Around 8pmest EVERY night
How sad for the U.S.A. that this guy exists and that he is the spokesman!!
In Informationthread 48 we read these:
One of the "new" names being mentioned as a possible alternative to President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Omar Suleiman, is actually not so new to anyone who has followed the American policy of renditions for terror suspects. After dissolving his cabinet yesterday, Mubarak appointed Suleiman vice-president, and according to many commentators he is poised to be a potential successor, and an alternative to Mubarak’s son and intended heir until now, Gamal Mubarak. Suleiman is a well-known quantity in Washington. Suave, sophisticated, and fluent in English, he has served for years as the main conduit between the United States and Mubarak. While he has a reputation for loyalty and effectiveness, he also carries some controversial baggage from the standpoint of those looking for a clean slate on human rights. As I described in my book "The Dark Side," since 1993 Suleiman has headed the feared Egyptian general intelligence service. In that capacity, he was the C.I.A.’s point man in Egypt for renditions—the covert program in which the C.I.A. snatched terror suspects from around the world and returned them to Egypt and elsewhere for interrogation, often under brutal circumstances.
As laid out in greater detail by Stephen Grey, in his book "Ghost Plane," beginning in the nineteen-nineties, Suleiman negotiated directly with top Agency officials. Every rendition was greenlighted at the highest levels of both the U.S. and Egyptian intelligence agencies. Edward S. Walker, Jr., a former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, described Suleiman as "very bright, very realistic," adding that he was cognizant that there was a downside to "some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way."
Technically, U.S. law required the C.I.A. to seek "assurances" from Egypt that rendered suspects wouldn’t face torture. But under Suleiman’s reign at the intelligence service, such assurances were considered close to worthless. As Michael Scheuer, a former C.I.A. officer who helped set up the practice of rendition, later testified before Congress, even if such "assurances" were written in indelible ink, "they weren’t worth a bucket of warm spit."
3:25 From @WLLegal on Egyptian strong man: "Omar Suleiman's role in the CIA's rendition/torture program from Stephen Grey's book Ghost Plan http://bit.ly/... ." And: "In The Dark Side, Jane Mayer wrote that Omar Suleiman, Egypt's new VP, coordinated the CIA rendition/torture program. http://bit.ly/... "
Cables on Omar Suleiman, the new Egyptian VP :
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 CAIRO 001349
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2019
TAGS: PREL PARM MASS IR IZ KPAL IS EG
SUBJECT: GENERAL PETRAEUS' MEETING WITH EGIS CHIEF SOLIMAN
REF: A. CAIRO 1227
Â¶B. CAIRO 746
Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey per 1.4 (b) and (d).
Â¶1. Key Points:
-- (S/NF) During a June 29 meeting with CENTCOM Commander
General Petraeus, Egyptian General Intelligence Service
(EGIS) Chief Omar Soliman shared his views on Iraq, Iran, and
ongoing efforts on Palestinian reconciliation.
-- (S/NF) On Iraq, Soliman assessed that Arab leaders were
taking a "new position" on supporting Iraqi Prime Minister
Maliki following the Iranian elections and described Egypt's
plans to increase cooperation with the Iraqi government.
-- (S/NF) Soliman believed that the Iranian elections and
Hezbollah's electoral defeat in Lebanon presented a "good
opportunity" to reduce Iranian regional interference,
including by improving Syria's relations with the Arab world.
-- (S/NF) On Palestinian reconciliation, Soliman was
pessimistic that an agreement would be reached, but promised
that Egypt would "not give up" and would continue efforts to
undermine Hamas, including by preventing money and guns from
Iraq: Extending an Arab Hand
Â¶2. (S/NF) Soliman said Arab countries were looking for ways
to support Prime Minister Maliki during this "crucial time"
for Iraq. General Petraeus thanked Egypt for supporting the
Iraqi government, including by nominating a new Ambassador to
Iraq (ref A) and encouraging other Arab countries to "hold
out a hand in friendship." On President Mubarak's
instructions, Soliman explained, Egypt plans to increase
cooperation with Iraq on a wide variety of political,
security, and economic issues.
Â¶3. (S/NF) Soliman assessed that Arab leaders were taking a
"new position" on Iraq following the Iranian presidential
elections. He believed that Iranian leaders would "change
their attitude" towards neighboring countries and "supporting
terrorism" abroad, and would focus instead on domestic
issues. Iran cannot afford to "challenge the international
community now," Soliman opined. The challenge, Soliman
explained, was to "bring Iraq back to the Arab world" and
foster support for Maliki. According to Soliman, President
Mubarak told King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia "not to search for
another man," but should instead accept Maliki as Iraq's
leader and support him.
Iran: Elections Present Opportunity for Arabs
Â¶4. (S/NF) Soliman stressed that Egypt suffers from Iranian
interference, through its Hezbollah and Hamas proxies, and
its support for Egyptian groups like Jamaatt al-Islamiyya and
the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt will confront the Iranian
threat, he continued, by closely monitoring Iranian agents in
Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and any Egyptian cells.
Improving relations between Syria and the Arab world would
also undermine Iran's regional influence. Soliman noted "a
little change" in Syria's attitude on engaging with the Arab
world, adding that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia shared this
view and planned to visit Damascus soon "to help change
Â¶5. (S/NF) Soliman anticipated that Hezbollah's recent defeat
in the Lebanese parliamentary elections would force the group
to "remain quiet for sometime" as they rebuild domestic
support and counter the perception that Hezbollah is a "tool
of outsiders." With Iran itself focusing on domestic issues,
he continued, it was a "good time to make changes" in Lebanon
and reduce Iran's influence. Egypt will support a Saad
Hariri government and the Lebanese army, Soliman emphasized.
