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Just as power seems to be settling on Egyptian VP Omar Suleiman, Wikileaks has released a slew of cables related to the former spy chief.The cables show Suleiman as a valued partner of Israel and an enemy to Iran. It’s obvious why Obama has supported his accession. However, his connections to Israel could make him unpopular in the Muslim world.
Suleiman was Israel’s top choice for VP:
¶5. (S) In terms of atmospherics, Hacham said the Israeli delegation was “shocked” by Mubarak’s aged appearance and slurred speech. Hacham was full of praise for Soliman, however, and noted that a “hot line” set up between the MOD and Egyptian General Intelligence Service is now in daily use. Hacham said he sometimes speaks to Soliman’s deputy Mohammed Ibrahim several times a day. Hacham noted that the Israelis believe Soliman is likely to serve as at least an interim President if Mubarak dies or is incapacitated. (Note: We defer to Embassy Cairo for analysis of Egyptian succession scenarios, but there is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of Omar Soliman.)
Suleiman is committed to peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine crisis:
Soliman led off the New Year’s Eve meeting by telling the Codel that the region is at a special, critical juncture. Egypt is America’s partner. Sometimes we have our differences. But Egypt will continue to provide the USG with its knowledge and expertise on the critical regional issues, such as Lebanon and Iraq. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the core issue; Soliman contended a peaceful resolution would be a “big blow” to terrorist organisations that use the conflict as a pretext. For this reason, President Mubarak is committed to ending the Israeli-Arab “stalemate.”
Suleiman is opposed to Iran and Muslim extremists:
¶10. (S) Iran: Soliman said that Iran remains a significant threat to Egypt. It continues to influence Shiaa in Iraq and the Gulf. Iran is supporting Jihad and spoiling peace, and has supported extremists in Egypt previously. If they were to support the Muslim Brotherhood this would make them “our enemy,” he said. The GOE continues to press the Iranian regime to turn over extremists given “safe harbor” in Iran. This issue, he said, will remain an obstacle to improving Egyptian-Iranian relations. (Soliman met with Iranian former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani earlier in the week. Larijani was in Egypt on a week-long “private visit.”
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