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Who will succeed Egypt's President Husni Mubarak? Under what circumstances? And what effect will the succession have on Egypt's international relations, particularly its relations with the United States?

No one appears to have good answers to these questions, in large part because Mubarak has never been forthcoming about appointing a successor-designate. Although it has been widely assumed that a successor will come from within the army's ranks or certainly with its strong backing,1 other possibilities have also been mentioned. Moreover, beyond asking who the successor might be, some Egyptians are concerned that the very future of their state could be in jeopardy following Mubarak's departure from the scene. And were Egypt to undergo large-scale change, this could have enormous consequences for the Middle East as a whole. 

For many reasons, then, the succession issue in Egypt is worth a close look. 

Mubarak and the Question of Succession

Born on May 4, 1928, in the village of Kafar al-Musayliha (in Minufiya province), Muhammad Husni Mubarak was appointed Air Force Academy commandant in 1969, a position he held until 1972 when he was promoted to serve as deputy minister of defense as well as air force chief. During that period, the future president took part in planning and designing the joint Egyptian-Syrian surprise offensive launched against Israel in October 1973. President Anwar as-Sadat named Mubarak as his vice president in April 1975, in which office he remained until October 6, 1981, when Sadat was assassinated by Islamist zealots. Today, at seventy-three years of age, Mubarak is the longest serving ruler in Egypt since Muhammad ‘Ali in the early nineteenth century and one of the most veteran leaders in the Middle East. Following the deaths of long-serving rulers in Jordan, Morocco, and Syria, Mubarak's regional influence and international stature have been further enhanced.

Technically, the procedure for an orderly transition of government in Egypt is duly accounted for and constitutionally sanctioned. Article 82 of the constitution specifies that when the president is not capable of fulfilling his duties, all his executive powers shall be delegated to the vice president.2 The problem here is that Mubarak has refused to appoint a vice president. When publicly pressed on this matter, Mubarak simply says he does not feel the need to appoint a vice president. Article 84 of the constitution, he points out, states that in the absence of a vice president capable of assuming executive responsibilities, the chairman of parliament (who is today Fathi Surur) "shall temporarily assume the presidency" and then the parliament selects a candidate within sixty days. "This is precisely the same practice as in France," Mubarak once noted in an interview.3 

Although there is no vice president today, for nearly a decade, there was an important number-two serving beside Mubarak and widely considered to be his successor—the minister of defense, Field Marshall Muhammad ‘Abd al-Halim Abu-Ghazala. Originally appointed by Sadat,4 Abu-Ghazala retained his key position into the Mubarak era. According to one diplomat, Abu-Ghazala "was absolutely viewed by many in Egypt to be second after Mubarak, a man of great personal authority, enjoying popular prestige and easily viewed as a leading figure of national importance."5 It appears that the field marshal's stature was a source of unease for Mubarak, who suddenly in April 1989 relieved him of his ministerial post, reassigning him to a presidential advisory role.

Abu-Ghazala was replaced as minister of defense by General Yusuf Sabri Abu-Talib. The Cairo newspapers followed Mubarak's own example and downplayed the importance of the reshuffle, which had, of course, been a sacking. Al-Ahram, the government-owned daily, published an editorial entitled "Abu-Ghazala, Abu-Talib, and the Surprise Decision," arguing that cabinet shifts are a regular occurrence in a democratic state and are no cause for unnecessary drama or suspicions of intrigue.6 It soon became apparent, however, that the appointment of Abu-Talib was in fact a stopgap measure, as he too was replaced (in May 1991), making way for Field Marshall Muhammad Husayn at-Tantawi, who has held this crucial post ever since. As for Abu-Ghazala, early in 1993, a press release from the official Egyptian news agency, stated that he had resigned as a presidential advisor to Mubarak,7 and he has since completely disappeared from the public arena.

Despite Mubarak's refusal to appoint a vice president, it was only after nearly fourteen years that the succession issue broke through the polite silence surrounding it and came to the forefront of the Egyptian agenda. The rude awakening took place at 8:15 on the morning of June 26, 1995, as Mubarak made his way from the airport in Ethiopia's capital of Addis Ababa, driving to a conference. Suddenly gunfire aimed at his motorcade erupted from a car blocking the road ahead. Mubarak's bulletproof limousine was the third car in line some 70 meters behind the spot where the assailants from the fundamentalist Muslim group, Al-Jama‘a al-Islamiya, blocked the road. Following the security guards' orders, the president's car immediately turned around and sped to the airport, and, from there, directly back to Egypt where the president was greeted by cheering crowds upon landing at Cairo's airport. The assassination attempt failed, but no one could ignore the fact that the president's life had been on the line that day and might be again in the future.8

