Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is an Egyptian politician who is known for being the sixth and current President of Egypt since 2014.
Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi was born on Friday, 19 November 1954 (age 68 years; as of 2022) in El-Gamaleya, Cairo Governorate, Republic of Egypt. His zodiac sign is Scorpio. He attended Al Bakri Primary School, Ajman, United Arab Emirates from 1962 to 1968, El Selehdar Preparatory School, El Gamaleya, Cairo, Egypt from 1968 to 1971 and Military Air Force High School from 1971 to 1974. He pursued his graduation at Egyptian Military Academy, Cairo, Egypt in 1977. In 1987, he attended the Egyptian Command and Staff College to pursue a master’s degree in military science. In 1992, he pursued a master’s degree in military science at Joint Command and Staff College, United Kingdom. In 2006, he attended the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. When he was young, he used to live with people from other religions including Muslims, Jews and Christians. In an interview, he recalled that he used to hear church bells in his home and also saw Jews flock that was taken to a synagogue unhindered (a Jewish worship house). He used to study in a library at al-Azhar University with his siblings. In 2003, he received a fellowship from the Higher War College, Nasser Higher Military Academy (NHMA), Egypt and in 2006, from US Army War College, United States.
Height (approx.): 6′ 0″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Sisi’s father’s name is Said Hussein Khalili al-Sisi and his mother’s name is Soad Mohamed. His parents used to work in Monufia Governorate. His father also owned an antique shop for tourists in the historic bazaar of Khan el-Khalili. He has seven siblings, one of whom is a senior judge and another a civil servant. Reportedly, he has six other siblings from his stepmother.
Wife & Children
Sisi got married to Entissar Amer in 1977, who is the First Lady of Egypt. She is also his maternal cousin. He fell in love with her when he was in high school.
Together, they have three sons, Mahmoud, who is the deputy head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate, Mostafa and Hassan, and a daughter Aya.
Sisi follows Islam.
In 1977, after receiving his commission as a military officer, he started serving in the mechanised infantry, specialising in anti-tank warfare and mortar warfare. In 2008, he became the Commander of the Northern Military Region-Alexandria and Director of Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance. He joined the Egyptian Armed Forces after completing his graduation. In 2010, he became director of military intelligence. When he was in the military, he never participated in an active war. The main command position held by him in the military includes Commander, 509th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, Chief of Staff, 134th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Commander, 16th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Chief of Staff, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Division, Chief of Staff, Northern Military Zone, Deputy, Director, Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance Department, Director, Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance Department, and Commander of the 23rd Mechanized Division, Third Field Army. In 2011, during the Egyptian Revolution, he was chosen as the youngest member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) where he became the director of the military intelligence and reconnaissance department. As a member of the Supreme Council, he took a stand for the Egyptian soldiers who were conducting forced virginity tests on detained female demonstrators. In a statement given by him, he said that “the virginity-test procedure was done to protect the girls from rape as well as to protect the soldiers and officers from rape accusations.” On 12 August 2012, he was chosen as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defense. On 12 August 2012, Sisi was selected by the then Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to replace Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces. He retired as retiring as a general in the Egyptian military in 2014. In January 2014, he was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal.
Denouncement of Mohamed Morsi
On 30 June 2013, there were protests in Egypt to denounce Mohamed Morsi as the President. The Egyptian army intervened in the matter after many clashes and gave a 48-hour ultimatum till 3 July to the political parties to fulfil the demands of the anti-Morsi demonstrators. On 3 July, after the deadline, the Egyptian Armed Forces announced that the demands of the demonstrators were not fulfilled because of this they had to overthrow Morsi in a coup d’état. After Morsi was removed, Adly Mansour, who was serving as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, was selected as the interim president. The army also ordered to arrest of the Muslims who were accused of “inciting violence and disturbing general security and peace.” Sisi also talked about the matter and gave a statement on television saying that due to the denouncement of Morsi, the constitution would be temporarily suspended. The statement came after pressure from anti-Morsi demonstrations and condemnation from pro-Morsi supporters in Rabaa al-Adawiya.