Â¶6. (S/NF) Soliman said that Iran heeded Egypt's warning
against meddling in domestic affairs (ref B) and supporting
groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. He received a "very
positive message" from Iran's intelligence chief indicating
that Iran would not interfere in Egypt. Egypt planned to
"remain quiet inside Iran" for the time being, but would
continue to recruit agents who "will do what we ask," if Iran
insists on interfering in Egypt. "We hope Iran will stop
CAIRO 00001349 002 OF 003
supporting Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and other cells"
within Egypt Soliman said, "but if not - we are ready."
Soliman said Iranian President Ahmadinejad wanted to attend
the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference in Egypt July
11-16. If he did attend, President Mubarak would meet with
him and clearly explain that Iranian interference in "Arab
issues" was unacceptable. "We are ready for good relations
with Iran," Soliman noted, but only if Iran ceased
interfering and supporting terrorists in the region.
Â¶7. (S/NF) Because of domestic problems, Soliman believed that
Iran would seek better relations with the Arab world and
suspend its nuclear program for a period of time to avoid a
"war." He also anticipated Iran would try to strike more of
a "balance" between supporting its Hezbollah and Hamas
"tools" and trying to build better relations with the Arabs.
Soliman expressed concern that Iranian influence in Iraq
would spread after the re-deployment of U.S. troops out of
Iraqi cities and the eventual drawdown. General Petraeus
noted that 130,000 U.S. troops remain and that the drawdown
would be gradual. He expressed confidence that Iranian
influence could be contained if Arab countries moved
aggressively to support Iraq.
Palestinian Reconciliation, Israel
Â¶8. (S/NF) Soliman explained that Egypt's three primary
objectives with the Palestinians were to maintain calm in
Gaza, undermine Hamas, and build popular support for
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. On Gaza, Soliman said
Egypt worked closely with Israel to coordinate humanitarian
assistance shipments and was encouraging the Israelis to
allow more assistance into Gaza. Soliman said he was still
seeking a "tahdiya" (calm) agreement between Hamas and
Israel, but noted that Israel's lack of a Gaza strategy and
desire to keep Hamas under pressure made any agreement
difficult. On undermining Hamas, Soliman said Egypt has
"stopped" money and arms from entering Gaza. "Hamas feels
they are losing their capabilities," Soliman said, as they
are unable to re-arm using the tunneling network under the
Egypt-Gaza border. The pressure, especially from Egypt's
success at dismantling Hamas' funding mechanism, may render
Hamas "more flexible" than before.
Â¶9. (S/NF) Palestinians must believe that Abbas is capable of
securing a Palestinian state, Soliman stressed. He noted
recent positive developments in the West Bank, including
improvements in the Palestinian security forces and the
lifting of some Israeli roadblocks to facilitate commerce and
movement. He expressed concern, however, that continued
settlement activity, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's
recent "radical" speech, and insufficient economic
development in Palestinian areas were undermining the chances
for resuming peace negotiations. Soliman added that
President Mubarak may invite Nentanyahu and Abbas to Cairo if
efforts to re-start negotiations became "blocked."
Â¶10. (S/NF) Soliman briefed General Petraeus on his efforts to
facilitate Palestinian reconciliation. Reconciliation
remains elusive, he noted, as neither Hamas nor Fatah really
want an agreement. The Palestinian factions were currently
in Cairo, he said, for discussions on releasing detainees.
Talks were at an impasse, however, as Hamas had suspended
reconciliation talks until Abbas released all Hamas detainees
in the West Bank, which Soliman said Abbas would never
accept. Soliman also doubted that a reconciliation agreement
would be reached by July 7 as Egypt previously announced, and
anticipated that talks would be suspended for one-two months.
Despite the challenge and frustrations, Soliman promised
that Egypt would "not give up" on Palestinian reconciliation.
"It is hard," he continued, "but I am always optimistic. I
consider myself a patient man, but I am loosing patience."
Syria, Yemen, Afpak
Â¶11. (S/NF) Soliman hoped Syria would improve its
relationship with the Arab world and the U.S. and stop
serving as "Iran's lifeline" in the region. He also stressed
that Syria must cooperate with Iraq to improve border
security and stem the flow of foreign fighters. Soliman also
called on Syria to drop its insistence that the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be solved before Syria will
reach an agreement with Israel on the Golan Heights.
Â¶12. (S/NF) Soliman expressed concern over instability in
CAIRO 00001349 003 OF 003
Yemen and said Egypt was trying to help President Saleh,
including by providing information on Iranian and Qatari
support to the al-Houthi insurgents. General Petraeus noted
U.S. efforts to improve Yemen's capacity to combat
extremists. On Pakistan, General Petraeus said he was
encouraged by the Pakistani military's operations in the Swat
Valley and Northwest Frontier Province, including their focus
on holding and rebuilding effected areas. Soliman credited
the Pakistani government for doing a better job of convincing
people that extremists pose a real threat to Pakistani
national security. On Afghanistan, General Petraeus stressed
the importance of arresting the downward spiral of violence
and improving governance after the September 20 national
Â¶13. (U) General Petraeus cleared this cable.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 000746
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/2019
TAGS: PREL MASS MOPS PARM KPAL IS IR SO EG SU
SUBJECT: ADMIRAL MULLEN'S MEETING WITH EGIS CHIEF SOLIMAN
Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey per 1.4 (b) and (d).
