Leela Jacinto / France24
On January 29, when embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak named him vice president, Omar Suleiman emerged from the shadows of Egypt’s extensive security-intelligence apparatus to become a pivotal international figure. But for many analysts and followers of US-Mideast policy, Suleiman was already a familiar figure. And not all of them felt reassured by the new appointment.
Suave, sophisticated, and fluent in English, Suleiman had been the country’s spy chief since 1993, when he took over as head of Egypt’s powerful General Intelligence Service (GIS) – or “Mukhabarat” as it is commonly known in Egypt.
A Soviet-trained, former army man, Suleiman looked set to fill the “shadowy intelligence chief” mould when he took over the GIS.