A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, November 2, 2009

Amin Huwaydi, 1921-2009

Having established a certain track record in noting the passing of security men and spooks such as Nabawi Isma‘il and Meir Amit, I guess I really should note the passing (on halloween) of former Egyptian Mukhabarat chief and Defense Minister Amin Huwaydi. Here's the BBC Arabic report. Here's his bio in Arabic Wikipedia. Not much has shown up in the English media, at least so far.

That's probably because his role on the Egyptian stage (or at least center stage) was a brief one. Though an early supporter of Nasser's Revoluti0n, it was really only after the 1967 War that he had his moment of fame, and that ended when he split with Anwar Sadat in 1971.

As the obits note (I'll link to an English one if I can find one, but haven't yet), he was the only man to serve simultaneously as head of General Intelligence and Minister of War (as the Defense Ministry was then called). He had been deputy director of the Mukhabarat and took it over after the war. Later, after Vice President ‘Abd al-Hakim ‘Amr's suicide in the wake of the war (or "suicide" if you're a skeptic) and the firing of War Minister Shams Badran, there was considerable reshuffling of the high command, and he took over the War Ministry as well, at least for a short time. (His War Ministry doesn't even seem to be listed on the present Ministry of Defense Website.)

He ran the Mukhabarat during the War of Attrition in 1967-70. That period seems remote now, and Huwaydi was among those linked to the ‘Ali Sabri group, who clashed with Anwar Sadat and were generally ousted/resigned in the May 15, 1971 events that Sadat liked to call the "Corrective Revolution" and others see as Sadat's purging of the old Nasserists. By that time he was Minister of State.

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