Saturday, January 29, 2011

From a Friend

From a friend with contacts in Egypt....

Well, the writing is on the wall it seems. I could be wrong, but appears Mubarak is done. His sons have left the country and Omar Suleiman has been sworn as the first vice president Egypt has had in 30 years. I expect an announcement of power transfer reasonably soon. Judging by the tweet streams, appears most people there believe the military has pushed Mubarak into this. Something has to happen soon, as police and internal security are abandoning posts to join in semi-organized looting. Several police stations have come under direct attack by armed protesters. The declared 4pm curfew seems to have been largely ignored, most recent reliable est I've seen is over 50k still in streets in Cairo. Cairo is 7 hrs ahead of US eastern time.

Suleiman would be a very acceptable replacement to Israel & the West. Whether he'll be acceptable to the Egyptian people is another question. He has been the director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services (EGIS) since 1993. Prior to that he was director of military intelligence. He is considered a relatively liberal Muslim, strongly opposed to radical Islam. He was the mastermind behind the fragmentation of Islamist groups who led the uprising against the state in the 1990s. He's been a key behind the scenes player in the Israeli/Hamas/PA/Egypt/US back-and-forth, and appears to be trusted [in a relative sense] by the current Israeli govt. He's been more public in direct diplomacy between Israel and Egypt. As Egypt's intelligence chief, Suleiman has been in charge of the country's most important political security files, the ultimate insider. He is 75.

Aviation chief Ahmed Mohamed Shafik, until a few hrs ago widely considered the front runner to replace Mubarak, has been appointed Prime Minister.

NOT clear that being in Egypt means one knows more than the rest of us, of course. But there it is, for what it's worth...

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