|General Sami Enan with other army officers from Egypt|
By Janine Zacharia, Washington Post Foreign Service, January 29, 2011
CAIRO - The installation of military men into powerful new roles in the Egyptian government on Saturday reflected a martial style of rule unbroken in Egypt since Gamal Abdel Nasser and his young officers toppled the monarchy in 1952.
The newly designated vice president, Gen. Omar Suleiman, 74, has headed Egypt's intelligence service for 18 years. Along with a new prime minister who is a former air force commander, Suleiman is first among a troika of leaders on whom President Hosni Mubarak is relying in what appears to be an attempt to secure the regime, if not his presidency, after days of protests aimed at his ouster.
U.S. officials have long viewed Suleiman as a likely transitional leader, at minimum, after Mubarak leaves office. In a classified cable released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, a 2007 State Department assessment described Suleiman as a "rock-solid" loyalist to Mubarak who was being groomed, even then, for a more public role.
With army tanks dispatched into the streets, where soldiers sought to calm angry protesters, the changes on Saturday affirmed the pivotal role of Egypt's military and intelligence services in a country whose army has long held citizens' respect, even if its commanders are disliked.
Suleiman is known as a close and trusted adviser to Mubarak, as is Ahmed Shafiq, 69, the newly designated prime minister. Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, 75, who remains in place as the top military commander, isn't seen as a possible successor but likely would be an important figure in ensuring the military's loyalty to a new government.
|Field Marshal Mohamed |
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