Egypt Independent

Who is Egypt’s ex-army chief whose presidential bid breathed life into Egypt’s 2018 elections?



A few hours after current President of Egypt Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared his intention to run for a second term in the upcoming presidential elections scheduled to be held in March, former army chief of staff Sami Anan asserted his intention to engage in the presidential race.

In a five minutes video, the former chief of staff asserted his intention to run in the elections after previous statements were made by Sami Blah, the official spokesperson of the ‘Arouba’ party that was established by Sami Anan, said Annan would run.

Anan noted that his intention to participate in the upcoming presidential elections came as a step from him aiming to save the Egyptian state from what he named “wrong policies” in various fields.

Anan called on all the Egyptian civilian and military institutions to be “neutral” regarding the potential presidential candidates.

Sami Hafez Anan was born 1948 near the Egyptian city of Mansoura located at Egypt’s delta governorate of Dakahlia, He studied at the Egyptian Military College and graduated as army officer attached to the Air Defense Forces.

He participated effectively in the wars of 1973 and what is known as the War of Attrition that followed the military setback from Israel in the 1967 war. In 1981 Anan was promoted to be commander of missiles battalion.

In 2001, Anan was promoted by Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak to be head of the Egyptian Air Defense Forces, then promoted in 2005 to be chief of staff of the Egyptian army.

In the wake of the 25 January revolution that erupted in Egypt in 2011, Anan played a vital role in managing the transitional phase that followed the revolution, in his position as member of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces. Anan was able to engage in discussions with different political entities that dominated the Egyptian political atmosphere at the time.

Anan stayed on as chief of staff of the Egyptian army after the election of the first president of Egypt after the 25 January revolution Mohamed Morsi for nearly three months, and then he was relieved of his duties together with former Defense Minister Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

Anan’s declaration to run in the 2018 presidential elections is not the first time he does so. In 2014, Anan made a similar declaration in which he revealed his intention to run in that year’s presidential elections that followed the 30 June uprising and military intervention against Morsi. The 2014 elections witnessed the participation of Sisi who won the race after Anan retracted from it.

Through the video in which Anan unveiled his intention to run for the 2018 presidential elections, he mentioned a number of the negative results of Sisi’s rule, including what he called “black terrorism” and the deteriorated economic conditions of Egyptians, in addition to the failure of the current administration in managing Egypt’s water crisis with Ethiopia.

He stressed that all the aforementioned negative results were due to the “wrong policies” adopted by the current administration that assigned the Armed Forces to confront problems without activating the role of the civil society.

With his 2018 declaration to run in the elections, Anan is facing a massive wave of criticism that includes accusations against his campaign of receiving funds from the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

In response to these accusations, the official spokesperson of Anan’s presidential campaign Hazem Hosni said that there are Israeli online outlets that show support for Sisi, which he asked whether that represents something shameful for Sisi.

He added through a phone interview to the privately-run TV channel of Al-Hadas on Saturday that if there are some people who are supporting Anan, the reason is that Sisi has made numerous mistakes.

He concluded by asserting that there are many people who did not commit any crime and have not been referred to trials and those people have the right to support Sami Anan.