Â¶1. Key Points:- (S/NF) During an April 21 meeting with Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, Egyptian
General Intelligence Service Chief Omar Soliman explained
that his overarching regional goal was combating radicalism,
especially in Gaza, Iran, and Sudan. - (S/NF) On Gaza, Soliman said Egypt must "confront" Iranian
attempts to smuggle arms to Gaza and "stop" arms smuggling
through Egyptian territory. - (S/NF) Soliman shared his vision on Palestinian
reconciliation and bringing the Palestinian Authority back to
Gaza, saying "a Gaza in the hands of radicals will never be
calm." - (S/NF) On Iran, Soliman said Egypt was "succeeding" in
preventing Iran from funneling financial support to Hamas
through Egypt. Soliman hoped that the U.S. could encourage
Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions and stop interfering in
regional affairs, but cautioned that Iran "must pay a price"
for its actions. - (S/NF) Egypt is "very concerned" with stability in Sudan,
Soliman said, and was focusing efforts on convincing the
Chadean and Sudanese presidents to stop supporting each
others' insurgencies, supporting negotiations between
factions in Darfur, and implementing the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA). "Egypt does not want a divided Sudan,"
Â¶2. (S/NF) Soliman said radicalism was the "backbone" of
regional security threats, adding that radicalism in Gaza
posed a particularly serious threat to Egyptian national
security. Soliman said Egypt must "confront" Iranian
attempts to smuggle arms to Gaza and stop arms smuggling
through Egyptian territory. "Egypt is circled by
radicalism," he continued, expressing concern over
instability in Sudan and Somalia as well. Egypt's own
successful campaign against radicalism in the 1990s provided
a useful lesson in how to counteract extremist groups by
reducing their ability to operate and raise funds, in
additional to educating people on the dangers of extremism.
Soliman noted that only the Muslim Brotherhood remained and
the Egyptian government continued to "make it difficult" for
them to operate.
Â¶3. (S/NF) "We do not want incidents like Gaza to inflame
public anger," Soliman said, adding that the Gaza conflict
put "moderate (Arab) regimes" in a corner. To prevent
another outbreak of violence, Egypt is focusing on
Palestinian reconciliation and a durable cease-fire between
Hamas and Israel. On reconciliation, Soliman explained, the
ultimate goal was to return the Palestinian Authority to
Gaza, as "Gaza in the hands of radicals will never be calm."
The problem, however, is that the PA cannot return to Gaza
without Hamas' acquiescence. Soliman said the PA must return
before the January 2010 Palestinian elections, or else Gazans
would be afraid to vote for moderates.
Â¶4. (S/NF) Stability in Gaza also depends on giving people a
more "normal" life, Soliman continued, saying Israel must be
convinced to regularly open the border crossings for
legitimate commercial activity. The current system - where
Egypt informs Israel of a humanitarian shipment and Israel
waits two days before accepting or rejecting the shipment for
transfer to Gaza - does not adequately meet people's needs.
Â¶5. (S/NF) On Palestinian reconciliation, Soliman said he
expected the factions to return to Egypt on April 26 to
discuss his proposal on establishing a high committee
comprised of the various factions. The committee would be
responsible for preparing for the January 2010 elections,
monitoring reconstruction, and reforming the security
services in Gaza. On reconstruction, the committee would
issue licenses for companies eligible to participate on
projects, but the PA would decide who receives the money for
private and government contracts. Arab governments would
assist with reforming the security services and could base
security assistance out of Egypt. Soliman doubted that Hamas
would agree to the high committee, but said it was important
CAIRO 00000746 002 OF 002
to keep Hamas and Fatah talking, so they would not resort to
Iran, Counter Smuggling
Â¶6. (S/NF) Iran is "very active in Egypt," Soliman said.
Iranian financial support to Hamas amounted to $25 million a
month, but he said Egypt was "succeeding" in preventing
financial support from entering Gaza through Egypt. Iran has
tried several times to pay the salaries for the al-Qassam
Battalions, but Egypt had succeeded in preventing the money
from reaching Gaza. Soliman said the Egyptian government had
arrested a "big Hezbollah cell," which was Hezbollah's first
attempt to stand up a cell within Egypt. Iran was also
trying to recruit support from the Sinai Bedouins, he
claimed, in order to facilitate arms smuggling to Gaza. So
far, he continued, Egypt had successfully stopped Hamas from
rearming. Soliman noted that in six months, MOD will have
completed the construction of a subterranean steel wall along
the Egypt-Gaza border to prevent smuggling. He warned,
however, that people will find an alternative to the tunnels
to smuggle arms, goods, people, and money. Admiral Mullen
expressed appreciation for Egypt's efforts to combat
smuggling, adding that he hoped Egypt felt comfortable enough
to ask for additional border security assistance at any time.
Â¶7. (S/NF) Egypt has "started a confrontation with Hezbollah
and Iran," Soliman stressed, and "we will not allow Iran to
operate in Egypt." Soliman said Egypt had sent a clear
message to Iran that if they interfere in Egypt, Egypt will
interfere in Iran, adding that EGIS had already begun
recruiting agents in Iraq and Syria. Soliman hoped the U.S.
would "not walk the same track as the Europeans" in regards
to negotiating with Iran and warned against only focusing on
one issue at time, like Iran's nuclear weapons program. Iran
must "pay the price" for its actions and not be allowed to
interfere in regional affairs. "If you want Egypt to
cooperate with you on Iran, we will," Soliman added, "it
would take a big burden off our shoulders."
