Egypt’s Presidential Election Commission has deemed ten candidates unqualified for the upcoming election battle to succeed the toppled Hosni Mubarak. They include the surprise candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat al-Shater; the more radical Islamist Hazem Salah Abu Ismail; and Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s long time spymaster. Egyptian citizens are massing in Tahrir Square protesting anti-democratic manipulation by the Commission as well as protesting in various pockets of the square this or that candidate on the roster — or, as it were, not on the roster. Of those in the current public glare, however, Omar Suleiman is the person I find most fascinating and perhaps consequential.
First of all, last September I was told by a well-connected Arab associate of mine that the military would put Suleiman up to stand for the presidency but would act as if he was separate from them. I was also told that a secret deal had been made with the Muslim Brotherhood to ‘acquiesce’ to Suleiman, who despite having served for decades as a powerful head of intelligence in the previous regime was known not to be corrupt. This was very hard to believe. I did not write about what I learned at the time as I could not get anyone from the Muslim Brotherhood or anyone in or close to the military to confirm this fantastical idea.
Full Article: Steve Clemons: The Meaning of Omar Suleiman.