Egypt's former spy chief Suleiman dies

Egypt's former spy chief Suleiman dies

Mubarak’s close aide took to grave some of the fallen govt’s most closely guarded secrets.

Egypt’s former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, one of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s closest associates and briefly his deputy, died in the United States while undergoing medical tests, one of his aides said. He was 76.

An urbane, shadowy figure, Suleiman was Mubarak’s go-between of choice with Israel and the United States. As one of the autocratic leader’s most trusted advisers, he takes some of the fallen government’s most closely guarded secrets to his grave.

“He was fine. It came suddenly while he was having medical tests in Cleveland,” the aide, Hussein Kamal, told Reuters without saying what caused the death. Preparations were under way to bring his body back home for burial, Kamal said.

Suleiman stepped briefly into the limelight last year when he was made Mubarak’s vice president to try to end the Arab Spring uprising against his three-decade rule.

The gamble failed when the Egyptians massed in the streets to demand Mubarak step down rejected the political concessions Suleiman offered to appease them.

Many protesters were incensed when Suleiman suggested they were not yet ready for democracy. Days later, Mubarak fell. He returned to the public sphere in April, alarming the mostly young revolutionaries who led the January 2011 uprising by bidding for the presidency.

He promised to restore security and end the political turmoil sparked by Mubarak’s
 overthrow and took a policy cue from the anti-Islamist policies of his former boss.

“Many people felt that the state is going to the Muslim Brotherhood - in parliament, in government and now the presidency,” Suleiman told Reuters during the election race. He was disqualified when he failed to win the required backing. 

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