Posts Tagged ‘delegation’

Cook: Tales of Omar Suleiman

July 23rd, 2012 Comments off

Tales of Omar Suleiman – By Steven A. Cook | Foreign Policy:

The last time I saw Omar Pasha was on Jan. 24, 2011 — on the eve of the Egyptian revolution. I was with a group of foreign-policy experts, business leaders, and philanthropists and we met in an auditorium at the GIS headquarters. It was hard not to notice the freaky, yoga studio-like music that was playing over the sound system. When Suleiman arrived, he sat alone on a dais and spoke into a microphone, even though the delegation numbered only about 25 people seated in the second row of the auditorium, behind a gaggle of GIS courtiers. During the meeting, we learned that the United States had supplied Egypt with the technology to turn off the Internet — something the Egyptians would employ in earnest, though not terribly effectively, less than 24 hours later.

By Jan. 24, Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had already fallen and a wave of self-immolations in Egypt had led to widespread speculation about whether the revolution was headed east. Naturally, therefore, someone in our delegation asked Suleiman whether the Tunisian revolt could happen in his country. But even at this late hour, he was as contemptuous of change as he had been six years ago, when he slammed his first down on the Washington conference table. “No,” he responded. “The police have a strategy and the president is strong.” Even at the time, the hubris was astonishing.

One of my big regrets, never meeting Omar Pasha. I do have some insight accrued over years of keeping notes on him and talking to people who dealt with him — mostly foreigner diplomats and spies and some Egyptian ones too. The takeaway is that he was actually fairly mediocre behind all the bluster and powersuits and Cuban cigars, and there is no better illustration of this than his handling of the Hamas issue in Gaza. Suleiman’s declared policy of ultimately crushing Hamas failed all the way, to the extent that people who dealt with him on this issue would joke about the “three-point plan” (engage, contain, crush) he would systematically trot out. Suleiman (unlike some of his predecessors when Egypt was at war with Israel) was ultimately the product of a system that only sought to maintain itself, showed little initiative or daring in foreign policy, and — being so concerned with status-quo and so-called “stability” — appeared to mostly keep busy by keeping everyone going around in circles (exhibit A: Egypt’s handling of Palestinian reconciliation talks).

I find it pretty outrageous he was given a state funeral and am surprised people did not try to disrupt it. One day, US archives of Suleiman’s handywork, especially on the rendition program, might be open and we’ll find out the full extent of complicity in his shenanigans. 

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Syria opposition appeal to Russia

July 11th, 2012 Comments off

A Syrian opposition delegation visits Moscow to persuade Russia to stop supporting the government and discuss efforts to end the escalating violence.
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Every defector is a reformist

July 9th, 2012 Comments off
From Akram, Angry Arab’s chief correspondent in Syria:  “Two stories from Moscow that shouldn’t be interlinked directly:

1- Russia will not deliver any new types of weapons or sign any military contracts with Syria until the situation there stabilizes
2- A delegation of the Syrian opposition is in Moscow today. But before the delegation’s arrival Jelena Sobonina, Chief of Asia and Mideast at the Russian Institute of Strategic Study conducted an interview with one of the delegation’s members, Michel Kilo who said that defected Brigadier General Manaf Tlas is an acceptable figure for the transitional period in Syria. Interestingly, it was Sobonina who, initially, asked about Tlas the father (Mostafa Tlas). Here is the transcript of Kilo’s answer (voice- Arabic):

Sobonina: Is it true that figures like Hikmat Al-Shihaby or Mostafa Tlas (both were prominent military figures during Hafez Al-Assad period and Mostafa Tlas is the father of the defected Manaf Tlas) could lead the transitional government in Syria?

Michel Kilo: I don’t know, believe me I don’t know. I’m not aware there are serious talks about this issue. But I think Mr. Manaf Tlas is a reformist figure that, from the beginning, was seeking a political solution and he was in disagreement with Bashar Al-Assad on this issue. For him violence is no solution for the Syrian crisis which can be solved only by dialog and political, social and economic procedures. He’s, now, out of power somewhere- he’s actually, a friend of mine- but I think this man is suitable for the coming phase.

A joke? Maybe not”.

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Korean team visits UAE's crisis management authority

June 20th, 2012 Comments off

A South Korean delegation has visited the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) national crisis management authority.
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Egyptian-Saudi relations

May 8th, 2012 Comments off
My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English on the visit by an Egyptian delegation to Saudi Arabia.

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UAE business team visits Shanghai

April 1st, 2012 Comments off

A delegation from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has paid an official visit to Chinese metropolis Shanghai to look at ways to boost investment between the two countries.
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UAE participates 'Friends of Syria' conference

February 24th, 2012 Comments off

Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan led the UAE delegation to attend the "Friends of Syria" conference that started here Friday.
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Saudi opposition

January 21st, 2012 Comments off
I have a question for the Sadat diplomat, Nabil Al-`Arabi: will he meet with a delegation from the Saudi opposition, or the Qatari oppostion or even the Jordanian opposition?  I know that he will have to get clearance from Doha, but will he?

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Hamas and Hizbullah at the House of Saud

October 27th, 2011 Comments off
Hizbullah sent a delegation to the Saudi Embassy in Beirut to offer condolences over the death of Prince Sultan bin Bribes.  Khalid Mish`al of Hamas flew to Saudi Arabia to personally offer condolences.  It is not clear whether a joint delegation of Hamas and Hizbullah will fly to Saudi Arabia to offer thanks for the Saudi role in instigating and sponsoring the Sunni-Shi`ite conflict, and for its alliance with Israel.

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Al Jazeera: "Hundreds of Thousands rally for Bashar Assad!"

October 26th, 2011 Comments off
‘Pro-Assad demonstrators ahead of the Arab League’ delegation’s visit’

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