On 24 July 2013, Sisi gave a speech in the military parade and said that the power to investigate terrorism should be given to the Egyptian military and police. His statement was not well received by Muslims and the Salafi Nour Party, the Islamist Strong Egypt Party, the liberal Youth Movement and some western-backed human rights groups, but was supported by the Egyptian presidency and the Tamarod movement. In August 2012, there were many sit-ins in Cairo which were removed by the Egyptian military under el-Sisi’s command. The military also helped the police to disperse two sit-ins by Morsi supporters and sit-ins in Rabaa el-Adaweya and Nahda squares. During the displacement of the sit-ins, violence in Egypt rose leading to 3,994 injured from both sides and 638 deaths out of which 595 were protesters and 43 were security forces. These demonstrations led to the Kerdasa massacre including clashes in cities like Menya and Kerdasa against security forces. The mainstream media criticized Sisi because of the violence caused by his statement and said that “Egypt’s new leader is unfit to rule.” According to a media report by the State Information Services, the police forcefully removed sit-ins on 14 August 2013 because of which hundreds of civilians and police officers were hurt. The Muslim Brotherhood also imposed a blockade for 46 days against the people in al-Nahda and Rabaa al-Adawiya squares. On 3 August 2013, Sisi gave his first interview after the removal of Morsi, in which he condemned the US’s response to the protests and accusations about the Egyptian’s popular will which almost led to a civil war. In the interview, he said,
You left the Egyptians. You turned your back on the Egyptians and they won’t forget that.”
He invited the defence ministers of Emirati, Iraq, Bahrain, Morocco and Jordan to celebrate the anniversary and thank them for helping Egypt during the coup. He also thanked Egypt’s Arab brothers, who helped him during the tough time. During the speech, he said,
The Egyptian people will never forget who stood with them or against them.”
After the coup, the government tried to stop the army by imposing different laws on them. In September 2013, interim president Adly Mansour ordered ministers could award contracts without a request for tender. In October 2013, the Egyptian army was provided with building contracts worth approximately one billion dollars. In April 2014, appeals against government contracts were banned due to the government’s Investment Law. In September 2013, the government removed pre-trial detention limits for crimes to stop unconvicted political dissidents from detaining for a long time. In November 2013, an end was put to the protest by the government and many Egyptians were arrested using the law. On 24 March 2014, 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced to death by an Egyptian court because they had attacked a police station in 2013. According to a report, approximately 40,000 people from the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested in 2016. In 2013, Sisi became very popular in Egypt and many of his supporters carried out demonstrations by carrying posters of him on the streets and chanting ‘The Army and the People are one hand.’ Many people changed their social media profile pictures to pictures of el-Sisi. They started a campaign and demanded his promotion to the rank of field marshal. Many of them also demanded he contests the presidential elections. Many restaurants started putting his initials on cupcakes, chocolates and necklaces and sandwiches were named after him. Many newspapers started using his images in blogs, columns and op-eds. He was called the new idol of the Nile valley by many news channels. On 6 December 2013, el-Sisi was named “Time Person of the Year” in Time magazine’s annual reader poll. The letter with the picture stated, ‘Sisi’s success reflected the genuine popularity of a man who led what was essentially a military coup in July against the democratically elected government of then President Mohammed Morsi.’
Sisi supports started campaigns like “Kamel Gemilak” (Finish Your Favor) and “El-Sisi for President” to persuade him to contest the elections, but he said that he was not interested in elections. He received support from many Egyptian and non-Egyptian politicians and political parties including the National Salvation Front, Tamarod, Amr Moussa, a previous candidate for the presidency, Abdel-Hakim Abdel-Nasser, son of late President Gamal Abdel Nasser, presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik, Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi, Naguib Sawiris, the Free Egyptians Party, the Revolutionary Forces Bloc, and the Russian president Vladimir Putin supported Sisi to contest the Presidential elections. The Presidential elections were against Hamdeen Sabahi, so Sabahi accused Sisi of violating human rights during the interim government period. He also said that his behaviour towards the goals of the revolution was not clear. On 6 February 2014, the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Seyassah stated that Sisi would contest the elections. After this announcement, there were many people who stood for him and many who stood against him. On 26 March 2014, he retired from the military as the field marshal and announced that he would run as a candidate in the 2014 presidential election. The election was held between 26 and 28 May, where his opponent Hamdeen Sabahi lost and on 8 June 2014, he was elected as the President of Egypt. The event was marked as a holiday in Egypt. After his win, there were celebrations at Tahrir Square and the venue was secured with police and soldiers who used electronic portals for detecting any explosives in the place. After the celebrations, there was oath taking ceremony at Egypt’s Supreme constitutional court where the deputy head of the constitutional court, Maher Sami, ex-president Adly Mansour and other constitutional court members were present. According to Sami, Sisi was a “rebel soldier” and a “revolutionary hero.” At the ceremony, no representatives of Turkey, Tunisia or Qatar were present because of their bad relationship with Egypt. There were around 1,200 Egyptian people from various provinces of Egypt who attended his speech-giving ceremony. In the speech, he talked about the problems faced by Egypt and plans to solve them. In the speech, he said,
In its next phase, Egypt will witness a total rise on both internal and external fronts, to compensate for what we have missed and correct the mistakes of the past.”
