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Viewing cable 07CAIRO974, XXXXXXXXXXXX MP ON PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07CAIRO974 2007-04-04 17:05 2011-01-28 00:12 SECRET Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO4822
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0974/01 0941717
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 041717Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4450
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 000974 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR WATERS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/2047 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM PHUM EG
SUBJECT: XXXXXXXXXXXX MP ON PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION 
 
REF: A. 2006 CAIRO 4612 
     B. 2006 CAIRO 6600 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs, 
William R. Stewart, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: In a recent meeting with poloff, XXXXXXXXXXXX
parliamentarian XXXXXXXXXXXX discussed presidential son Gamal Mubarak's 
possible succession of his father, and opined that Gamal 
increasingly views Minister of Defense Mohamed Hussein 
Tantawi and EGIS head Omar Suleiman as a threat to his 
presidential ambitions.  XXXXXXXXXXXX alleged that Tantawi recently 
told him, in confidence, of his deepening frustration with 
Gamal.  End summary. 
 
--------------------------------------------- 
GAMAL ANGLING TO "GET RID" OF HIS COMPETITION 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (S) On March 29, XXXXXXXXXXXX noted to poloff his assessment that 
the recently approved constitutional amendments package is 
largely aimed at ensuring Gamal Mubarak's succession of his 
father, and "a more controllable, stable political scene when 
he does take the reins."  Opining that "Gamal and his clique" 
are becoming more confident in the inevitability of Gamal's 
succession, and are now angling to remove potential 
"stumbling blocks," XXXXXXXXXXXX said that speculation among Cairo's 
elite is that there could be a cabinet reshuffle as soon as 
May or June, in which Minister of Defense Tantawi and/or EGIS 
head Omar Suleiman would be replaced. "Those two are 
increasingly viewed as a threat by Gamal and those around 
him," and thus Gamal is reportedly pushing Mubarak to get 
them out of the way, so they "could not pose any problems" in 
the event of a succession.  XXXXXXXXXXXX speculated that "hitches" 
to a Gamal succession could occur if Mubarak died before 
installing his son: "Gamal knows this, and so wants to stack 
the deck in his favor as much as possible now, while Mubarak 
is firmly in control, just in case his father drops dead 
sooner rather than later." 
 
3. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX said XXXXXXXXXXXX had commented to him in a recent 
private meeting that, "he has had it 'up to here' with Gamal 
and his cronies, and the tremendous corruption they are 
facilitating." "XXXXXXXXXXXX told me he is having trouble sleeping 
at night," he continued, "and that he cannot stand what has 
happened to the country, and what may yet happen to the 
country."  Disappointed by the recent constitutional 
amendments, and skeptical about the will of either Mubarak or 
Gamal to push forward meaningful political reforms, XXXXXXXXXXXX 
said he viewed a post-Mubarak military coup as "the best 
possible way out for Egypt ... we are in a terrible spot, and 
that is the best of all the bad options available." (Note: 
XXXXXXXXXXXX provided no further details about a possible coup 
scenario, and appeared to simply be theorizing about the 
future.  To date, we have not heard other interlocutors 
speculate about a possible coup option.  End note). 
 
---------------------------- 
CURRENT GOSSIP IN PARLIAMENT 
---------------------------- 
 
4. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX said that parliamentarians are abuzz over rumors 
that, under newly amended constitutional Article 136 (which 
now gives the president the ability to dissolve the People's 
Assembly by executive decree alone, without a national 
referendum), the People,s Assembly will be dissolved in 
roughly a year, so as to rid it of the "troublesome" 88 
Muslim Brotherhood MP's.  New elections would then be held, 
but "as under the new constitutional amendments, there will 
be no direct judicial supervision of elections to help to 
guard against fraud, the government can be expected to 
engineer the results" so that there are far fewer MB MP,s in 
the new parliament. "The government is happy to deal with 
fairly tame and non-threatening oppositionists such as 
XXXXXXXXXXXX, Wafd, and Taggamu.  But they do not want such a 
powerful bloc of MB MP,s to remain, particularly when they 
would make the most noise in the event of a Gamal succession." 
 
5. (C) In terms of his personal political aspirations, XXXXXXXXXXXX
told poloff he has XXXXXXXXXXXX the XXXXXXXXXXXX, founded by XXXXXXXXXXXX
 
--------------------------------------- 
XXXXXXXXXXXX
--------------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that hisXXXXXXXXXXXX (per ref B, a 
XXXXXXXXXXXX), is XXXXXXXXXXXX at the XXXXXXXXXXXX, due to what XXXXXXXXXXXX termed the continuing XXXXXXXXXXXX.  According 
to XXXXXXXXXXXX, MinDef Tantawi called him XXXXXXXXXXXX to 
ensure that XXXXXXXXXXXX was satisfied as to how XXXXXXXXXXXX was being 
XXXXXXXXXXXX.  XXXXXXXXXXXX said he engaged XXXXXXXXXXXX with XXXXXXXXXXXX, asking him to help get XXXXXXXXXXXX, as he has already XXXXXXXXXXXX and 
"XXXXXXXXXXXX"  XXXXXXXXXXXX allegedly checked with XXXXXXXXXXXX, 
then replied that XXXXXXXXXXXX cannot be XXXXXXXXXXXX before he XXXXXXXXXXXX, as, "we are under terrible foreign pressure to 
XXXXXXXXXXXX, so cannot XXXXXXXXXXXX, as they will 
then criticize us for not XXXXXXXXXXXX too."  XXXXXXXXXXXX 
subsequent suggestion to XXXXXXXXXXXX both XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX went 
unheeded.  However, XXXXXXXXXXXX allegedly told XXXXXXXXXXXX that he had 
instructed XXXXXXXXXXXX to not 
undertake any procedures to divest XXXXXXXXXXXX of his 
XXXXXXXXXXXX; XXXXXXXXXXXX
therefore believes XXXXXXXXXXXX will be able to re-assume XXXXXXXXXXXX 
 
7. (S) Comment: While XXXXXXXXXXXX is a useful interlocutor and a 
well-placed parliamentarian, we stress that he is the only 
Embassy contact to date who has raised with us the spectre of 
a post-Mubarak military coup.  While discussion of 
presidential succession is a favorite parlor game in Cairo 
salons, hypothesizing about the acutely sensitive topic of a 
coup is certainly not regularly undertaken in Egyptian 
circles. 
RICCIARDONE