DEBKAfile Special Report
27 March. Egypt’s Abdul-Fattah El-Sisi, 59, announced Wednesday, March 26, he had resigned from the army to run for president in an election no later than July. His popularity as a strong leader in a country that craves stability is such that he can count on winning. DEBKAfile: El-Sisi took time off in recent weeks to create a new rapid intervention force to buttress his future presidency. Maj. Gen. Tawfik Abdel-Samei, head of the Egyptian army’s central command, was chosen to head the force. He and El-Sisi handpicked 10,000 of the most able commando fighters from the various army units and consolidated them through intense courses into a special airborne force. Equipped with air transport and helicopters, it is capable of flying to the ends of the country in a crisis, along with tanks, self-propelled artillery and counter-terror measures.
His announcement came two days before US President Barack Obama’s visit to Riyadh. It was a message that the Egyptian strongman was there to stay.