After taking the office, he started working on the issue of sexual assault in the country. According to a media report, he visited a woman in the hospital who was assaulted during the celebrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and was undergoing treatment. After his visit, he asked the army, police and media to solve the matter as soon as well. He made reforms to modernise Islam. He ordered to regulate talks in mosques and changed school textbooks (including the removal of some content on Saladin and Uqba ibn Nafi inciting or glorifying hatred and violence). He also discussed ending the Islamic verbal divorce, but the offer was not accepted by a council of scholars from Al-Azhar University. In January 2015, he wished Christmas to Christmas Mass and give a speech at the Coptic Orthodox Christmas service in Cairo. He became the first president to do so. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, Sisi used force to end political opponents and criminal suspects. Once, an ISIS affiliate in North Sinai, Wilayah Sayna was killed by the military in its campaign. In the report, it was mentioned that many people who talked about human rights violations were banned to travel and their assets were frozen. For those who caused trouble, strict action was taken against them. Many children as young as twelve were arbitrarily arrested by the government. On 20 September 2019, the government alleged of corruption, repression and lack of freedom because of which protests took place in Egypt. After the protests, Sisi said that the protests were started by the Islamists. In an interview, he said,
As long as we have political Islam movements that aspire for power, our region will remain in a state of instability.”
In the interview, he further said that the Islamic government would not be accepted by the people because of the coup d’état in 2013 against Muslim Brotherhood rule.
During the Sisi government, economic reforms including a rise in fuel prices by 78% to remove subsidies on basic food and energy were made. The subsidies were cut because they consumed nearly a quarter of the state budget. These subsidies were allowed to the poor because he feared that he would not remain in power if the poor were troubled. In ten years, the price of petrol in Egypt decreased because they spent $96 billion on energy subsidies. The taxes on alcohol and cigarettes were also increased including 25 and 40 cents per pack on local and imported cigarettes. Taxes on the property were also made and a new scheme for value-added taxes was also made. The cost of chicken was raised by 25% due to the transportation cost. The fares of taxis and minibuses were raised by 13%. Reportedly, many international financial institutions suggested changes in subsidies to the government before Sisi, but none took it seriously because they were afraid that 30 per cent of the population that was dependent on government aid would turn against them. In an interview, Sisi talked about the rise in fuel prices and said that this reform should have been taken 50 years ago, but was not taken due to the fear of the Bread Riots of 1977. He also announced in the interview that the Egyptians should be ready to sacrifice more to overcome the economic problems that occurred in 40 years. Within 2 months after becoming the President, Egypt was able to pay more than $6 billion it owed to foreign oil companies. The external debt of Egypt fell by 13.5 per cent after 8 months. In November 2013, the economic reforms led to Moody’s raising Egypt’s credit ratings outlook to stable from negative and Fitch Ratings upgraded Egypt’s credit rating one step to “B” from “B−”. Standard and Poor’s rated Egypt B-minus with a stable outlook and upgraded Egypt’s credit rating. On 7 April 2015, Moody’s upgraded Egypt’s outlook from Caa1 to B3 with a stable outlook expecting real GDP growth in Egypt to recover to 4.5% year-on-year for the fiscal year 2015, and then to rise to around 5%–6% compared to 2.5% in 2014. In May 2015, there was political and economic stability in the country after five years and Egypt even returned the international bond market to banks. However, in 2016, the value of the Egyptian pound fell from £E7.83 per US dollar to £E8.95 per dollar in February because of which the prices of daily goods were increased.
When he became the President, he faced an energy crisis in Egypt. There were other problems like a shortage in energy production in Egypt, growing consumption, terrorist attacks on Egypt’s energy infrastructure, and debts to foreign oil companies. There was no maintenance of the power plants and there were six power cuts for 2 hours each in many parts of the country. In August 2014, the daily electricity consumption went up to 20% and reached 27.7 gigawatts which was more than the station could provide. In September, there was no power left in Egypt because of which the television stations were switched off and people were grounded. Addressing the problem, Sisi said that he would find a solution to the problem and those who sit idle at home would be held responsible for it. In 2015, Egypt signed a contract with General Electric (GE) to get 2.6 gigawatts of energy. In June, the first phase of service was provided to Egypt and by August, the operation which was considered Egypt’s fastest energy-transferring operation by GE was expected to end. In June, the power generating capacity surpassed 2.9 gigawatts for the first time after the operation. Egypt paid more than $6 billion it owed to foreign oil companies between January and March. In March 2015, at the Egypt Economic Development Conference, the focus was given to energy contracts. To increase the country’s electricity generation by 50 per cent, a $9 billion contract was signed with Siemens to supply gas and wind power plants. Another energy deal of $12 billion (£E91.5 billion) was signed with BP to receive local energy production from them. After these improvements in the energy crisis, Sisi in an interview said that these steps were not only taken to solve the crisis but to make Egypt a global energy hub. On 21 November 2017, the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras in Nicosia had a meet-up with Sisi and during the meeting, they praised the steps taken by the private sector including energy infrastructure projects which were necessary for the energy security of all three countries such as the EuroAfrica Interconnector, interconnector between Greek, Cypriot, and Egypt power grids via submarine power cable of length around 1,619-kilometre (1,006 mi).
