After President Mubarak, Vice President Suleiman?/update
No, VP Omar Suleiman does not need to become a Mubarak redux ruling Egypt for decades to come. He should merely hold the country together until the promised September elections. Worse things can happen. A Suleiman directed election may be even better provided it permits moderate elements to present a real alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood. There is nothing more perilous than attempts to predict the ultimate outcome of a period of revolutionary chaos. So, please, do not try to convince me and the likes of Tony Blair of the unlikelihood that the Muslim Brotherhood will emerge victorious.
The Egyptians demonstrating in Tahrir sqare may not wish to Islamize the country but Islamists have succeeded in taking over the levers of power not only in Iran but also in Sudan, Gaza and Lebanon. America's good friend Mubarak has spent three decades making sure that the Brotherhood is the only erious alternative to his own rule and the current savvy relative silence of Brotherhood demonstrates the maturity of its leadership. Their restrain has already produced a series of facile Western calls not to let concern over a Brotherhood takeover restrain American and European"moral" anti Mubarak stance. It makes sense to worry about the Brotherhood or a level headed ex-leader like Tony Blair would not be expressing his concern so openly.
Be it as it may, providing Egyptian wannbe leaders with six months to organize alternative parties under the peaceful tutelage of Vice President Suleiman seems a most reasonable precaution. Telling Mubarak to go is psychologically satisfying. He is a coward who has never had the nerve to stand by his allies in an open and straight forward manner. He kept the peace with Israel but made it a cold and reluctant peace instead of a real partnership designed to demonstrate to the Egyptian people the benefits that can accrue from real cooperation with the most democratic and prosperous country in the ME.
Nor for that matter did he do anything to repay America and the West for their generous contribution to Egypt by improving Egyptian opinion of the US. The opposite is true. Mubarak intentionally sought to demonize the hands that fed him. And why not? It was easier to convince his providers that after him they can expect an Islamist deluge.
It is always important to remember that cutting off the head of the chief of state is the relatively easy step. Finding an even marginally better head to put in his place, is fiendishly difficult. In other words, give Suleiman a chance. Maybe he will surprise himself and us as Anwar Sadate did. At the very least he would have the opportunity to do something to lower the all important price of bread! before Egyptian go to the polls.
Egypt can use change but not any change will do. Mubarak know that and appointing a vice president was his final gift to his homeland.
Update: Watch out: US and Iran are on the side - Iran's Khamenei praises Egyptian protesters, declares 'Islamic awakening'
Also see, Toward a soft landing in Egypt
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