Exactly one month later, Mubarak was asked to comment on pressures to appoint a vice president, in light of that attempt on his life. His response was again calm to the point of indifference: "The transition of government is one matter, and the appointing of a vice president is entirely another one."9 Mubarak repeated his well-rehearsed position, explaining that the appointment of a vice president in no way guarantees that governmental control would automatically pass into his hands. Mubarak maintained a cautious reluctance to express a view. Rare are the interviews in which he broaches the subject of succession even briefly.10 

Not everyone in Egypt was persuaded by Mubarak's seemingly casual dismissal of the succession issue. First among the doubters was Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal, a leading Egyptian figure since the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser. In a lengthy two-part interview with the prominent state-owned, intellectual weekly, Ruz al-Yusuf, Haykal noted the prevailing uncertainty regarding a credible procedure for the orderly transfer of power and expressed grave apprehensions for the future stability and continuity of Egypt. Referring to the failed assassination plot, Haykal stated in no uncertain terms:
If the symbol embodying statehood had been done away with under such circumstances and without a fixed mechanism of transition in place, then we would have found ourselves before such uncertainties that could conceivably lead to the very dissolution of the state. Such a situation entails more than just the disappearance of a president.
Haykal identified a "general malaise afflicting people today" which he analyzed as "fear for the future of the state." More explicitly, he explained that
at the very same moment those shots were flying at him, both the state itself was in jeopardy and the future of the state was in question. We can claim that he [Mubarak] is responsible for this because he has not seen fit to appoint a vice president, and we may even say that in a sense there are no institutions in the country.11
During the interview, the journalist ‘Adil Hamuda, suggested a scenario in which the president is murdered and there is no vice president: "The army would then enter the picture and assume control," the journalist hypothesized. 12

A reply, presumably reflecting the president's view, came a week later. It expressed reservations about Haykal's dire expression concerning the "dissolution of the state" and included a patriotic critique:
Such an expression is an implausible and gross exaggeration when speaking of Egypt, it reveals an underestimation of the character of the Egyptian people from the dawn of its history. This is because the unity of Egypt stands firm on both shores of the Nile. Egypt has never been divided and can never come apart.13
On September 6, 1999, another incident again thrust the succession issue into the limelight. This time Mubarak's motorcade was en route to Port Sa'id. The official statement issued by the president's office explained that while Mubarak was "waving to the crowd from his car window, a man approached the motorcade holding a sharp instrument, causing a light injury to the president." He was shot dead on the spot by the president's security guards. The exact circumstances of the event were never published, and to some extent, remain unclear. London's MBC television, for example, suggested that the suspect was shot while attempting to hand Mubarak a letter of complaint.14

The official media description was more subdued than one might have expected (calling the incident an "attempted assault" against the president), perhaps reflecting an effort to diminish the incident's political significance. The forty year-old assailant, Husayn Sulayman, was said not to belong to any organization, and according to Egyptian authorities exhibited "unstable behavior." and "psychotic disorder."15 Mubarak continued on to his scheduled destination and delivered his original speech, broadcast live on television. Not a single word was said about the incident. The opposition parties, however, took the opportunity to raise the succession issue again, demanding that Mubarak appoint a vice president.

What might have happened had the assassination attempt in June 1995 been successful? An Israeli security source asked just that of his Egyptian counterparts and was told that "without a doubt" Defense Minister Tantawi would have become the next president.16 Indeed, the sixty-five-year-old general (born October 31, 1935) and veteran of the Arab-Israeli wars of 1956, 1967, and 1973, is nearly ubiquitous, at Mubarak's side and on occasion standing in for Mubarak, representing him at various official commemorations, like the thirty-year anniversary of the death of Nasser that took place in September 2000.17 However, it appears that Tantawi is in poor health, possibly making his succession less likely.18 

Some informed conjecture points towards ‘Umar Sulayman, the head of Egypt's General Intelligence Department for nearly a decade, as a possible successor.19 In his sixties, Sulayman is portrayed as one of the more powerful figures in Egypt, someone deeply involved in all matters of state and enjoying a close working relationship with the president. In contrast to Syria and the Palestinian Authority, where powerful and competing figures head competing and overlapping security and intelligence organizations, Egypt has only one very strong man in this field: ‘Umar Sulayman. Compared to Tantawi, he is relatively anonymous, which is a weakness. (Both Sadat and Mubarak served as vice presidents for several years, so when their incumbent predecessors died, there was no need to introduce them to the Egyptian public.) Of late, Sulayman has appeared on Egyptian television, but his name is not in public circulation, and he remains politically obscure.

