On January 29, five days into massive pro-democracy protests that shook the nation of Egypt, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak appointed his “close personal friend and confidante” Omar Suleiman as his vice president, the first in the nation’s modern history. While Suleiman’s appointment likely was an attempt to appease the protest movement, demonstrations did not cease, as many saw the move as little more than a reshuffling of the old government.
There are now signs, including statements by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that point to Washington and other Western capitals endorsing Suleiman as a possible transitional president to replace Mubarak and broker a compromise with protesters that could possibly lead to democratic reforms.
While there may be a number of benefits to having Suleiman lead the transition — such as his stature as a high-level military official and history of negotiation with foreign powers — there are also a number of troubling facts about his history as Egypt’s intelligence chief, particularly related to his complicity in human rights abuses.
As Egyptian Intelligence Director, Suleiman headed up the feared Egyptian intelligence agencies. In this capacity, he also served as the country’s chief liaison to the American CIA’s rendition program, which shuttled terror suspects to countries, such as Egypt, where they could be tortured. Australian journalist Richard Neville recounts the story of how, in the case of detainee Mamdouh Habib, an Australian citizen, Suleiman ordered brutal torture. Read more
egypt: Will The West Endorse Human Rights Violator Omar Suleiman To Be Egypt’s Transitional President?Posted: February 6, 2011 in Uncategorized