Egypt – background on Vice President Suleiman

In an article on Al Jazeera and in an interview KPFK’s Ian Master’s Daily Briefing, Lisa Hajjar, associate professor of sociology at the University of California-Santa Barbara and an editor of Middle East Report and author of “Travesty in Progress: Omar Khadr and the US Military Commissions,” Middle East Report Online, elaborates on the background of newly appointed Egyptian Vice President Suleiman.

From her Al Jazeera article:

“Mubarak has once again shown his knack for devilish shrewdness. Suleiman has long been favoured by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism, his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran – and he has long been the CIA’s main man in Cairo. ….

Suleiman is a favourite of Israel too; he held the Israel dossier and directed Egypt’s efforts to crush Hamas by demolishing the tunnels that have functioned as a smuggling conduit for both weapons and foodstuffs into Gaza.”

On his torture trajectory and its connections to the democracy loving U.S. of A.:

“In the mid-1990s, Suleiman worked closely with the Clinton administration in devising and implementing its rendition program; back then, rendition involved kidnapping suspected terrorists and transferring them to a third country for trial. “

And further:

“Under the Bush administration, in the context of “the global war on terror”, US renditions became “extraordinary”, meaning the objective of kidnapping and extra-legal transfer was no longer to bring a suspect to trial – but rather for interrogation to seek actionable intelligence. The extraordinary rendition program landed some people in CIA black sites – and others were turned over for torture-by-proxy to other regimes. Egypt figured large as a torture destination of choice, as did Suleiman as Egypt’s torturer-in-chief.”

Then there is the case of the extraordinarily rendered al-Libi who ”volunteered’ information under torture that was used as ‘evidence’ upon which the Bush administration made its case to invade Iraq:

“Under torture there, al-Libi “confessed” knowledge about an al-Qaeda–Saddam connection, claiming that two al-Qaeda operatives had received training in Iraq for use in chemical and biological weapons. In early 2003, this was exactly the kind of information that the Bush administration was seeking to justify attacking Iraq and to persuade reluctant allies to go along. Indeed, al-Libi’s “confession” was one the central pieces of “evidence” presented at the United Nations by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to make the case for war.”

LSW: upon hearing this, the former U.S. vice president (of torture, as he was often called) probably wet his pants and probably berated all those around him at the time for not using the same torture methods employed by Suleiman – just LSW fabulations.

Listen to the interview and read the article for more details and to establish a better understanding of the position of the new vice president within matters of torture and governance.

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