Omar Suleiman: 5 Facts on the New Vice President in Egypt
Suleiman will take office against a background of mass protests and running battles between security forces and demonstrators. President Obama has publicly called on Egypt's government to deliver greater freedom and economic opportunity.
Surge Desk has the facts on the new vice president.
He's not a new face
Suleiman, 74, may not be a household name in the West, but he's been a fixture in Egyptian life for decades. The military, the president and foreign policy makers have all dealt with him.
He's Mubarak's first vice president
Egypt's constitution dictates that if the president is unable to fulfill his duties, they should be passed on to the vice president. Since Mubarak took over in 1981, he has refused to name a vice president. Mubarak himself came to power via the vice president position – he was Anwar Sadat's deputy when Sadat was killed.
He has made a career out of fighting terrorism
Suleiman made a name for himself through his work in the security forces. Since 1993, he's been director of Egyptian General Intelligence Services (EGIS), Reuters reported. He served as director at a time when the government was preoccupied with the threat from Islamist dissidents. His work at EGIS helped to reduce that threat.
In 2009, Foreign Policy Magazine named him one of the Middle East's "five most powerful spooks."
He saved the president's life
In 1995, Suleiman insisted that Mubarak's armored Mercedes-Benz be flown to Ethiopia for Mubarak's state visit, according to Foreign Policy. While in Addis Ababa, the president's entourage was attacked by men toting AK-47s. Mubarak escaped unharmed and said he was never worried – because he was safe inside his Mercedes.
He's a military man
Suleiman received a military education in Egypt and then in the Soviet Union, Reuters reported. He put these military skills to use, fighting in Yemen and then in Egypt's wars with Israel in 1962 and 1973. With the military now keeping the peace on the streets of Egypt's major cities, these credentials could prove key.