10 February 2013, 16:01

Hosni Mubarak - Egypt’s last pharaoh

Hosni Mubarak - Egypt’s last pharaoh

February 11 marks two years since Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president of Egypt. In April of 2011 he was arrested and brought to justice. In June of 2012 he was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against Egyptian people.

Life in Egypt has not improved after the 2011 revolution: the country still lacks political stability, and its economic situation is on the brink of collapse. New protests against the Muslim Brotherhood party controlling Egypt erupt across the country almost every week. 

Mubarak was called a pharaoh. He had ruled Egypt for 30 years. An air force officer, who trained in the Soviet Union and spoke fluent Russian, became Egypt’s president in 1981 after the killing of his predecessor Anwar Sadat. The nation welcomed Mubarak as their new leader whose regime, they believed, would not be as corrupt as that of Mr. Sadat. In 2011 the nation celebrated Mubarak’s resignation. As often happens, from a reformer Mubarak turned into an ordinary eastern dictator. The Mubarak dynasty could have continued to rule unless the 2011 revolution: Hosni relied on his 41-year-old son Gamal as his successor. 

Analyst at the Russian Higher School of Economics, Konstantin Truyevtsev: “Even Mubarak’s critics admit that the first decade of his rule was quite successful as he managed to offer his country a kind of economic and political stability. But when a person remains in power for 30 years stagnation is inevitable, not to mention the fact that in the age of globalization authoritarian rule fails to meet up with objective processes of historical development.” 

Mubarak managed to maintain close ties with the U.S. and restore Cairo’s reputation in relations with the Arab world which were almost frozen under Sadat after the signing of the Camp David Accords with Israel in 1979. Mubarak restored diplomatic relations with Jordan, as well as military cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Cairo rejoined the OrganizationofIslamic Cooperation and the Arab League. 

In his domestic policy Mubarak combined Islam and authoritarian rule. In the 1990s his regime could be referred to as a dictatorship. Since 1981 until May of 2012 Egypt was under a state of emergency, allowing the authorities to suppress any kind of rebellion. Under Mubarak the Muslim Brotherhood members were kept in jails, now their candidate Mohamed Morsi is the current President of Egypt. 

Many analysts are concerned about the future of Egypt while it is ruled by Islamists. The deputy director of the Russian Institute of African Studies, Dmitry Bondarenko told the VoR: “There are currently no preconditions for Egypt to become a country with the Taliban model of rule, neither there are grounds for it to become a theocratic state like Saudi Arabia. Only if Egypt remains as unstable as it is now and fails to pay adequate attention to its foreign policy, then it may loose its status of the leading Arab country.” 

Meanwhile, President Morsi has managed to avoid a direct confrontation with liberal opposition activists who have been staging rallies against his rule. However, Egypt’s new president has already followed in Mubarak’s footsteps by imposing a state of emergency in violence-torn Port Said, Ismailia and Suez.

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