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Rashad Mehanna
Mehanna (right) with Prince Muhammad Abdel Moneim (left) and Barakat Pasha (middle)
Mehanna (right) with Prince Muhammad Abdel Moneim (left) and Barakat Pasha (middle)
Born ( 1909 -10-02)2 October 1909
Koom Hamada, Egypt
Died 3 January 1996(1996-01-03) (aged 86)
Nationality Egyptian
Alma mater Egyptian Military Academy
Predecessor Mohamed Zoheir Garranah Bey[1]
Successor Mohamed Zoheir Garranah Bey[1]
Religion Sunni Islam

Rashad Mehanna (Arabic language: رشاد مهنا ‎) (2 October 1909 - 3 January 1996)[Note A] was an Egyptian colonel who played a significant role in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Mehanna was born to an Azharite father in the markaze of Koom Hamada in the Beheira Governorate. As a child, he studied at a Quranic school, then went to primary school in Tanta and obtained his high school diploma in 1928. He initially went to medical school, but dropped out and joined the Egyptian Military Academy. He graduated in 1932 and joined the artillery branch of the Egyptian Army.

Mehanna travelled to the United Kingdom in 1937 on a military scholarship, then returned a year later in order to work as a teacher at the Artillery School. He was the first Egyptian officer to specialize in air defense.

Between 1946 and 1947, Mehanna helped Mohammad Amin al-Husayni who had proclaimed jihad in Palestine. Along with other officers, he provided him with arms in order to support the Palestinian resistance. Mehanna was arrested in 1947 with a group of other officers on charges of conspiracy against King Farouk I. However, he was released after a short while.

Role in the 1952 Revolution[edit | edit source]

Mehanna was contacted by Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1949 and attended preparatory meetings for the Revolution. During the 1951 elections at the Officers' Club, Mehanna was the one who advocated Muhammad Naguib's election.

After the Revolution took place in July 1952, Mehanna was appointed Minister of Transport in the first post-revolutionary government, which was headed by Ali Maher.[1] He was one of the few members of the Free Officers Committee whose name was actually known, the nine-person committee being shrouded in secrecy and most of its members keeping their names almost a military secret. Mehanna acted as an intermediary between the Free Officers Committee and the Cabinet, since he was a member of both.

Regency and arrest[edit | edit source]

Mehanna was chosen by Nasser to serve as a representative of the Army on the three-member Regency Body established during the nominal reign of infant king-in-exile Fuad II. However, the Regency Body had no real powers, these having been assumed by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). Historians of this period agree that one of the main reasons for the hostility that arose between Mehanna and the RCC was that the former actually took his title seriously while Nasser and his colleagues had no intention whatsoever of allowing him to exercise the powers that came with it.[2] The standoff ended with the dismissal of Mehanna as a member of the Regency Body.[3] The Body was dissolved altogether, and Prince Muhammad Abdel Moneim was appointed as sole Prince regent.[4]

By early 1953, reports began circulating which indicated that Mehanna was the ringleader in an attempted coup.[5] As a result of this, Mehanna was accused of counterrevolutionary conspiracy and was sentenced to life imprisonment on 30 March 1953.[6] However, he was released in 1956 and then put under house arrest. He was re-arrested in 1965, only to be released once again in 1967. He retired completely from politics after that, and died on 3 January 1996.

Notes[edit | edit source]

A^ : Joan Wucher King's Historical Dictionary of Egypt gives 1918 as Mehanna's year of birth and 1982 as his year of death.[7] However, Arabic Wikipedia gives 2 October 1909 as his date of birth and 3 January 1996 as his date of death. It cites an obituary by Mostafa Amin published on 10 January 1996. In his memoirs, Muhammad Naguib states that Mehanna was 39 years old at the time of the 1947 abortive conspiracy, which is concordant with the 1909 birth date.[8]

References[edit | edit source]

  • This article draws heavily on the Rashad Mehanna article in the Arabic-language Wikipedia, which was accessed in the version of 21 August 2008.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • King, Joan Wucher (1989) [First published 1984]. Historical Dictionary of Egypt. Books of Lasting Value. American University in Cairo Press. ISBN 978-977-424-213-7. 
  • Naguib, Muhammad (1955). Egypt's Destiny. London: Gollancz. OCLC 2326907. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Cabinet of Egypt
assuming the powers of infant King Fuad II
Regent of Egypt
with Prince Muhammad Abdel Moneim
Bahey El Din Barakat Pasha
Succeeded by
Prince Muhammad Abdel Moneim
as sole Prince regent

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