Obama Administration Pushing for Omar Suleiman as Transition Leader


Yesterday The New York Times reported that the Obama administration is negotiating with newly-instated Vice President Omar Suleiman to head a transitional government that "would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform" and include "a broad range of opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood."

But as economist William Easterly points out, American-backed "transitions" have an unsavory history:

As this blog has pointed out, the "transition" word is a much-used device to appear to be in favor of democracy while in fact taking no position whatsoever. The democracy scholar Thomas Carothers is one who first pointed out the emptiness of the "transition" paradigm, noting a USAID description of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2001 as a country in "transition to a democratic, free market society."

In this rhetorical make-believe, every country is allegedly in "transition" to democracy, even if a dicatator is the status quo. Dictators are just a temporary delay, or even maybe themselves gradually "transitioning," since the "transition" jargon leaves completely open when democracy will arrive, or how slowly the dictatorship will imperceptibly fade away.

Up until last week, Joe Biden "would not refer to [Mubarak] as a dictator"—a stunning rejection of reality, even taking into account Biden's formidable gaffe handicap. And on Sunday, the more calculating Hillary Clinton gave us an idea of exactly how hard the US intends to work—about as hard as they've worked for the last three decades:

This is a very volatile situation, and I think that as we monitor it closely we continue to urge the Egyptian Government, as the United States has for 30 years, to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people and begin to take concrete steps to implement democratic and economic reform.

But aside from these verbal blunders from America's top politicians, the chioce of Omar Suleiman as the American-backed transitional leader really says all you need to know about our respect for the protestors' demands. A staunch supporter of Mubarak, hand-picked as vice president in the early days of the revolt, he was rejected by those in Tahrir Square as soon as he was elevated to that position. Suleiman is one of the most powerful spy chiefs in the Middle East, and was the United States' point man on extraordinary renditions, which may explain why America feels so comfortable negotiating with him.

Update: Fox News quotes the administration as denying the leak, but France 24 reports details that suggest otherwise:

Privately, many US officials were relieved to have a man in Cairo they could phone and "level with".

Indeed as the situation in Egypt subsequently deteriorated, Suleiman rapidly turned into Washington's point-man in the Egyptian administration.

On Feb. 2, as pro-Mubarak demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square waged pitched battles against anti-government protesters, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned Suleiman to urge him to investigate who was behind the day's violence and hold them accountable.

Former US Ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner, who was dispatched to Cairo by Obama to try to diffuse the crisis, also met with Suleiman during his visit.

NEXT: Looks to Me Like You've Been Doing Some Unlicensed Figurin'

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  1. He’s OUR SOB!

    1. Still here, biotches!

  2. A cartouche uncovered by looters in The Egyptian Museum recounts Vice Pharaoh Tutankhbiden’s views on dynastic crisis management:

    “Hosnimandias is a lot more than two vast and trunkless legs of stone standing in the desert in an antique land. He’s our guy, advancing Amerankhan interests in a volatile region with strategic reserves of ivory, apes, and peacocks.

    Without this colossal wreck round which, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away standing fast in support of Pharaoh Obamhotep’s peace policy, Philistine extremists would be smiting Israelites and smashing wash pots all over Moab.

    Not to mention how he’s moved his own street’s concerns forward in a dynamic way, and backed the first free election in the history of the kingdom of Kush.

    You know Hosnimandias Jr. may not be worth a canopic jar of warm Hapshetspit, but his dad’s an up front guy, and may the beak of Horus devour the liver of any scribe who tweets that he’s a dictator, or suggests he should take the next solar boat out of here. Our people in the Pentamid say death comes on swift wings to him who strikes military aid to pharaohs that stabilize the borders of the lands beneath the stars of Nut, and since we’ve had peacekeeping forces in Mesopotamia for fourteen dynasties, they ought to know. I mean who am I to argue with the state of the union of upper and lower Egypt speech ?

    Uneasy lies the head that wears a cobra for a crown.

    1. You make me sound sane!

    2. That’s pretty good, but Russell Seitz won this thread hands down.

      1. Damn this comment threading!

  3. “Obama Administration Pushing”

    God damn, The Pusher
    God damn, God damn the Pusher
    I said God damn, God, God damn The Pusher man

    Well, now if I were the president of this land
    You know, I’d declare total war on The Pusher man
    I’d cut him if he stands, and I’d shoot him if he’d run
    Yes I’d kill him with my Bible and my razor and my gun

    God damn The Pusher
    Gad damn The Pusher
    I said God damn, God damn The Pusher man

  4. “In transition” to a decent society = not yet a decent society.