Â¶8. (S/NF) Egypt is very concerned with stability in Sudan,
Soliman said, but asked for the U.S. to be "patient" with the
Sudanese government and give Egypt time to help the Sudanese
government deal with its problems. He applauded the
appointment of Special Envoy Gration and recent U.S.
statements on Sudan. Soliman said Egypt was focused on three
areas for promoting stability in Sudan: 1) repairing the
relationship between Chadean President Deby and Sudanese
President Bashir and stopping their support for each others'
insurgencies 2) supporting negotiations between the various
factions in Darfur, and 3) implementing the CPA. Soliman
encouraged a larger role for French President Sarkozy in
mediating between Chad and Sudan. He said that Southern
Sudan "feels no benefits from unity," and Egypt is trying to
bridge the "physiological gap" between north and south itself
by providing humanitarian assistance. "Egypt does not want a
divided Sudan," he stressed. Admiral Mullen replied that
Egypt's leadership on Sudan was critical and looked forward
to increased cooperation between Egypt and Special Envoy
Piracy and Somalia
Â¶9. (S/NF) Admiral Mullen stressed that piracy was an
international crime that needed an international solution,
especially on support for trying captured pirates. The U.S.
did not want Somalia to become the next safe haven for
al-Qaeda after Pakistan, he stressed. Soliman replied that
there were not enough ships in the region to provide adequate
security against pirate attacks and recommended that the
international community, through the UN Security Council,
focus counter piracy efforts on the Somali shore.
Â¶10. (U) Admiral Mullen did not have the opportunity to clear
before his departure.
C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 001417
NSC FOR WATERS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/13/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM EG
SUBJECT: PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION IN EGYPT
REF: A. CAIRO 671
Â¶B. CAIRO 974
Â¶C. 2006 CAIRO 2010
CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR FRANCIS J. RICCIARDONE,
FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).
Â¶1. (C) SUMMARY AND INTRODUCTION: PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION IS
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM OF EGYPTIAN POLITICS. DESPITE
INCESSANT WHISPERED DISCUSSIONS, NO ONE IN EGYPT HAS ANY
CERTAINTY ABOUT WHO WILL SUCCEED MUBARAK, OR HOW THE
SUCCESSION WILL HAPPEN. MUBARAK HIMSELF SEEMS TO BE TRUSTING
TO GOD AND THE INERTIA OF THE MILITARY AND CIVILIAN SECURITY
SERVICES TO ENSURE AN ORDERLY TRANSITION. IN THE CURRENT
POLITICAL FRAMEWORK, THE MOST LIKELY CONTENDERS ARE
PRESIDENTIAL SON GAMAL MUBARAK (WHOSE PROFILE IS
EVER-INCREASING AT THE RULING NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY),
EGIS CHIEF OMAR SOLIMAN, DARK HORSE ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY
GENERAL AMRE MOUSSA, OR AN AS-YET UNKNOWN MILITARY OFFICER.
WHOEVER ENDS UP AS EGYPT'S NEXT PRESIDENT LIKELY WILL BE
POLITICALLY WEAKER THAN MUBARAK. ONCE MUBARAK'S SUCCESSOR
HAS ASSUMED THE POST, HIS FIRST PRIORITY WILL BE TO BUILD
POPULAR SUPPORT. WE THUS EXPECT THAT THE NEW PRESIDENT WILL
LIKELY ADOPT AN ANTI-AMERICAN TONE IN HIS INITIAL PUBLIC
RHETORIC, IN AN EFFORT TO PROVE HIS NATIONALIST BONA FIDES TO
THE EGYPTIAN STREET, AND MAY POSSIBLY EXTEND AN OLIVE BRANCH
TO THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AS DID PREVIOUS EGYPTIAN
PRESIDENTS AT THE BEGINNING OF THEIR TERMS. END SUMMARY.
LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR SUCCESSION
Â¶2. (C) PRESIDENT MUBARAK IS FOND OF OBSERVING THAT NO ONE
SHOULD HAVE ANY QUALMS REGARDING HIS SUCCESSION, SINCE
EGYPT'S CONSTITUTION PROVIDES A DETAILED GUIDE FOR HOW A
SUCCESSION SHOULD PROCEED. AMONG THE RECENT CONSTITUTIONAL
AMENDMENTS WAS A NOTABLE CHANGE TO THE ARTICLE DETERMINING
WHICH OFFICIAL ASSUMES POWER IN THE EVENT OF THE TEMPORARY
INCAPACITATION OF THE PRESIDENT. ARTICLE 82, WHICH
PREVIOUSLY DELINEATED THAT THE VICE-PRESIDENT SHOULD ASSUME
PRESIDENTIAL POWERS "IF ON ACCOUNT OF ANY TEMPORARY OBSTACLE
THE PRESIDENT IS UNABLE TO CARRY OUT HIS DUTIES," HAS BEEN
AMENDED SO THAT, IF THERE IS NO VICE-PRESIDENT, THE PRIME
MINISTER IS ASSIGNED PRESIDENTIAL POWERS. ARTICLE 84 READS,
"IN CASE OF THE VACANCY OF THE PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE OR THE
PERMANENT DISABILITY OF THE PRESIDENT," THE PRESIDENT OF THE
PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY (PA) OR THE PRESIDENT OF THE SUPREME
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT SHOULD TEMPORARILY ASSUME THE
PRESIDENCY. NEITHER WOULD SUBSEQUENTLY BE ALLOWED TO
NOMINATE HIMSELF FOR THE PRESIDENCY; THERE IS NO SUCH
STIPULATION AGAINST THE PM RUNNING FOR THE OFFICE. ARTICLE
84 GOES ON TO STIPULATE THAT, "THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
SHALL BE CHOSEN WITHIN A MAXIMUM PERIOD OF 60 DAYS FROM THE
DAY OF THE VACANCY OF THE PRESIDENCY."