In August 2014, a canal named the Suez Canal which was about one-third the length of the existing waterway was started by him to increase the capacity from 49 to 97 ships a day on the canal. He also expected that the revenue from the canal would increase by 259% from annual revenues of $5 billion. Many people from Egypt gave funds worth 60 billion Egyptian pounds ($8.4 billion) to start the project. On 6 August 2015, the canal was inaugurated. Another project, the Suez Canal Area Development Project was also started by him to develop five new seaports in the three provinces around the canal- a new industrial zone west of the Gulf of Suez, economic zones around the waterway, seven new tunnels between Sinai and the Egyptian homeland, building a new Ismailia city, huge fish farms, and a technology valley within Ismailia. Other national projects were started by him to increase the employment rate and increase the income of the poor. These projects included making a road network of 4,400 kilometres on 104 acres of land. During the Egypt Economic Development Conference, there was a discussion to build a new city near Cairo. The new city was located east of Cairo approximately midway between Cairo and Suez and was expected to be the new capital. He aimed at removing all the slums from Egypt. He wanted to build 850,000 housing units, but on 30 May 2016, he spent £E1.56 billion (US$177.8 Million) to integrate 11,000 housing units. The “Long Live Egypt” economic development fund and civilian charitable organizations provided funding for the project. An agricultural project ‘New Delta Project’ was made to expand the Egyptian Delta and to increase food sufficiency and general agricultural production in Egypt, housing and farmlands were constructed.
In 2015, he attended the African Union summit and participated in the 23rd ordinary session in Africa. At the summit, he said that an Egyptian partnership agency was established for Africa’s development. In 2021, there was a dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
Sisi came in support of the solution by making a Palestinian state on the lands occupied in 1967 and declaring Eastern Jerusalem as its capital. This gave security to Israel and fulfilled Palenstine’s needs as well. Sisi had earlier witnessed the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict and criticized the policies made by IDF because they were not in favour of the Palestinians. Sisi said that many innocent people were killed because of the military force and reminded Isreal about the moral duty of saving its population. Egypt’s relationship with Israel went so bad that they decided to ceasefire, but Hamas denied the offer. Sisi requested many other countries to help them and stop the crisis. Israel and Palestine held meetings in Cairo to intervene in the ceasefire. Sisi ordered to give 500 tons of aid that included food and medical supplies to Palestinians. On 26 August 2014, Egypt finally ceasefire and brought the conflict to an end. In October 2014, Sisi asked Israel and Palestine to make a peace deal. He gave assurance that the treaty would be followed by Palestine. In an interview, he said
I call on the Israeli people and the government: now is the time to end the conflict … so that prosperity prevails, so that we all can have peace and security.”
