Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil al-Sisi simultaneously became Egypt’s most loved and hated man in July 2013 when the army chief ousted President Mohamed Morsi from office.
Having been an assumed ally of the Muslim Brotherhood due to his appointment as Morsi’s right-hand man, Sisi made millions of enemies when he was seen to be behind the brutal crackdown on Egypt’s Islamists in August 2013. Despite this, Sisi is the favorite to win in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections...even his adversaries know it.
Seen as a savior of those against Egypt’s increasingly Islamist rule, Sisi finally bit the bullet and told Egypt that he is hanging up his military slacks and moving onto the campaign trail. When he announced he was resigning from his post as Defense Minister in order to run for president, Egypt exploded. Twitter was full of those calling him an “angel” who saved the country from certain Sharia, and Brotherhood members who said there could be no stability or security in Egypt under Sisi.
Even though you can’t walk across Cairo without seeing his face on chocolates, banners and even ladies’ pajamas (he’s quite the sex symbol), very little is known about the general. He’s certainly got a carefully cultivated image - those who know him best have told journalists digging up dirt that they have been told not to spill the beans on any skeletons in Sisi’s closet. He’s extremely careful with what is released about him into the public domain - even his wife was only recently photographed for the first time.
Mike Giglio, Middle Eastern correspondent for NewsWeek and The Daily Beast, said of trying to write a profile of Sisi: "It was, incredibly… difficult to dig up even the smallest personal details".
Well, here at Al Bawaba we love a challenge - ahead of his likely presidential bid, here are eight things you didn’t know about the man, the myth, the legend...Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.