    Is it just me, or is Hilary actually admitting that we have applied no effective pressure for 30 years, and plan to continue applying no effective pressure, on Egypt to “take concrete steps to implement democratic and economic reform”?

    1. That is what her words would appear to mean to the layman, but, as with the commerce clause, they really mean much, much more than what the words actually say.

      1. Egyptians have to buy health insurance. Suleiman’s goons are gonna see that they’ll need it.

    2. I don’t get why we’re getting all involved now. It’s not going to win us many friends after we supported the regime for decades.

      The administration is shocked, shocked to find that oppression is going on there!

    3. I think somebody in the Obama Administration must have gotten around to reading the Memo about the downside of the People’s Revolution…

      Executive Summary:

      “If you thought the Tea Party was bad, you’re gonna hate this.”

      1. It is kinda interesting that when the left sees a people’s movement at home, they deride as a group of unrealistic and frothy simpletons, who should be condemned at best…

        …but then when they see the same kind of thing happening in the extreme somewhere else, well that’s a whole ‘nother story. That’s a “let’s join the movement” moment!

        Kinda interesting, innit?

        1. It makes sense. The leaders on the left base their claim to power on two principles. First, that the people should rule. Second, that they are the people.

          An uprising in another country bolsters the first principle. A grassroots movement in America undermines the second principle.


    1. A little pot in every hiker would be a nice touch, Steve.


        1. This never gets old. Thanks.

  6. I don’t think the protestors will fall for this.

  7. “Yesterday The New York Times reported that the Obama administration is negotiating with newly-instated Vice President Omar Suleiman to head a transitional government that “would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform” and include “a broad range of opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood.”

    Maybe this is what the Obama Administration was talking about when they were talking about being “transparent”!

    I can see them.

    I can see through them.

  8. “Obama Administration Pushing for Omar Suleiman as Transition Leader”

    At the time it was our only option.

    1. He means, of course, Transition Leader of the United States.

  9. What does Milo Minderbinder have to say about all this? I know he’s really, really bullish on Egyptian cotton, so I assume he knows all there is to know about Egypt.

  10. In my next Cairo speech to the Muslim world I will hail this new foreign policy victory — a break from the past.

    1. My faith in Hay-Soos only grows stronger when you mock me!

  11. Palace coup, what can you do?

  12. A Free Celestial advise to the Egiptians is, my dear friends (bsg our imperative is war) under nuclear winter threats (thanks bho,ayatolas,hammas,ayers,alinski…anamontes…) is…:
    Many countries are under DRIVEBYMEDIA(LUNA)TIK+Aljazeeras BA$ED on (mostly, but the “seemly like a Bush talker, some war when bho is FALLING LIKE A BALROG from MoreGov…, CNNOOOO!, mslsd$, theanamontes (use of the MoreGov position) copies “legal” view (cccrrrmm): marielacastro, the daughter of fidel or raul, same GAYLESB TEACHER, WRITER… has no problem with the “religious” ayatolas?, one of the the ANTI-BUSH grownd beneath the unfamous satanicversed 3 headed (cuba-iran-venezuela, “legaly deffended by… bho, propaganda, lecturing) beast (tedpalpatinekennedy called “it” the machine…. so wellcome…) marketing-paralegal-santuaries (bailedout-drivebymedia, globaly helping the
    TE RRO RIST SWEARED ENEMY OF THE USA-EU… and the free world, the
    anti-westerns ayatolahammas,1st WTC bombing, etc muslim brotherhood….
    psst gays and lesbs… you’re quickly and boldly going to tv, the media(luna)tiK “entertanment” over there on ayatoland, ignoring means ACLOMPLICE, PARTICIPERS, but on teheran, WHERE THE WORLD BY THE BAILEDOUT DRIVEBYMEDIA(LUNA)TIKED IGNORED MILLIONS TOO PROTESTING THE TE RRO RIST REGIME…
    a single question… then…
    are you a kind of anamontes “visions” copy?…
    alive for the mslsd cnnooo etc gov media(luna)tiK pill$:
    youtube bsg our imperative is war
    May the Gods of the Earth’s religions
    Be with us…
    and, I hope the russians love the children too…

