PROFILE – Hosni Mubarak: Egypt’s longest-serving president

Egypts former President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak died Tuesday at age 91 following years of illness.

Born on May 4 1928 Mubarak took office in October 1981 succeeding late President Mohamed Anwar Sadat.

After becoming a pilot in the Egyptian Air Force in Arish in 1950 he was transferred to Helwan Military Airport in 1951.

He also worked as an instructor for the Air Force Academy and became its chief of staff in 1959.

Mubarak served at Cairo West Air Base until 1966 and was appointed director of the Air Force Academy in 1967.

Promoted to brigadier general in 1969 he became commander of the Egyptian Air Force and deputy defense minister in 1972.

Mubarak led the Air Force during the October 1973 War. Due to his role in the war he was promoted to the rank of air marshal by President Anwar al-Sadat at a ceremony in February 1974.

-Rise to presidency

Sadat appointed Mubarak his vice-president in April 1975.

Following Sadats assassination on Oct. 6 1981 Mubarak served as president of Egypt for nearly 30 years.

During his rule his role in the 1973 war served as the key for his legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

His popularity rose when he raised the Egyptian flag on the Sinai Peninsula in April 1982 after resuming peace talks which Sadat had launched with Israel. In 1989 through international arbitration Mubarak regained the Sinai city of Taba from Israel.

He managed to repair Egypt's relations with the Arab world after tensions over Sadat's push for peace talks with Israel.

In 1990 the headquarters of the Arab League returned to Cairo 11 years after it was moved to Tunisia.

The first 10 years of Mubarak's rule were calm except for a three-day riot by conscripts of the Central Security Forces in 1986 which left more than 100 people dead.

But an economic crisis loomed after he adopted an economic reform program under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund under which subsidies on some essential goods were lifted.

Egyptians' unprecedented migration to Arab Gulf states to work there initially masked the impact of the crisis.

In 1990-1991 Mubarak was painted as a key international player when Egypt took part in the U.S.-led coalition to liberate Kuwait from Iraq.

Egypt was rewarded with Gulf money flowing to Cairo as well as the cancellation of a major part of Egypt's debt by the Gulf countries and the West.

The war however affected poorer Egyptians who were mainly dependent on the income from their relatives working in Iraq and other Gulf countries

This led the effects of the economic reform program and the gradual lifting of subsidies to increase. Unemployment began to rise due to the privatization of companies and factories alongside with a fall in agricultural land revenues and a decline in the national industry.

-2000s and Arab Spring

In the early 2000s the profile of his son Gamal began to rise due to his taking a leading role in the ruling party. Gamal started to appear in conferences and paid official visits to the U.S.

Gamal's moves sparked controversy triggering Egyptians fears that power would be passed down from the president to his son.

The more influence Gamal gained the more the public anger against his father mounted especially amid worsening living conditions.

As people took to the streets in demonstrations and strikes Egyptians began breaking free from their fear of the authorities and notorious security forces especially after a young man named Khaled Saeed died in police custody in June 2010.

A photo of Saeed's mutilated face scarred by apparent torture went viral online sparking anger and protests against the Egyptian regime.

In December 2010 in nearby Tunisia a street vendor set himself on fire to protest the humiliation and harassment he suffered at the hands of a police officer.

The incident sparked the anti-regime protests later known as the Arab Spring which exploded onto the streets of Egypt on Jan. 25 2011.

The ensuing demonstrations ended Mubaraks 30-year reign on Feb. 11 2011.

Mubarak was put in jail for corruption charges and having ordered the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising in 2011 during which nearly 841 civilians were killed.

A year later Egyptians had freely chosen Mohammed Morsi as a first democratically elected president in the country's history. Morsi was ousted in a military coup led by the current President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in 2013 and died during trial last June.

Almost a year after the military coup a Cairo court acquitted Mubarak of charges of corruption and ordering to kill the peaceful protestors in a move seen by many observers as a setback to the uprising's outcomes. He spent his final years away from the public eye.

Source: Anadolu Agency