Friday, February 4, 2011

US, Israel to fill power vacuum in Egypt

A photo sent to Press TV's UReport by Qutab depicts Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) shaking hands with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman.
A media report says US and Israel are floating a plan to introduce newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman as President Hosni Mubarak's possible successor.

Suleiman was handpicked as vice president after President Mubarak sacked the cabinet amid ongoing massive rallies against his regime.

Suleiman, who may take over the presidency from Mubarak, was the country's longtime spy chief and is a close US and Israel ally.

A report appeared on the AOL News website said on Friday that the US and its allies view Suleiman, 74, as a reliable fix-it man in some of the Middle East's most sensitive disputes.

Suleiman has mediated Arab-Israeli talks and even aided the CIA when it needed a hand in interrogating so-called terror suspects, the report added.

"He has a long history of doing all the dirty work that needs to be done in Egypt. Both domestically, and we also know that he was involved with the infamous rendition affairs with the United States," Rime Allaf, a Middle East expert at London's Chatham House think tank, told AOL News.

"We've heard a lot of stories where he [Suleiman] would take a personal interest, either in the renditions or in anybody who was caught who he thought had links to Islamist groups. He was said to be personally involved in the interrogations and the torture," Allaf added.

"He's not a civilian, and he's not a pleasant person."

Suleiman has recently described the calls for Mubarak's resignation as calls for chaos.

Egypt has been ruled by four presidents since it was declared a republic back in 1953. All of them have been members of the country's most influential institution -- the military.

Experts say with former intelligence chief thought of as President Mubarak's possible successor, it seems like things in Egypt would not really change that much.

"But Suleiman is the choice of Israel obviously you know of the long history between Netanyahu and his government and the proceeding government and Suleiman is a bad choice, but it shows you where the power of politics lie in this. That is why the Americans and Israelis want him" Franklin Lamb, a professor at the American University of Beirut told Press TV on Friday.

The developments come as millions of Egyptians take to the streets demanding an immediate end to the Mubarak regime's rule.

Protesters have vowed to stand firm despite the deadly clashes that left several people dead over the past 11 days. Thirty protesters have been arrested on Friday alone.

According to the United Nations, at least 300 people have so far been killed and thousands more have been injured during nationwide protests in Egypt.

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