    1. The Urkobold is strong with this one.

  13. of course, the battle for the ideas starts with the strategies, like mmmm, terrorist threats… mmm… ayatoland, drivebymedia (free bailedout without tangible precious drivebymedia-global satelite machinery)…
    and the “physsical war I try to leave for the last alternative by the battle for the ideas in first place but there are tangible or not some final destination for the “few” trillions more bailedout$ (as finantial bubble bombigns, now debt bubble bombings for the children to pay, and bho’s “visions” of the universe and the gov+ terrorists, whom preffer bho instead of, and NEVER BUSH, the (compared to bho’s opinion on the enemy and the ally Bush is a Moses’s burningBush) We battle the ideas and WAR of terror states, rinoliphants, and more than orc$, oops, org$ like acorn, aclu, etc, AH!: drivebymedia(luna)tiK, helping the ground beneath the 3 headed beast, REAL MEGAGENOCIDERS against tealeaves”…
    You need to remember to the world ignoring the muslimbritherhood ETC
    That YOU ARE THE ONES UNDER THE MUSLIMBROTHERHOOD GOV THREATS, PLUSS IRAN, PLUSS THE WHOLE UN TERROR COUNTRIES ON “POSSITIONS” SATELITES LIKE USSR “TIMES”, “real”… while they existed… mmm same people still on the same MoreGov possitions…, Yeltsin dead… open kremlin’s bar
    another free little celestial advise:
    IF albaraider or whatever was a good international nuke inspector… THEN THERE WHERE NO REASONS FOR THIS HIGHS ON THE NUKERACE ON THE MIDDLEAST, chavezes…
    aand to the Americans: no nukclear energy, oil, 0 coal?
    psst, this wave of potential violent protesters fidel was unfamous for HIS OWN WELLKNOWN 1 MILLION STRONG AT LIST… and on cuba…
    they will be here by NIGHTfall…
    see you, I’m monitoring who is the imbecile to dare deffend albaradei knowing was supported by the muslim brotherhood…
    “see” you

    1. Food for thought.

  14. Ayers before you came to “rocketman”

  15. Wow. Obama’s administration manages to stab both Murabak and the protesters in the back. The rest of the Middle East is watching. We will become less popular there very soon.

    1. How much less popular can we get?

      That’s like Al Qaeda threatening us with a jihad or something…isn’t Al Qaeda already giving it all they got?!

      Seriously, I guess this is all leftover from the Bush Administration…this weird idea that we’ve been popular over there sometime since 1976…

      I’m calling it Facebook Diplomacy! …and I find it absurd.

      Seriously, the purpose of foreign policy isn’t to have as many people “friend” us as possible. Facebook may be a popularity contest–but foreign policy just isn’t.

      No, it isn’t.

      1. It’s possible for our poll numbers to get even lower there. It wouldn’t matter much if we stuck to a noninterventionalist foreign policy. Our current policy of relying on Arab leaders to let us keep bases there and route out terrorists won’t be as feasible in the near future.

  16. In related news, Syrians who tried to protest on Friday got beaten. Our State Department is still trying to kiss up to Syria, because Syria refuses to be our friend. We’re acting like we have battered spouse syndrome. Obama is coddles dictatorships that hate the USA, but gives no support to allies.

  17. This is the best, concise, insight I read so far on the so called “transition” of power. The discrepancy between the protesters demands and the chosen counterpart in negotiation Omar Suleiman says it all indeed.

  18. hey imbecile KenSH(I)ul(T)z
    &LithPingpong; and govblogger creepy crappy spooky comunistiK (like ALL OF’M) bhocyberKzar POOPPETcollection from the KEY MOREGOV POSSITION MAKER, THE MACHINE welcomes your children and your noGOD at schools (ayers&bho; WORK), now Egipt to repeat the TE RRO RIST MUSLIMBROTHERHOOD, before alqeda, carterayatola revolverillu$ion, the sons of the bitch ussr, WITH THE UNFAMOUS HELPERS tedpalpatine-castro
    anamontesMINDEDbailoutedrivebymedia govcylon$, and you know, more than orc$ oops, org$ like acorn, aclu, santuary cities, anti-Bush,
    and you try to understand here? with that mind from that brain?
    wow, why don’t you try an easier site to blog and spend the ugly few trillion$ more with the good American people assisting the 9-12 MENTALITY MOVEMENTS, like the “bad” Teaparty fighting even RINOliphants and NEOLIBTICAL STATE NAZ(i)guls using their govpossitions as an assymetrical weapon, a social arm…
    and… we have no bailout$ or like the muslimbrotherhood, LOGISTICS, and, we are pursued by gov as I (YOU READ, hey freedomfighters, do you read?)SPEACK…
    Also, like on Pearlharbor, the movie, “I have no time… f
    or bho$h(BEEP)T, oops, check”spells”…
    “yes, I’m a Wizard or something with a hot40+ female cylon in the head”…
    “read” you KenSH(I)ul(T)z&LithPingpong;
    “see” you, my dear frends, and… ALLIES…

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