Â¶3. (C) CONSTITUTIONAL ARTICLE 76, WHICH PREVIOUSLY WIRED THE
EGYPTIAN ELECTORAL FRAMEWORK TO GUARANTEE THE PRESIDENCY TO
THE RULING NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NDP), WAS ALSO AMONG
THE ARTICLES AMENDED IN APRIL (REF A). THE CHANGE WILL
OSTENSIBLY FACILITATE MORE COMPETITIVE PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTIONS, WHILE STILL PROTECTING AGAINST ANY SERIOUS
CHALLENGE TO THE NDP CANDIDATE. UNDER THE REVISIONS TO
ARTICLE 76, FOR AN INTERIM 10-YEAR PERIOD (I.E. UNTIL 2017),
LEGAL POLITICAL PARTIES WHICH HOLD AN ELECTED SEAT IN THE
PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY OR SHURA COUNCIL CAN NOMINATE A
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (CURRENTLY, ONLY FOUR PARTIES MEET
THIS REQUIREMENT - THE NDP, AL GHAD, AL WAFD, AND TAGGAMU).
FOLLOWING THE INTERIM PERIOD, IN ORDER TO RUN A PRESIDENTIAL
-- A PARTY HAS TO HAVE BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR AT LEAST 5 YEARS
PRIOR TO THE ELECTION;
-- ITS CANDIDATE MUST HAVE BEEN A MEMBER OF THE HIGHEST
LEADERSHIP BODY OF THE PARTY FOR AT LEAST 1 YEAR; AND,
-- THE PARTY WOULD HAVE TO HOLD AT LEAST 3% OF THE SEATS IN
BOTH PARLIAMENTARY HOUSES (I.E., 14 SEATS IN THE PEOPLE'S
ASSEMBLY, AND 6 SEATS IN THE SHURA COUNCIL), OR 6% OF THE
IN EITHER THE PA OR SHURA COUNCIL).
Â¶4. (C) GENUINELY INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES FACE AN ALMOST
IMPOSSIBLE BAR TO ENTER THE RACE. TO COMPETE IN THE NEXT
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, ARTICLE 76 STATES THAT AN
"INDEPENDENT" MUST OBTAIN ENDORSEMENTS FROM 250 ELECTED
MEMBERS OF EGYPT'S NATIONAL AND LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE BODIES,
OF WHICH THERE MUST BE A MINIMUM OF 65 ENDORSEMENTS FROM
MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLES ASSEMBLY, 25 FROM THE SHURA COUNCIL,
AND 10 FROM LOCAL COUNCILS IN AT LEAST 14 GOVERNORATES. THIS
WOULD BE A NEAR UNATTAINABLE FEAT FOR A NON-NDP CANDIDATE TO
ACHIEVE, GIVEN THE RULING PARTY'S DOMINATION OF ALL EGYPTIAN
ELECTED BODIES. IN EFFECT, THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 76
ACCOMPLISH TWO OBJECTIVES REGARDING INDEPENDENTS: THE RULING
PARTY CAN BLOCK THE EMERGENCE OF ANY GENUINELY "INDEPENDENT"
CANDIDATE, WHILE IT COULD THEORETICALLY REACH BEYOND THE
NDP'S TOP LEADERSHIP TO SELECT AN "INDEPENDENT" WHOM THE
RULING ELITE JUDGES WILL BEST PROTECT THEIR INTERESTS,
PROVIDED THE NDP RETAINS PARTY DISCIPLINE.
Â¶5. (C) PRESIDENT MUBARAK, WHO BEGAN HIS FIFTH 6-YEAR TERM IN
SEPTEMBER 2005, RECENTLY TURNED 79. THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION IS DUE TO BE HELD IN 2011. BY THE TIME MUBARAK
SERVES HIS FULL TERM, THERE MAY BE OTHER CANDIDATES IN THE
WINGS, OR MUBARAK HIMSELF COULD CHOOSE TO RUN AGAIN FOR THE
PRESIDENCY. HE IS ON RECORD AS SAYING, IN A NOVEMBER 2006
SPEECH, THAT HE PLANNED TO REMAIN PRESIDENT "AS LONG AS I
HAVE A HEART THAT BEATS, AND BREATH IN MY BODY." BUT IF THE
SUCCESSION HAPPENED TOMORROW, EGYPTIAN PARLOR SPECULATION
FOCUSES ON THE FOLLOWING AS POSSIBLE SUCCESSORS.
Â¶6. (C) CAIRENE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM HOLDS THAT GAMAL WANTS THE
JOB, DESPITE HIS REPEATED DENIALS TO THE CONTRARY (REF B).
THE MOST RECENT SUCH ABJURATION WAS ON MAY 2, DURING AN
INTERVIEW WITH THE ORBIT SATELLITE TV CHANNEL, WHEN GAMAL
STATED THAT, "I DO NOT HAVE THE INTENTION AND AMBITION TO RUN
FOR PRESIDENT ... WHATEVER THE PARTY SAYS DOES NOT MATTER. I
AM NOT LOOKING FOR ANY EXECUTIVE POST." SUCH COY DEMURRALS
RING HOLLOW IN THE FACE OF HIS INCREASINGLY ROBUST ROLE
WITHIN THE NDP (FAR EXCEEDING THAT OF HIS COUNTERPARTS IN THE
PARTY HIERARCHY), HIS APPARENTLY CENTRAL ROLE IN CREATING NEW
LEGISLATION, AND HIS RECENT TOURS TO VARIOUS GOVERNORATES
FEATURING MINISTERIAL ENTOURAGES. IT IS HARD TO ARGUE THAT
GAMAL IS NOT BEING GROOMED FOR THE PRESIDENCY.
