Saturday, February 4, 2012

Egypt's spymaster, 'the most powerful man you've never heard of'

 Egypt's spy chief, general Murad Muwafi.

Under Mubarak the boss of the General Intelligence Directorate (or mubakharat = secret service), general Omar Suleiman, used to be the most powerful man in Egypt after the president. With the fall of Mubarak Suleiman's power did not survive, but the mukhabarat did, and much of the power he used to have went over to his successor Murad Muwafi. Magdi Samaan paints a portrait in Foreign Policy of Muwafi as the 'most powerful man that you've never heard of'':  

 When, for example, the leaders of the military decided it was time to talk with human rights activists last fall, it was Muwafi who represented the SCAF at the meeting. One factor may have been his ample experience as Egypt’s chief mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. And when the SCAF dispatched emissaries to Washington last year, Muwafi figured in that delegation, too. (He even had his own private audience with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.) U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a point of including Muwafi among his interlocutors when he visited Egypt in the fall -- right after a session of cheesecake and bowling with SCAF supremo Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi. And perhaps most revealingly of all, it was Muwafi -- rather than Tantawi or the Egyptian foreign minister – to whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned when a mob stormed the Israeli Embassy in Cairo in September.

  And that was no coincidence since the General Intelligence Directorate (GID) itself, one of the most powerful pillars of the old regime, happens to be also one of the strongest factors behind the military of SCAF:
“Events since the fall of Mubarak demonstrate that SCAF’s plans to control Egyptian society were actually dominated by State Security and the GID, which served as the eyes and the memory of the regime,” wrote political analyst Amin Al-Mahdi in a column last year. Former army officer Ahmed Ezzat, who started a Facebook page that tracked allegations of corruption among Egypt’s military establishment, claims that the GID has used its budget funds to start private companies whose profits benefit high-ranking officers of the intelligence service. What’s more, says Ezzat, GID companies have no-bid access to government contracts. “The GID is a state within the state,” he writes. “There is no professional, financial, or legal oversight of its operations.”
For the article in full, click here

No comments: