WikiLeaks release cables on Egyptian succession

Ahram Online, Wednesday 15 Dec 2010

Back in 2006 US diplomats in Cairo were speculating about the succession question in Egypt and predicting that whoever shall succeed President Mubarak will adopt an anti-American tone, and make nice with the Muslim Brotherhood

Gamal Moubarak

An April 2006 cable, sent by US diplomats in Cairo, set down their analysis of the possibility that Gamal Mubarak, the head of the influential Policies Committee in the ruling National Democratic Party, would succeed his father, President Hosni Mubarak, to the Egyptian presidency. The summary of the cable described Gamal Mubarak as "a rising star in the ruling party" and said that despite his claim that he does not aim for succession, his actions show otherwise.

The cable added that Gamal Mubarak's chances of presidential succession were strengthened by the lack of "obvious contenders". It pointed to several signs indicating that Gamal Mubarak was being groomed for the presidency. Among those signs cited by US diplomats, was the shuffling of the cabinet to include younger technocrats with links to the president's son, promoting Gamal Mubarak to the post of assistant secretary general of the NDP and his engagement to Ms. Khadiga el-Gammal (whom he later married).

The cable also referred to several opposition leaders who have made statements on the succession question or talked directly to US diplomats about their concerns over the succession scenario.

The cable said that Osama El-Ghazaly Harb, editor of International Politics quarterly journal, issued by Al-Ahram, and one-time member of the NDP's Policies Committee, headed by the younger Mubarak, spoke to them (the US diplomats) "of his disillusionment with the (ruling) party's reform process, which he came to believe was merely a vehicle for Gamal to promote his political career."

The cable also noted that supporters of Ayman Nour, Ghad Party leader and contender for the presidency in 2005, told US diplomats that the reason behind Nour's imprisonment was his "threat to Gamal Mubarak's succession".

The cable finally added that there were no obvious contenders except for Intelligence Chief Omar Soliman who "is often cited as a potential appointee to the long-vacant Vice Presidential post" or Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa although "he has never expressed or even hinted at any presidential ambitions".

However, the cable concluded that the military is believed to be the main barrier to Gamal Mubarak's succession.

In another cable also created in 2006, it was stated that US diplomats expect that whoever shall succeed President Mubarak will most likely adopt an anti-American tone and "extend an olive branch to the Muslim Brotherhood, as did previous Egyptian presidents at the beginning of their terms."



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