Suleiman: America’s new man in Egypt
Egypt's Vice-President Omar Suleiman is the nation’s former spy chief, a friend of the US, a reported torturer, and has long been touted as the next presidential successor.
As the Egyptian revolution unfolds, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak remains in power, but his is not the only US backed political leader in the nation.Suleiman, or as the protestors have referred to him, “Sheik al-Torture" has long been an ally of the United States. US President Barack Obama has been careful not to call for “free elections” in Egypt, and instead insists on an orderly transition, one which could see another US backed leader ascend to power. Mubarak may still be in charge officially, Suleiman is currently operating as the nation’s de-facto president.Journalist Pepe Escobar from the Asia times explained the US fears Arab democracy. The US needs dictators and autocracies which are controlled to secure oil supplies and the security of Israel, he argued. It is easier to control one or a small body then a large democratic body.Escobar said Suleiman fits the same mold Mubark and numerous other Arab dictators in the past also fit, making his assent to power an easy transition for the United States. Suleiman is a CIA point-man. Suleiman is not real change, he explained.“Real change is the enormous list of demands that’s being circulated among the protestors, among youth groups,” Escobar said. “This implies, first off all, Mubarak stepping down. A committee that is going to study the Constitution and alter the Constitution then submits this altering to a referendum, judges to supervise the process and the end of the state of emergency. Suleiman, if I am not mistake, said two days ago, no.” He explained if you listen to the Egyptians that is the roadmap for change in the country. They want change, not more of the same.The face of Egypt is not the Muslim Brotherhood, Escobar explained. He argued the majority of the Egyptians want a true democratic society. In addition, the Muslim Brotherhood has denounced violence and a number of previous extremist views. They want to have a say in the government, not rule it as an Islamic state. However, the US continues to believe Muslim Brotherhood is a threat, no matter what the people of Egypt want or actually believe. Egypt it pivotal to US policy in the Middle East, and they fear any change to their control over oil and the security of Israel, argued Escobar. Lisa Hajjar, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California in Santa Barbara argued Suleiman is the CIA’s man in Egypt, and has been for years.Suleiman ran Egypt’s counterpart to the CIA up until just a few days ago when we was appointed as Vice President by Mubarak. He has actively worked with the CIA is programs targeting al-Qaeda and other groups, she said. Following 9/11 Suleiman became even more relevant, acting as a major player in carrying out America’s “Dirty work.”“Suleiman had his hands literally dirty in the torture of several people,” Hajjar commented. There is a great deal of torture that goes on routinely in Egypt, she explained. Suleiman has focused on targeting international terrorist criminals, at the behest of the United States.Many of the protestors see him as another Mubarak and it is unclear whether the Egyptian military fully supports him. “Suleiman probably will not survive beyond September when there is an election. He is unlikely to be a democratically elected president,” she added.