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How Gamal brought the whole Mubarak house down
As the Mubarak era comes to an end, Ahram Online lays bare how Gamal's path to succeed his father brought the whole house down
Gamal Essam El-Din, Friday 15 Apr 2011
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Gamal
Gamal Mubarak in the Coptic mass on Christmas Eve last year (Photos reuters)

Although the January 25 Revolution forced Hosni Mubarak – Egypt's 82-year-old president – to resign on 11 February, many were still suspicious that he could launch a counter-revolution. These suspicions, however, died when Prosecutor-General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud ordered in the early hours of 13 April that Gamal and his brother Alaa be remanded into custody for 15 days pending investigations into allegations of rampant corruption. Mubarak's two sons were taken to south Cairo's Tora Prison to join a host of heavyweights from of the defunct regime.

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak arrived in white uniforms and handcuffs at Tora Prison at 6am, after being questioned at an investigations office in South Sinai.

The two brothers face accusations related to financial corruption. In particular, however, Gamal faces the explosive accusation of inciting police forces and thugs to open fire and attack pro-democracy protesters at Tahrir Square on 28 January (the Friday of Rage) and on 2 February (the Battle of the Camel).

Gamal primarily faces charges of exploiting his father’s position to accumulate vast fortunes estimated at more than $700 million. He is also alleged to have smuggled large quantities of gold out of the country. Rumours abound that he and his brother Alaa were paid millions of dollars in commission by businessman Hussein Salem from the sale of natural gas to Israel.

Due to his highly influential political role in the last ten years of his father’s reign, the media paid special attention to Gamal’s arrest. In contrast with his brother Alaa, Gamal had a very active public profile and was influential in Egyptian politics for almost ten years. As a result, analysts went as far as describing Mubarak's last decade in power as “the age of Gamal Mubarak.” With Mubarak’s health on the wane and his refusal to appoint a vice-president, Gamal was said to wield so much influence he was considered Egypt's de-facto president. Many believe that Mubarak's wife Suzanne stood behind pressuring Mubarak to appoint his younger son to the presidency.

Gamal's ascent to power began when his father appointed him and a number of his business associates (notably steel magnate Ahmed Ezz) in February 2000 to the general secretariat of his ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). This sparked rumours that Gamal was being groomed to succeed his father. Although both Mubaraks denied any plan to create a family legacy or a father-son succession scenario in Egypt, the words had never matched the deeds.

The beginning came in December of that year when Gamal and a number of his business associates in the party seized on the poor performance of NDP candidates in elections – forcing the party to rely on so-called NDP-independents to secure a parliamentary majority – to reinforce their profile and increase leverage over the traditional leadership. Gamal and Ezz were appointed to a new committee, tasked with reforming the NDP.

Gamal’s second push on the path to power in the ruling party's ranks was established in September 2002 when the NDP held its eighth general congress. Under the slogan “A New Style of Thinking,” The Policies Secretariat was created and headed by Gamal Mubarak. This was announced before a televised audience and around 6,000 of the party’s political bureaucrats. The new secretariat marked a significant shift in favour of Gamal and his associates from the world of business, particularly since it produced a Higher Council for Policies (HCP), including 200 members, mostly young businessmen and academics allegedly tasked with relieving Egypt of the old socialist policies of the 1960s and antiquated viewpoints – as Gamal once called them. Gamal's position as secretary for policies had become the party's second most powerful position, only after its chairman: Mubarak the father.

In July 2004, a major reshuffling of the government reflected this new guard's control on the NDP and ministries with cabinet positions held by businessmen and liberal-oriented economists. Ahmed Nazif headed a cabinet that was notable for including Youssef Boutros Ghali as minister of finance, Rashid Mohamed Rashid for industry and trade, Ahmed Guweily incharge of investments and Ahmed El-Maghraby with the housing portfolio. Ghali, Rashid and Mohieddin were dubbed “Gamal Mubarak's trio” and entrusted with drawing up the government's economic agenda. Most of these are now either in jail pending investigations into corruption or have fled the country.

In February 2006, Gamal continued climbing up the NDP's ladder, becoming one of three assistant secretaries-general. In May 2006, Gamal met with the then US president George W Bush at the white house during an unofficial visit which triggered speculation that Mubarak was trying to enhance his son's profile among the Americans as part of his grooming for power.

Gamal reinforced his grip on power in 2007 when his Policies Secretariat played a key role in drafting 34 amendments to the constitution. This, according to opponents, cleared the political barrier to Gamal's succession. On 4 May 2008 ( Hosni Mubarak's seventy-ninth birthday), Gamal cleared the social barrier to his succession when he wed Khadija El-Gammal, the 23-year-old daughter of Mahmoud El-Gammal, one of Egypt's wealthiest  businessmen and real estate magnates.

In the NDP's annual conference in September, 2008, Gamal Mubarak became just one step away from inheriting power. A Higher NDP Council was formed, including 46 figures on top of whom Gamal Mubarak and all have the right to be NDP candidates in presidential elections.

