Jerusalem – The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Egypt’s intelligence chief is considered in line to become the country’s next president.

Gen. Omar Suleiman, director of Egypt’s foreign intelligence service, has been described as a leading candidate to succeed President Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian sources said the 73-year-old Gen. Suleiman was supported by Egypt’s powerful military, expected to play a major role approving any successor to the 80-year-old Mr. Mubarak.

“Suleiman is not Mubarak’s candidate, but he is certainly the military’s man and that means a lot,” an Egyptian source said. “Remember, this is Egypt not Syria, where one family controls everything.”

Some Egyptian sources and analysts raise the prospect that Mr. Suleiman would either become president or vice president in a post-Mubarak Egypt.

For his part, Mr. Mubarak, in power since the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat, had been regarded as promoting his 44-year-old son, Gamal, as president.

However, the Mubarak regime has also raised Gen. Suleiman’s stature.

The general conducts much of Egypt’s foreign policy, particularly with the Hamas regime in the neighboring Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority and Sudan.

Gen. Suleiman also serves as a Mubarak envoy to the United States.

Mr. Dia’a Rashwan, a political analyst with state-owned Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, has asserted that the military has already selected Gen. Suleiman to succeed Mr. Mubarak.

Mr. Mubarak has increasingly appreciated the advice of Gen. Suleiman, a former infantry officer. They said Gen. Suleiman saved Mr. Mubarak’s life in 1995 when he persuaded the president to ride in an armored limousine during a visit to Ethiopia. Mr. Mubarak’s motorcade was attacked but the president was not injured.

“Suleiman has the image of a respected law-and-order guy,” said Amr Hamzawy, an Egyptian political scientist and analyst for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the Los Angeles Times. “He represents stability in a time of rising social tension.”

Mr. Suleiman has also been a quiet but instrumental force in monitoring

Islamic opposition. Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members have been arrested and imprisoned in 2008, the latest on July 21 when 39 members were detained in the Nile Delta.

Reliable sources in Egypt’s ruling elite said the younger Mubarak, secretary-general of the ruling National Democratic Party, has encountered suspicion by both young Egyptians as well as the Old Guard in the government. They said Gamal’s career has been characterized by an absence of a military or foreign policy record.

Yet there is another intrigue that hovers over Gamal Mubarak. As The Bulletin reported in July 2006, the younger Mubarak visited Beirut and gave full support to the massive Hezbollah missile attacks on Israel, which rattled Egyptian-Israeli relation.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2008


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.