit man who leads a healthy life.
In his younger days, close associates often complained of
the president`s schedule, which began with a workout in the
gym or a game of squash.

He had groomed his 40-year-old former investment
banker son Gamal Mubarak to become the next leader as he moved
steadily up the ranks of the NDP. But the street protests
derailed that ambitious plans.

Born in 1928 in a small village at Menofya province
near Cairo, Mubarak is married to a half-British graduate of
the American University in Cairo, Suzanne Mubarak. They have
two sons.

Despite having little popular appeal or international
profile at the time, the burly military man has used his
sponsorship of the issue behind Sadat`s killing--peace with
Israel--to build up his reputation as an international
statesman.

In effect, Mubarak, one of the world`s longest-serving
presidents, has ruled as a quasi-military leader since he took
power.

For his entire period in office, he has kept the country
under emergency law, giving the state sweeping powers of
arrest and curbing basic freedoms.

The government argues the draconian regime has been
necessary to combat Islamist terrorism, which has come in
waves during the decades of Mr Mubarak`s rule - often
targeting Egypt`s lucrative tourism sector.

He has presided over a period of domestic stability and
economic development that means most of his fellow countrymen
have accepted his monopolisation of power in Egypt.

In recent years, Mr Mubarak has felt for the first time
the pressure to encourage democracy, both from within Egypt,
and from his most powerful ally, the United States.

Mubarak has won three elections unopposed since 1981, but
for his fourth contest in 2005 - after a firm push from the US
- he changed the system to allow rival candidates.

Critics say the election was heavily weighted in favour
of Mubarak and the National Democratic Party (NDP). They
accuse the Egyptian leader of presiding over a sustained
campaign of suppressing opposition groups, most notably the
Muslim Brotherhood.

In the past, Mubarak has said he will continue to serve
Egypt until his last breath. In his speech on 1 February, he
said: "This dear nation... is where I lived; I fought for it
and defended its soil, sovereignty and interests. On its soil
I will die. History will judge me like it did others."

PTI

From Zee News

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