Egypt – Egyptian Military Succession Plans Told to US Embassy

Posted on 28/01/2011 by

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Via WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks Staffer, 28 January, 2pm GMT. Original article here.

The Egyptian military planned for a “smooth” transfer of power to the president’s son in the event of regime change, according to recently published US diplomatic cables.

A senior Egyptian politician told an American diplomat in July 2009 [09CAIRO1468] that the military would safeguard a “constitutional transition of power” and implied the armed forces would support Gamal Mubarak, the son of current president Hosni Mubarak. Dr. Ali El Deen Hilal Dessouki, a former minister in the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), claimed that even though “the real center of power in Egypt is the military”, they would have “no objection to a civilian” as the next president.

A remark interpreted by the US official as a “pointed reference” to Gamal Mubarak. Dessouki went on to dismiss the possible danger of protests against the current regime, calling opposition parties “weak” and democracy a “long term goal.”

“There would be some violence around the upcoming 2010 parliamentary and 2011 presidential elections”, he said, “but…security forces would be able to keep it under control.”

“Widespread politically-motivated unrest was not likely because it was not part of the ’Egyptian mentality’. Threats to daily survival, not politics, were the only thing to bring Egyptians to the streets en masse.” On 25 Janurary 2011, media reports recorded over 30,000 people who took to the streets to defy the government ban on protesting against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-old rule. Security forces have arrested around 500 demonstrators over the two days, according to Interior Ministry sources. It has been reported that at least one protestor and one policeman have been killed in the capital. Gamal Mubarak’s presidential ambitions are well known inside Egyptian politics and society. In April 2007 [07CAIRO974], a US diplomatic cable quotes a protected source who observes that, “Gamal and his clique are becoming more confident in the inevitability of Gamal’s succession, and are now angling to remove potential stumbling blocks.”

One potential obstruction was his lack of military experience. Unlike his father, Gamal did not automatically enjoy the support of the armed forces.

A cable from September 2008 [08CAIRO2091] quotes a group of Egyptian academic and civilian analysts who highlight “the armed forces’ uneasiness with Gamal Mubarak”.

In the same cable, other analysts reportedly believe, “the regime is trying to co-opt the military through patronage into accepting Gamal” and conclude that “despite tensions between the military and business, their relationship remains cooperative.”

In the cable dated 30 July 2009 [09CAIRO1468], Dr Dessouki acknowledged that although “the military is concerned about maintaining its ’corporate interests’”, it was committed to a “constitutional transition of power.”

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