Â¶7. (C) MANY IN THE EGYPTIAN ELITE SEE HIS SUCCESSION AS
POSITIVE, AS HIS LIKELY CONTINUATION OF THE CURRENT STATUS
QUO WOULD SERVE THEIR BUSINESS AND POLITICAL INTERESTS.
GIVEN THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CANDIDACY, AND WEAK
OPPOSITION LEADERSHIP, THERE ARE CURRENTLY FEW OTHER EGYPTIAN
PERSONALITIES WITH THE NATIONAL STATURE AND POLITICAL CAPITAL
TO SERIOUSLY CONTEND FOR THE PRESIDENCY. LIKEWISE, DUE TO
THE PARANOIA OF THE EGYPTIAN DICTATORSHIP, NO OTHER NAME CAN
SAFELY OR RESPECTFULLY BE BRUITED AS A CONTENDER. WHILE THE
PRESIDENT'S SON IS VULNERABLE TO OPEN CRITICISM FOR HIS
PRESUMED AMBITION, HE IS THE ONLY PERSON IN EGYPT WHOSE TOTAL
LOYALTY TO MUBARAK IS ALSO TAKEN FOR GRANTED, SO HIS IS THE
ONLY NAME THAT CAN POSSIBLY BE BANDIED ABOUT.
Â¶8. (C) A KEY STUMBLING BLOCK FOR A GAMAL CANDIDACY COULD BE
THE MILITARY. EACH OF EGYPT'S FOUR PRESIDENTS SINCE 1952
AROSE FROM THE OFFICER CORPS, AND THE MILITARY HAS
HISTORICALLY BEEN THE ULTIMATE GUARANTOR OF THE PRESIDENT'S
RULE. GAMAL DID NOT SERVE AS A MILITARY OFFICER, AND WE
BELIEVE HE DID NOT COMPLETE HIS COMPULSORY SERVICE. MANY
OBSERVERS OPINE THAT TIMING IS THE CRUCIAL FACTOR FOR A
POTENTIAL GAMAL PRESIDENCY - HIS POWER BASE IS HIS FATHER,
AND SO WHILE HE COULD CONCEIVABLY BE INSTALLED PRIOR TO
MUBARAK'S DEATH, THE TASK WOULD BECOME FAR MORE DIFFICULT,
ALTHOUGH NOT INSURMOUNTABLE, ONCE THE PHARAOH HAS DEPARTED
THE SCENE, AND PERSONAL LOYALTIES TO HIM ARE IN THE PAST.
ALTHOUGH THERE IS WIDESPREAD POPULAR ANIMUS AGAINST A GAMAL
CANDIDACY, WITH MANY EGYPTIANS OPINING PROUDLY THAT, "WE ARE
NOT SYRIA OR SAUDI!", THE NDP MACHINERY COULD LIKELY STAGE AN
ELECTORAL VICTORY, BASED ON POOR VOTER TURNOUT, SLOPPY VOTER
LISTS, AND STATE CONTROL OF THE ELECTION APPARATUS.
Â¶9. (C) EGYPTIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF AND MUBARAK CONSIGLIERE,
IN PAST YEARS SOLIMAN WAS OFTEN CITED AS LIKELY TO BE NAMED
TO THE LONG-VACANT VICE-PRESIDENTIAL POST. IN THE PAST TWO
YEARS, SOLIMAN HAS STEPPED OUT OF THE SHADOWS, AND ALLOWED
HIMSELF TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED, AND HIS MEETINGS WITH FOREIGN
LEADERS REPORTED. MANY OF OUR CONTACTS BELIEVE THAT SOLIMAN,
BECAUSE OF HIS MILITARY BACKGROUND, WOULD AT THE LEAST HAVE
TO FIGURE IN ANY SUCCESSION SCENARIO FOR GAMAL, POSSIBLY AS A
TRANSITIONAL FIGURE. SOLIMAN HIMSELF ADAMANTLY DENIES ANY
PERSONAL AMBITIONS, BUT HIS INTEREST AND DEDICATION TO
NATIONAL SERVICE IS OBVIOUS. HIS LOYALTY TO MUBARAK SEEMS
ROCK-SOLID. AT AGE 71, HE COULD BE ATTRACTIVE TO THE RULING
APPARATUS AND THE PUBLIC AT LARGE AS A RELIABLE FIGURE
UNLIKELY TO HARBOR AMBITIONS FOR ANOTHER MULTI-DECADE
PRESIDENCY. A KEY UNANSWERED QUESTION IS HOW HE WOULD
RESPOND TO A GAMAL PRESIDENCY ONCE MUBARAK IS DEAD. AN
ALLEGED PERSONAL FRIEND OF SOLIMAN TELLS US THAT SOLIMAN
"DETESTS" THE IDEA OF GAMAL AS PRESIDENT, AND THAT HE ALSO
WAS "DEEPLY PERSONALLY HURT" BY MUBARAK, WHO PROMISED TO NAME
HIM VICE-PRESIDENT SEVERAL YEARS AGO, BUT THEN RENEGED.
Â¶10. (C) THE CHARISMATIC ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY GENERAL
PRUDENTLY HAS NEVER INDICATED INTENTION OR AMBITION TO ENTER
INTO EGYPTS DOMESTIC POLITICAL FRAY, AND HAS NO EGYPTIAN
INSTITUTIONAL POLITICAL PLATFORM FROM WHICH TO SPRING.
