Egypt, Suleiman and the Limits of U.S. Hegemony

A thought has been burning a hole in my head over the past few days -- namely, that any meaningful Egyptian transition to democracy will almost certainly involve some form of a truth and reconciliation process. This issue has already arisen in Tunisia, where Le Figaro reports that the country's national archivists spontaneously undertook to safeguard the regime's files once it became clear former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali would be ousted from power. Despite their efforts, however, the most compromising documents had already disappeared.

The thing is, Egypt has been a central player in just about every major American initiative in the Middle East for the past 20 years, if not longer. And I suspect that there are some aspects of the U.S.-Egypt relationship that it is not in Washington's best interests to reveal.

Now, who in Egypt would be the best-placed individual to know where all the bodies are buried? The very man now being touted as the caretaker of Egypt's transition to democracy: former intelligence chief and newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman. I don't think that fully explains why the U.S. has begun moderating its position on how immediately President Hosni Mubarak ought to step down. But I imagine it 's been a subject of conversation.

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