Mohamed Hussein Tantawi
Date of Birth: October 31, 1935
Time of Birth:
Place of Birth: Cairo
Muhammad Hussein Tantawi Soliman (31 October 1935 – 21 September 2021) was an Egyptian field marshal and politician who played a pivotal role in the country's military and political landscape. Born of Nubian origin, he joined the Egyptian Military Academy in 1952 and began his military career, eventually becoming a key figure in the Egyptian Armed Forces.
Tantawi's military journey included active participation in significant conflicts, starting with the Suez War in 1956, where he served as an infantry platoon commander. His career saw him rise through the ranks, with notable roles in conflicts such as the Six-Day War of 1967, the War of Attrition of 1967–1970, and the October War of 1973. During the Yom Kippur War, he commanded the 16th mechanized infantry battalion.
In 1991, Tantawi was appointed Minister of Defense and Military Production and Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces. He played a crucial role in the U.S.-led Gulf War against Iraq in 1991, commanding an Egyptian Army unit to force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. Tantawi's commitment and leadership led to his promotion to the highest rank in the Egyptian military, field marshal, in 1993.
During the Egyptian Revolution in 2011, Tantawi became the de facto head of state after the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, serving as the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. He oversaw the dissolution of the Egyptian parliament, conducted a constitutional referendum, and played a role in bringing accountability to former regime figures.
Tantawi faced criticism during his tenure, with protests demanding his departure. However, he maintained a relatively low profile, leaving public appearances and speeches to other senior members of the council. In response to the growing unrest in 2011, he pledged to expedite presidential elections.
After the election of Mohamed Morsi as president in 2012, Tantawi was ordered to retire and was replaced as head of the armed forces and defense minister. Despite criticism during his term, he received several military honors and decorations, both national and foreign.
Muhammad Hussein Tantawi Soliman passed away on 21 September 2021 after a period of ill health, marking the end of a significant era in Egypt's military and political history.