HOWEVER, AS THE HIGH-PROFILE ELDER STATESMAN OF ARAB CAUSES,
HE ENJOYS CONSIDERABLE STREET CREDIBILITY, POPULARITY, AND
PERCEIVED GRAVITAS. IT IS FAR-FETCHED BUT CONCEIVABLE THAT,
IN A LEADERSHIP CRISIS FOLLOWING MUBARAK'S DEATH, MOUSSA
COULD EMERGE AS A PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDER, PROVIDED THAT HE IS
AN NDP MEMBER, OR IF THE NDP WERE TO PROMOTE HIM UNDER THE
CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS ALLOWED FOR INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES.
Â¶11. (C) CURRENTLY, THERE IS NO OBVIOUS CONTENDER FROM AMONG
THE OFFICER CORPS, EGYPT'S TRADITIONAL PRESIDENTIAL
RECRUITMENT GROUNDS. MINISTER OF DEFENSE TANTAWI, A
CONTEMPORARY OF MUBARAK'S, APPEARS TO HARBOR NO POLITICAL
AMBITIONS. LIKE SOLIMAN, HE COULD PLAY A ROLE IN CLEARING
THE WAY FOR GAMAL, IF HE CALCULATES THAT IS IN THE BEST
INTERESTS OF THE COUNTRY; CONVERSELY, HE COULD ALSO BE A KEY
PLAYER IN PREVENTING GAMALS ASCENDANCE. WE HAVE HEARD SOME
LIMITED REPORTS OF TANTAWIS INCREASING FRUSTRATION AND
DISENCHANTMENT WITH GAMAL (REF B). IN THE EVENT OF A NATIONAL
LEADERSHIP CRISIS, IT IS NEAR INCONCEIVABLE THAT GIVEN
MUBARAK'S PERSONAL MANIPULATION OF THE OFFICE CORPS, THAT
ANOTHER MILITARY OFFICER COULD EMERGE FROM OBSCURITY TO
ASSERT HIMSELF AS A CANDIDATE. BUT TANTAWI AND HIS SENIOR
COTERIE ARE NOT NECESSARILY POPULAR AT MID AND LOWER RANKS,
SO THE POSSIBILITY OF A MID-20TH CENTURY STYLE COUP OF
COLONELS CANNOT BE ENTIRELY DISCOUNTED.
Â¶12. (C) OF THE 10 PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDERS IN 2005,
SECOND-PLACE AL GHAD PARTY LEADER AYMAN NOUR IS CURRENTLY
SERVING A SEVEN-YEAR JAIL TERM, AND ACCORDING TO EGYPTIAN
LAW, WILL BE BANNED FROM PARTICIPATING IN EGYPTIAN POLITICAL
LIFE FOR SEVERAL YEARS FOLLOWING HIS RELEASE. THE
THIRD-PLACE FINISHER, AL WAFD PARTY CANDIDATE NO'MAN GOMAA,
LOST HIS PARTY POSITION FOLLOWING A VIOLENT AND
SCANDAL-RIDDEN LEADERSHIP STRUGGLE. THE OTHER EIGHT
CANDIDATES, MARGINAL FIGURES TO BEGIN WITH, HAVE FADED BACK
INTO TOTAL OBSCURITY. CURRENT AL WAFD LEADER MAHMOUD ABAZA
IS A TALENTED POLITICIAN, BUT AT THIS POINT, DOES NOT APPEAR
TO HAVE NATIONAL APPEAL OR ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY TO MOUNT A
SERIOUS ATTEMPT AT THE PRESIDENCY.
DARK HORSE AND ALSO RANS
Â¶13. (C) POPULAR REFORMIST MINISTER OF TRADE RACHID IS A
POTENTIAL CANDIDATE, THOUGH A DISTINCT DARK HORSE.
NONETHELESS, HE COMES FROM AN OLD AND RESPECTED FAMILY AND IS
SEEN BY MANY AS LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR EGYPT'S IMPRESSIVE
ECONOMIC GROWTH OF THE PAST THREE YEARS. INTERESTINGLY, THE
HEAD OF CAIRO'S LARGE AND INFLUENTIAL AMCHAM, WHO KNOWS
RACHID WELL, TOLD US THAT, AFTER NEGOTIATING THE
CONTROVERSIAL QIZ PROGRAM, THE MINISTER "REALLY NEEDS
MOVEMENT ON THE FTA FOR POLITICAL COVER," RAISING THE
QUESTION: POLITICAL COVER FOR WHAT? WHILE IT IS HIGHLY
UNLIKELY RACHID WOULD TAKE ON GAMAL HEAD-TO-HEAD, WE CANNOT
DISCOUNT THE POSSIBILITY THAT HE WILLPLAY A ROLE IN A
CARETAKER GOVERNMENT, AND MAY EENTUALLY EMERGE AS A LEADER.
