So the way we’ll know there are real reforms is if Suleiman’s part in the new regime is minimal — and shortlived:
“Mubarak and Suleiman are the same person,” said Emile Nakhleh, a former top Middle East analyst for the CIA. “They are not two different people in terms of ideology and reform.”
Ron Suskind, author of the book The One Percent Doctrine, called Suleiman the “hit man” for the Mubarak regime. He told ABC News that when the CIA asked Suleiman for a DNA sample from a relative of Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Suleiman offered the man’s whole arm instead.
“He’s a charitable man, friendly,” said Suskind. “He tortures only people that he doesn’t know.”
Suskind said Suleiman “was our point man in Egypt for many years. Everything went through Omar. We never had to talk to anyone else. When we wanted someone to be tortured, we’d send him to Egypt to have them tortured. We wanted to get intelligence and we didn’t need it to be stuff that could be doublechecked.”
“As chief of the Mukhabarat, or General Intelligence Directorate,” said John Sifton, who authored the 2007 Human Rights Watch report on torture conducted by Egypt’s other intelligence agency, SSI, Suleiman oversaw joint intelligence operations with the CIA and other Arab countries “which featured illegal renditions and tortures of dozens of detainees.”
As revealed in U.S. cables released by WikiLeaks, Suleiman has cooperated closely with the U.S. and with Israel in trying to undercut Hamas, the Islamist party in the Palestinian territories. The Mubarak regime views Hamas, which has its roots in Egypt’s own Islamist opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood, as a threat.
“Our intelligence collaboration with Omar Soliman,” says a 2006 U.S. State Department memo, using an alternate spelling of his name, “is now probably the most successful element of the [U.S.-Egypt] relationship.” During a 2009 meeting with U.S. military officials, Suleiman said his “overarching regional goal was combating radicalism, especially in Gaza, Iran and Sudan,” according to another WikiLeaks cable.
Other U.S. cables describe paranoia within the Mubarak regime, call it a dictatorship, say “torture and police brutality are widespread” — and that six years ago, Suleiman was already seen as likely to become vice president.