When Mubarak's health deteriorated in the summer of 2010 and he was forced to go to Germany to undergo gall bladder surgery, Gamal and his right-hand man Ahmed Ezz were the ones entrusted with orchestrating that year's parliamentary elections. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. Their manipulation of the elections was the worst in Egypt's modern political history, creating a parliament free of any semblance of opposition: secular or Islamist.

At the party's seventh annual conference on 24-25 December, Gamal, at his most arrogant, insisted that the parliamentary elections were not rigged. He announced that the NDP would use “its crushing victory” to implement a new wave of neo-liberal economic policies “and that the failure of opposition parties to win seats in parliament was because of their very low popularity – a fact which the NDP should not be held responsible for.”

And so began 2011 and while Gamal was rolling up his sleeves to prepare his father's campaign for presidential elections, there came from Tunisia a sudden shock on 14 January when its  despotic president Zine Al-Abidine bin Ali was toppled from power. Distressed by this turn of events, Gamal tried to fire his prime minister, Ahmed Nazif, on 17 January but there was no time. Inspired by the Tunisian Revolution, Egyptians took to the streets on the Police Day holiday of 25 January.

Seeing his dream of becoming president fading, Gamal incited his associates to fund and organise attacks by hired thugs on protesters in Tahrir Square. In what came to be known as the Battle of the Camel, thugs rode into the square on camels and horses, attacking protesters with swords and Molotov cocktails.

The son persisted and Gamal did his best to keep his father in power right until the end, but his efforts backfired. He wrote the speech his father delivered on 10 February which infuriated protesters expecting his to step down and led the army to intervene to force Mubarak’s hand.

Through his corrupt manoeuvrings, Gamal hastened his father's demise and scuppered his own dreams of being president.





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HASSAN EL KHASHAB
18-01-2012 05:37pm
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The greed which has destroyed Mubarak and his family
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON LIKE MOTHER LIKE FAMILY
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Diana Hughes
25-06-2011 07:45pm
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Fomer President Hosny Mubarak
Are the judicial authorities investigating these claims? This would hint that the President did not order any harm tothe demonstrators. He should therefore not be facingsuch a charge. I do not think for one minute, anyway, that he is guilty of this and he should be allowed to go into graceful retirement. He has suffered enough.
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swr
18-04-2011 06:36pm
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An Unhappy Man
On two occasions I found myself in the same place as Gamal Mubarak. Both times the number of people present did not amount to 12. The first time was in 2002 or 2003 on the occasion of visiting European royalty. What surprised me was Gamal's polite aloofness. He spent the entire evening listening to one or two persons he knew from before. One of them, a former MP, kept addressing him in English as "Your Excellency" even though he had no formal position, yet. Her monologue centered on how great Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak was etc. etc. Knowing he was a presidential hopeful, I was astonished at how uninterested he was in meeting up with new faces especially since those present were thinkers and opinion makers. The second chance meeting was a few years later at a gala event on a trendy Italian island. Again the numbers present did not exceed 10, all Egyptians this time. Rather than socialize with those present, Gamal spent most of the evening either on his mobile phone or conversing with the mi
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ABDALLAH
18-04-2011 10:11am
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Jugement de l'ex Président Moubarek
Je suis vraiment décu de voir les sondages concernant le jugement des Moubarek,plus de 49% des sondés ne sont pas sévéres envers ces criminels. 1vec tout ce qu'ils ont fait, vraiment les egyptiens sont tres tendres envers eux.
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jan
17-04-2011 12:38pm
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rubbish analysis
lot of the stuff that is typed here might be true, but there is not proof that can be provided. The job a journalist is not to type crime drama, but to write facts. and if he is writing his personal opinion with no proof, make sure it is clearly stated so. the revolution has not changed egyptian press journalists, they still churn out arabic TV serials.
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Tarek Nasr
16-04-2011 02:59pm
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Great Post
A great post, though i want the mubarak clan to be found guilty on all charges as I think they are guilty you do need to amend and right alleged until history writes the final chapter
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honest journalism
16-04-2011 09:27am
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fair analysis?
"alleged" is the missing word here. especially when talking about inciting the attacks against the protesters. He is being investigated for this among other things but not found guilty yet. Alahram is quick to praise those in power and come down just as hard on those out of favour. I don't see much change in the Egyptian media. It's still business as usual.
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mayssoun rabbat
15-04-2011 08:43pm
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Mubaraks
The President Mubarak does nt deserve this treatment his sons ,well let them be judjed that all, serve their sentance if they r guilty and go out .
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Sami
15-04-2011 07:03pm
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Arragance and greed
A fascinating example of "arragance and greed; as well as obsession with money and power." With his good looks he should have become an "actor" instead. It would have saved him from a future which seems somewhat bleak.
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ali mostafa
15-04-2011 04:50pm
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Gamal
He deserves to be tried. a fair trial. If convicted he must serve prison.
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