In 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the then Prime Minister of Turkey called Morsi’s removal a coup and asked for his release which led to a deteriorated relationship between them. Turkish Minister for European Affairs Egemen Bagis also asked the UN Security Council to take some action against Egypt. Erdoğan called Sisi an illegitimate tyrant and sent support to Israel in the war against Hamas. Egypt’s foreign ministry stated that Erdogan was provoking and interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs. Due to Erdogan’s statements, the Turkish ambassador to Egypt was asked to leave and joint naval drills with Turkey were also cancelled. In September 2014, Erdoğan made wrong comments about Egypt in the UN General Assembly so, Egypt’s foreign minister cancelled a meeting with him. Sisi ordered to cancellation of the “Roll-on/roll-off” agreement with Turkey and stop the transportation of Turkish containers to the Gulf via Egyptian ports. In 2014, Egypt and Saudi Arabia started a campaign against Turkey which led to Turkey’s removal from the United Nations Security Council. In March 2021, Turkey demanded to strengthen relations with Egypt and requested Muslim Brotherhood to stop criticizing Egypt and the President. In March 2023, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met each other and discussed matters about energy, shipping, transportation and investments. In June 2014, a report by Al Jazeera, it was mentioned that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE gave more than $20 billion to help Egypt. In 2015, Egypt participated in the military intervention in Yemen. In April 2016, Egypt signed economic agreements worth approximately $25 billion with Saudi Arabia. Egypt agreed to give two Egyptian-administered islands in the Gulf of Aqaba, Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi. Sisi’s supporters did not favour him returning the land. In January 2017, the Supreme Court allowed Sisi to make the two islands part of Mohammed Bin Salman’s NEOM megacity. In June 2022, when Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited Egypt, Sisi met him and discussed diplomatic and economic relations. This led to investments worth more than US$5 billion in March 2022 between Qatar and Egypt. After Mori’s removal, the military and political relations between Egypt and Russia improved but they deteriorated between the United States and Egypt because Russia supported Sisi after he became the president but he did not receive any support from the US. The US also suspended military aid and weapons delivery to Egypt, but Russia stepped in and provided Egypt with huge military weapons. Sisi made his first international visit to Russia after being promoted to the rank of Field Marshal and discussed arms deals with Russia with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Minister of Defense General Sergey Shoygu. He made another visit to Russia when he was the President and signed a $3 billion (2.2 billion euro) weapons agreement with Russia. After his meeting with Russia, President Putin announced that Egypt would supply agricultural goods to Russia by 30 per cent while Russia would give Egypt 5 to 5.5 million tons of wheat. After his announcement, Sisi announced another project of “renewing and developing” with Russia. On 11 December 2017, Putin visited Cairo and signed an agreement with Russia to build Egypt’s first nuclear reactor and supply nuclear fuel for it. During the visit, he also announced the building of the “Russian Industrial Zone” on the Suez Canal.
The US cancelled the Bright Star joint military exercise with the Egyptian Armed Forces. The US Secretary of State John Kerry came to Egypt to meet Sisi, the was treated poorly because he was checked through a stationary metal detector and with a handheld wand by Egyptian security. This type of checking was not normal for a senior State Department official. Sisi was invited to the American-African summit by Barak Obama but he did not go. In 2014, the US released $575m in military aid to Egypt which was stopped during the coup. The relationship between Egypt and America improved after Donald Trump was deleted as the President of the US. In September 2016, Sisi and Trump met during the opening of the seventy-first session of the United Nations General Assembly. On 3 April 2017, Donal Trump praised Sisi’s work as the President when Sisi went to Washington to meet him. On 26 August 2019, Sisi criticized Trump’s decision to support Israel during Israel–Gaza conflict during the 45th G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Long Service and Good Exemplary Medal
- 2014: King Abdulaziz Medal
- 2020: The National Legion of Honor
- 2020: The “Leader” Medal
- 2021: Medal of merit of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA)
Sisi earns $63,000 per year.
- In August 2014, a report by Egypt’s Baseera, ‘Public Opinion Research’ stated that 8% people of the sample were not happy with Sisi’s performance and 10% stated that they did not notice any change in Egypt. according to the report, 78% people said they would vote for him and 11% said that they would not. 89% of the sample felt improvement in the security system and 73% said that they could regularly get fuel. In the report, it was mentioned that 35% of the sample witnessed improvement in price controls and 32% did not. 29% of the sample said that they did not notice any change in Egypt since Sisi became the President. In October 2016, another report was laid in which it was stated that 68% of respondents would support Sisi and 14% said they would not because of the rise in price.
- In 2019, many people demanded Sisi resign from the post of President. In September 2019, some videos posted on social media by contractor Mohamed Ali, who was in exile in Spain, went viral on social media. In the videos, Sisi was alleged of corruption and ineffectiveness. After the videos were posted, people started demeaning his resignation and there were protests in Egypt in which 4300 protestors and non-protestors were arrested. In November 2019, Ahmed Tantawi, a member of the House of Representatives submitted a proposal in the Parliament and posted a YouTube video in which he stated that Sisi should resign in 2022 rather than in 2024.
- Many of his colleagues call Sisi by the name ‘Quiet General’ because he is calm and quiet most of the time.
- Sisi described himself as “a doctor whose diagnoses are sought after by top philosophers and prominent world leaders.”
- When he was studying at war college, his professor Sherifa Zuhur claimed that Muslims could not be democratic, so Sisi wrote his term paper on democracy in the Middle East to prove him wrong.
- In 2023, according to a report, Egypt faced economic problems which led to a rise in the prices of raw materials used in koshary, which is a local and most common food of Egypt. The country is also facing health problems after 4,300 doctors in the public sector wanted to resign and 11,500 doctors quit from 2019 to 2022 because of low income. The value of the Egyptian pound was increased from 15 pounds a dollar to 30 pounds.