Hosny Mubarak who was fourth president of Egypt for thirty years left a mixed legacy. He opened the door for changing the personality cult of a president and improved economy; regionally he played a major role in 1990 in building Egypt lead regional coalition forces to liberate Kuwait and was one of several architects who helped the Palestinians and Israelis to reach a peace agreement in 1993.
Interviewing President Mubarak, Qubbah Palace, Cairo 1988. But he was responsible for wide corruption and ending 160 years of modernity paving the way for the islamisation of Egypt and ending secular liberalism. I met him several times and this is my personal view as a historian .
RIP Hosny Mubark (4 May 1928- 25 February 2020), former air-force bomber pilot ( and spent two years in a spitfire squadron) , leader of the Egyptian national party and fourth president of Egypt (served 1981-2011).
As a president he tried ( mostly from 2003) to reform & allowed others to stand opposing him in ( always since 1958) rigged elections. But it was too late to unlock the disastrous legacy he left. He also paved the way for Islamisation of Egypt by deliberately encouraging for Islāmic evangelists TV channels in a naïve attempt to balance his bloody battle against Islāmic terrorists. He won the battle by brutal force, but Egypt’s secular and liberal society was lost for good. His ill-advised move to make the ruling regime seem more Islāmic than the Islamists hardliners undermining most secular aspects of the states ( in 2000 he passed laws banning modern tradition like serving alcohol in public in , and turned a blind eye on finance give to extremists Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood), badly backfired and turned Egyptian society into a backward water ending 160 years of modernity that started by Muhammed Ali Dynasty rule ( 1805-1953). The Latter years of his regime were marred by corruption. His wife mostly generated his downfall by trying to get his equally corrupt son to take over. Lived in internal wars exclusive exile since his removal by the army at the end of an 18 day uprising in January/February 2011 marking the end of Egypt’s “first republic “ (1953-2011) . The First Republic was established following an illegal army coup in July 1952 by army officers led by lt Gen Mohammed Nguib (1901-1984) & lt colonel Gamal Nasser (1918-1970).
His most effective leadership moments in the region and internationally was to influence Arab league in August 1990 to vote by majority for Egypt project leading Arab forces to join the UK-USA led coalition forces to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation ( 2ndAugust 1990 – 25 February 1991). The second important role was to influence the late Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat to sign the peace agreement with Israel in 1993 on the White House Lawn following secrete negotiations in Oslo. He , with the late King Hussein of Jordan pressurised Mr Arafat to denounce violent struggle and recognise the Israel in 1988. I met him on the eve of his visit to London, which was part of British, Egyptian Jordanian efforts to get the Palestinians to end the state of war and recognise the Jewish State.
Interviewing the late Mubarak of Egypt at the Qubbah palace in East Cairo on the eve of his 1988 visit to UK. We exchanged jokes, and I realised he had a good sense of humour and understood British sarcasm . His wife was wife was Welsh. He said to me: “I love to get a Panama hat like yours”. I replied, “I would happily say ‘ itfadal’ (meaning you can have it), but I am afraid it won’t fit your excellency’s big head !”. He roared with laughter saying ‘”this is a good pun” . I said, “and it is copyrighted too . you can’t use it.” He laughed again adding ” have you considered selling jokes and puns at cafes as a second career”? I said good one Mr president, but I am afraid, it is still 2:1 to Fleet street side”. So, after a short laugh he said .. ” hah… 3:1, then, let us get down to business before we lose the wits match” !