Mubarak's Consigliere

by Zoe Pollock

Robert Scheer explores Suleiman's shady past:

[The Obama] administration has fallen back on the sordid option of backing a new and improved dictatorship. Predictably, it is one guided by a local strongman long entrusted by the CIA, Vice President Omar Suleiman, described by U.S. officials in the WikiLeaks cables as a "Mubarak consigliere." The script is out of an all-too-familiar playbook: Pick this longtime chief of Egyptian intelligence who has consistently done our bidding in matters of torture and retrofit him as a modern democratic leader. But this time the Egyptian street will not meekly go along.

... The scenes of the demonstrators in recent weeks have in some ways been reminiscent of those I witnessed in Cairo back in 1967, but their significance is exactly the opposite. Back then, when huge crowds took to the streets their anger got perversely twisted by nationalist rage into the demand that Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had presided over a humiliating defeat in the Six-Day War, not make good on his threat to resign. The failure of the Egyptian street to hold Nasser accountable for the stark failures of his dictatorship ushered in a 44-year reign of tyranny, corruption and stagnation at the heart of the Arab world. ...

A key cable discussing the enormous unpopularity of both Anwar Sadat and Mubarak, who replaced him 30 years ago, states: "Mubarak seems to have managed the dilemma better in at least one key area: he has systematically and 'legally' eliminated virtually all political opposition." Our kind of guy?

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