Military Rank

I know very little about military affairs, either in America or the rest of the world. With the important role of the armed forces in Egypt, however, I thought it useful to understand the local chain of rank.

The enlisted soldier is known as either a jundi or ‘askari. He has received no formal education, but is able to achieve a level of promotion. Once elevated, he joins the rank of non-commissioned officers, or dubat al-Saff.

  • Corporal (‘areef) – wears two chevrons (shareet)
  • Sergeant (raqeeb) – three chevrons
  • First Sergeant (raqeeb awwal) – three chevrons plus an eagle (nisr)
  • Master Sergeant (musa’id) – eagle

The path to being a commissioned officer (dabit) begins in military academy as a cadet (talib). The path of promotion is as follows:

  • Lieutenant (mulazim) – wears a star (nigma)
  • First Lieutenant (mulazim awwal) – two stars
  • Captain (naqeeb) – three stars
  • Major (ra’id) – wears an eagle
  • Lieutenant Colonel (muqaddam) – eagle plus star
  • Colonel (‘aqeed) – eagle plus two stars
  • Brigadier General (‘ameed) – eagle plus three stars
  • Major General (liwa’) – wears two swords crossed (sayfain)

This promotion path also mirrors that in the police force. Further promotion, however, is available only in the military.

  • Lieutenant General (fareeq) – wears two swords, an eagle, and a star
  • Colonel General (fareeq awwal) – two swords, an eagle, and two stars
  • Field Marshal (musheer) – wears crossed olive branches (ghasn zaytun), with crossed swords in between, and an eagle above

The current constitution of the Egyptian military has three officers at the rank of Lieutenant General. These head the Navy (quwat bahriyya), Air Force (quwat jawiyya), and Air Defense (difa’ jawwi). The head of the army proper is also the Chief of Staff, at a rank of Colonel General. The members of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces are all at the rank of Major General or above.

As a final note, translations of the above are qualified as the research of a civilian, but all is from the public domain. More knowledgeable readers are invited to submit their corrections.

3 replies on “Military Rank”

Some other things I’ve never sorted out:
– Any ideas about the Republican Guard? They report to the president directly, but do they mirror the armed forces chain of command?
– Is the chair of SCAF always the Minister of Defence? Where does the Minister of Military Production fit in?
– What rank Is the head of the mukhabbarat (GIS)? I remember Omar Suleiman was mostly in civvies even when he was their head, and his role was similar to an Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs.


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