Sisi takes flak for 'plastic missiles' speech slip in Saudi Arabia


Egyptian president misspoke while addressing Arab League summit on Sunday

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi shaking hands with Yemeni President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi (Twitter: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi)
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Last update: 
Monday 16 April 2018 13:38 UTC

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is paying the price for a slip of the tongue made during a speech on Sunday.

The former army chief has become the source of ridicule online after accidentally referring to “ballistic missiles” as “plastic missiles” while addressing the Arab League summit, which took place in the Saudi city of Dhahran.

The Egyptian president was condemning Yemeni Houthis for reportedly firing a ballistic missile over Riyadh last Wednesday when he misspoke. 

"Egypt will not accept Yemeni elements bombing Saudi territory with plastic missiles, as this constitutes a threat to Arab national security," he told the assembly.

Some did come out in defence of Sisi, seeing the incident as a case of tomato/tomahto, potato/potahto.

Translation: So you’ve all clung onto “plastic” and left out everything important the president said in his speech? Like “the friends of heaven and happiness” for instance? You guys have too much time on your hands!

However, others weren't so kind.

Translation: BREAKING: Found the plastic rockets that Yemeni elements used to attack Saudi territory.

Translation: They have to stop the Houthis before they go too far.

One social media user replied to Sisi on Twitter with a photo of toy trucks carrying miniature plastic rockets after the Egyptian president posted a photo of himself with Yemeni President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

As the country’s former minister of defence and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, many expressed their confusion (and concern...) 
Translation: Sisi at the Arab summit: We denounce the Houthi “plastic” missiles!! Imagine when the “military” president is ignorant in his speciality!!
Translation: al-Sisi during his speech at the Arab Summit: “Egypt doesn’t accept the continued firing at Saudi lands with “plasticy missiles.” That is the Field Marshal we have. Who is the highest rank in our Army. Don’t worry.

This is not the first time Sisi has been mocked for his choice of wording during addresses.

While addressing the National Youth Conference in January 2017, Sisi stated, “Has nobody told you that you’re very poor? No, I hope somebody tells you that we [Egyptians] are very poor.”

The former military commander then contradicted himself while speaking at the Africa 2017 Forum in December when he implied that Egyptian citizens were, in fact, very wealthy.

“Egyptians have a lot of money, whether it’s the investors or even your normal citizen,” he said.


Sisi was recently re-elected as Egypt's president with 97 percent of votes, the exact proportion that brought him to his first term four years ago.