What a fitting vice-president for a tyrant: Omar Suleiman, a man who earned his chops assisting the CIA with its “extraordinary rendition” program.
In Egypt, where torture seems to be a Government sport, Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman, whose is ranked second in power to President Hosni Mubarak. Back in 2001, Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion. Suleiman slapped Habib’s face so hard, the blindfold was dislodged, revealing the torturer’s identity. According to his memoir, Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.
He was again interrogated by Omar Suleiman. To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib - and he did, with a vicious karate kick. Suleiman is expected to be the next President of Egypt.
If his appointment was meant to convey a reassuring toughness to the US, the move probably made sense. Nothing like having a bloodstained old crony of the CIA ready to glide into power should Mubarak be forced to flee. It seems unlikely, however, that this move will assuage the angry democracy-seekers in the streets:
As news spread that the veteran president had finally decided to name a deputy, a crowd on Cairo’s central Tahrir square tellingly chanted: “Neither Mubarak nor Suleiman, we’re sick of Americans.”
Will that message be received?