WikiLeaks: Israel prefers Egypt’s Suleiman

Israel has long preferred current Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman as successor to President Hosni Mubarak, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.

A senior adviser from Israel’s Ministry of Defense told U.S. diplomats in Tel Aviv in August 2008 that Suleiman was viewed as the most likely interim president if Mubarak died or was incapacitated.

U.S. diplomat Luis Moreno wrote in the cable that “there is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of” Suleiman, according to the cable released Monday night by WikiLeaks and published by the Daily Telegraph on its website.

In 2008, Mubarak’s son Gamal was seen as his father’s likely successor. At the same time, Suleiman, who was head of the foreign intelligence service, was Israel’s main contact in the Egyptian government.

The cable also notes that a hot line set up between Israel’s Defense Ministry and the Suleiman-led Egyptian General Intelligence Service was in “daily use.”
The leaked cable reveals that Suleiman, angry by Israeli criticism of Egypt’s ineffectiveness in stopping arms smuggling to Gaza, suggested that Israel send troops to Egypt’s Philadelphi Corridor and stop it themselves.

The cables also quote Suleiman as saying that Hamas should be isolated and that Gaza could “go hungry but not starve.”

Suleiman is currently leading talks with opposition parties, and has the backing of the United States, to lead the transition to democracy in the wake of two weeks of demonstrations.

Mubarak orders new Egypt VP Suleiman to open dialogue with Egypt opposition

Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said on Monday that President Hosni Mubarak told him to start a dialogue with all the political parties as riots continue on the eve of their seventh day.

Suleiman added on state TV that the dialogue will involve both constitutional and legislative reforms, a request voiced by anti-government protesters.

After nearly a week of anti-government demonstrations and violent riots in Egypt, Mubarak announced Saturday that Omar Suleiman, the intelligence chief with military experience, would be appointed as the new vice president. This leaves him in prime position for the top job if Mubarak does not run for president again in September.