Profile: Omar Suleiman and EUA Friends

Posted: February 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Profile: Omar Suleiman
Omar Suleiman Suleiman: trusted Mubarak associate

The new vice-president, Omar Suleiman, has emerged from the shadows in recent years to play an increasingly visible public role.
While few Egyptians know many personal details about the former intelligence chief, he has gained an international reputation as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians and between rival Palestinian factions.
He is credited with helping to secure the ceasefire that ended the Israeli military offensive in Gaza in 2009.
He has also been trying to secure the release of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, currently being held in Gaza by Hamas.
Since Egypt became the first Arab country to make peace with Israel in 1979, its Western allies have seen its involvement in such negotiations as key to its strategic regional importance.
General Suleiman has been a frequent visitor to the United States.
Possible successor?
Born in 1935 in Qena in Upper Egypt, Omar Suleiman, joined the army in 1954 and received military training in the former Soviet Union. He also gained a higher degree in political science at university in Cairo.
Afterwards he moved quickly through the ranks of government intelligence. In 1991, he became director of military intelligence and two years later, he was named general intelligence director.
Continue reading the main story

* Born 1935 in Qena
* Joined army in 1954
* Fought in 1962 Yemen war and Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1972
* Not a member of the ruling NDP

His brilliant military career, taking part in the 1962 Yemen War and the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1972, means that he is widely supported in the armed services, the most powerful institution in Egypt.
However he has also proven to be a trusted associate of the president, Hosni Mubarak. In 1995 his quick-witted advice may have saved the Egyptian leader’s life in an assassination attempt on his motorcade in Ethiopia.
While he has shown little political ambition, General Suleiman has often been mentioned as a possible successor to the 82-year-old Mr Mubarak.
He would continue in the trend of military strongmen who have led Egypt since the 1952 revolution.
The prominent independent journalist, Ibrahim Issa, has previously suggested that the general would be “a compromise candidate for all Egyptian forces”.
Last year posters supporting the general mysteriously appeared in central Cairo, only to be swiftly taken down.
In the past, constitutional rules would have posed a problem for any presidential bid. These officially dictate that a contender must have held a senior rank in a political party for at least a year prior to elections. General Suleiman has not been a member of the ruling National Democratic Party.
Now though, with tens of thousands of demonstrators on the streets venting their anger against the NDP, this can only stand in his favour.
Even if he is not the next president, even in a transitional capacity, some experts believe that Omar Suleiman is likely to be a kingmaker. Read here

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