Â¶14. (C) SAFWAT ELSHERIF (NDP SECRETARY GENERAL AND SHURA
COUNCIL PEAKER), MUFEED SHEHAB (NDP ASSISTANT SYG, AND
MINISTER OF STATE FOR LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, AND
ZAKARIA AZMY (NDP ASSISTANT SYG AND MUBARA'S DE FACTO CHIEF
OF STAFF) ALL, AS SENIOR LEADES OF THE NDP, MEET THE
CONSTITUTIONAL CRITERIA T RUN FOR OFFICE. NONE OF THESE
GRIZZLED NDP VETERANS HAVE PUBLICLY EXPRESSED PRESIDENTIAL
ASPIRATONS, NOR DO THEY APPEAR TO POSSESS ANY CAPABILITIE
TO GOVERN, NOR PERSONAL CONSTITUENCIES. HOWEVE, WHILE
UNLIKELY, IT IS POSSIBLE THAT, ONCE MUBAAK PERE IS OUT OF
THE PICTURE, ONE OF THEM COULD EMERGE IN AN ANTI-GAMAL PARTY
PUTSCH. FURTHERMORE. MOST ANALYSTS HERE BELIEVE THAT ANY
GOVERNOR PUSHING FOR THE PRESIDENCY IS A FAR-FETCHED
POSSIBILITY - THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF GOVERNORS ARE
FORMER SENIOR MILITARY AND POLICE OFFICERS CHOSEN FOR THEIR
LOYALTY, FAR FROM THE CRITICAL POLITICAL FRAY IN CAIRO, AND
WITH NO POWER BASES.
Â¶15. (C) WHILE THE SPECTER OF AN MB PRESIDENCY HAUNTS SECULAR
EGYPTIANS, IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY IN THE IMMEDIATE
POST-MUBARAK PERIOD. UNDER THE CURRENT LEGAL FRAMEWORK, THE
MB HAS NO ABILITY TO PUT FORWARD A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IN
THE EVENT OF AN ELECTION. THE ORGANIZATION DOES NOT APPEAR
TO HAVE THE ORGANIZED MILITARY WING NECESSARY SHOULD IT WISH
TO ATTEMPT TO SEIZE THE PRESIDENCY BY FORCE. CONSTANT
OVERSIGHT OF THE ARMED FORCES AIMED AT ROOTING OUT POTENTIAL
ISLAMIST SYMPATHIZERS MEANS THAT FEW LIKELY REMAIN, ALTHOUGH
THE POSSIBILITY DOES EXIST THAT SOME CLOSE-MOUTHED MB-LEANING
OFFICERS ARE PRESENT. OVERALL, IN THE VIEW OF MOST EGYPTIAN
ANALYSTS, THE GROUP'S APPROACH SEEMS TO BE ONE OF PATIENCE
AND GRASS ROOTS BUILDING OF SUPPORT, WAITING FOR THE DAY WHEN
IT MIGHT COME TO POWER THROUGH POPULAR ELECTION, OR BY
POPULAR DEMAND AFTER A GAMAL PRESIDENCY HAS FOUNDERED.
Â¶16. (C) WHOEVER EGYPT'S NEXT PRESIDENT IS, HE WILL INEVITABLY
BE POLITICALLY WEAKER THAN MUBARAK, AND ONCE HE HAS ASSUMED
THE POST, AMONG HIS FIRST PRIORITIES WILL BE TO CEMENT HIS
POSITION AND BUILD POPULAR SUPPORT. WE CAN THUS ANTICIPATE
THAT THE NEW PRESIDENT MAY SOUND AN INITIAL ANTI-AMERICAN
TONE IN HIS PUBLIC RHETORIC, IN AN EFFORT TO PROVE HIS
NATIONALIST BONA FIDES TO THE EGYPTIAN STREET, AND DISTANCE
HIMSELF FROM MUBARAK'S POLICIES. IF HISTORY IS ANY GUIDE, WE
CAN ALSO EXPECT THE NEW PRESIDENT TO EXTEND AN OLIVE BRANCH
TO THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AS DID GAMAL ABDEL NASSER, ANWAR
EL SADAT, AND MUBARAK EARLY IN ALL OF THEIR TERMS, IN AN
EFFORT TO CO-OPT POTENTIAL OPPOSITION, AND BOOST POPULARITY.
"Times editor Keller, who worked closely with Assange, has said that if Assange is 'a journalist, he's not the kind of journalist that I am,' nor is WikiLeaks 'my kind of news organization.' It's not, however, Keller's or Schumer's definition of journalism that is relevant. It's the definition under the law."
The current popular unrest in the Arab world has a lot of lessons for Washington. Undoubtedly one of the most jarring is this: The leak of a simple series of cables from a U.S. ambassador in an obscure country — officially condemned by Washington — may have done more to inspire democracy in the Arab world than did a bloody, decadelong, trillion-dollar war effort orchestrated by the United States.
The toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and America’s much-bedeviled efforts to install democracy in Iraq certainly worried Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other Arab autocrats, who were uneasy about George W. Bush’s much-touted "model" for the Arab world. But these leaders are much less disturbed by that nearly eight-year effort than by a few weeks of spontaneous popular eruption in Tunisia, which has now spread to the cities of Egypt and Yemen.
Via Greg Mitchell(again):
7:50 Raffi Khatchadourian of the New Yorker (an featured in excerpt, below) tweets: "Buried in #WikiLeaks Egypt cables is an estimate that's stayed with me today: 1.4 million children working in 'forced labor' in Yemen. True?"
11:05 Wash Post, which has blasted WikiLeaks and said over and over "nothing new" in the cables, now doing an interesting crowd-sourcing effort on the cables. Even credits WikiLeaks with redacting. Major push. This all from a paper that has mocked WikiLeaks releases every time.
9:30 Transcript of NYT editor Bill Keller on the Lehrer "NewsHour" tonight with more comments on Assange and WikiLeaks that may drive you up the wall. Too many to count. Things to remember about Keller: backed Iraq invasion, called himself "liberal hawk," backed Judy Miller to the hilt. Marcy Wheeler adds: "You forgot: Sat on illegal wiretap story for a year." Which helped re-elect Bush.