The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

On Omar Suleiman

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I have a piece on Omar Suleiman up at Foreign Policy, in which I examine the case for Egypt's chief of intelligence succeeding Hosni Mubarak. I thought the focus in most reporting tended to stress Gamal, and wanted to balance things out by imagining how a Suleiman takeover might look like. Although the headline (not mine) may seem like it's an endorsement, the idea is more to reflect on the current "Gamal vs. Omar" debate and how bloody depressing it all is. I conclude:

Lost in this Egyptian Kremlinology is the fact that neither Gamal Mubarak nor Omar Suleiman presents a clear departure from the present state of affairs. Neither offers the new social contract that so many of Egypt's 80 million citizens are demanding in strikes and protests. The prevalence of the Gamal vs. Omar debate, more than anything, highlights the low expectations ordinary Egyptians have for a democratic succession to Hosni Mubarak's 28-year reign. Those low expectations come with their own quiet tyranny, too.

Feedback welcomed!