What one must bear in mind regarding both possible candidates—Tantawi and Sulayman—is that they are not young men, and that Mubarak is of excellent vigor and appearance for his age. Given Mubarak's sturdy constitution, the list of potential candidates for succession could change dramatically in the next few years, as a robust Mubarak outlasts those who might seem likely today to succeed him. With that in mind, a somewhat younger person with a future leadership potential is Magdi Hatata (born 1941), the chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces and perhaps the next minister of defense.

But whoever the next president is, the general assumption—drawing on the constitutional description of the president as the "supreme commander of the armed forces"20—is that he will emerge from within the ranks of the military or security establishment, as did Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak. The coup d'état in 1952 remains in the collective memory as a military seizure of power and even today is subliminally imprinted.

Gamal Mubarak

Under certain conditions, however, that tradition might be broken. Here the Syrian case may be instructive. 

President Hafiz al-Asad, who held an exceedingly firm grip on power for three decades, succeeded in securing the succession for his son Bashshar, before succumbing to a heart attack at the age of sixty-nine. Although Bashshar was trained as an ophthalmologist, he had in effect been designated as the new ruler by his father ever since his elder brother died in a road accident on January 21, 1994, and Bashshar was recalled home from his studies in London. From that time on, Hafiz carefully groomed him in politics. Interestingly, though, all this was kept unofficial. Until the death of his father, Bashshar was never openly declared the heir apparent. As did his father, Bashshar dodged questions about his presidential future. Nonetheless, Syrians (and many others) intuited the near certainty of Bashshar's destiny. No one was surprised when, shortly after notice of the Syrian president's death, the parliament in Damascus was convened for the purpose of swiftly amending the constitution by lowering the legal age for holding high office from forty to thirty-four, to expedite Bashshar's election. Accordingly, Bashshar al-Asad (born September 11, 1965) was made the new ruler at the age of thirty-four during an extraordinary session of parliament on June 10, 2000.

This astonishing quasi-monarchical precedent reverberated throughout the Arab world. It was met with a nervous and critical tone and even undisguised sarcasm in certain quarters. More than a few suspect that Syria may not be the last Arab state to transform into a hybrid "Jumlukiya" (conflation of jumhuriya and malikiya, Arabic for republic and monarchy, respectively), a monarchy-like republic.

Revealingly, the sharpest criticism of Bashshar's installation came from Egypt. Days after Asad's death, a major Cairene opposition paper commented that Syria "is putting into people's minds the idea that power can be passed on hereditarily in a republic," reminding the readers that "in 1949, the phenomenon of military coups in the Arab world also began out of Damascus."21 With this reminder, the opposition journalist was expressing clear apprehension of a possible hereditary transfer of government in Egypt.

There is a potential candidate for this role: Gamal Mubarak, the president's eldest son, now thirty-eight years old(Some sources claim he is thirty-five). Gamal is an altogether non-military personality whose name has in recent years often been tossed into the public arena in the context of succession. A graduate of the American University in Cairo, Gamal is already a solidly established leader in the Egyptian business community. Upon completing his university studies, Gamal entered banking. He began his working career with the Bank of America and was soon sent to represent the bank's interests in London, where he remained for six and a half years, working in the field of finance investments. Over the past few years, Gamal Mubarak has become a very familiar face among the Egyptian business elite and Egyptians in general, and a regular guest participant at economic symposia. Rumors abound that he has in fact been unofficially acting for some time as an advisor to his father on economic matters. Gamal also fills certain official roles: he serves as the spokesman for the U.S.-Egyptian business advisory body, and more importantly, he is an elected member of the general secretariat of the National Democratic Party (NDP), his father's own ruling party.

As talk of Gamal's political aspirations surfaced in about 1999, the death of the Syrian president and his son's succession not surprisingly fanned the flames of the rumors about Gamal's hereditary potential. Speculation intensified to the point that, two weeks before Hafiz al-Asad's death, President Mubarak felt it necessary to deny the plausibility of a father-to-son transmission in Egypt. "We are not a monarchy. We are the Republic of Egypt, so refrain from comparing us to other countries in this region."22 Needless to say, Mubarak's denials did not stem the tide of public discussion nor dispel the uneasiness following Asad's death. Egyptian publicists seized the Bashshar precedent to air the succession topic before their readers. Once again the authoritative voice of Hasanayn Haykal was first to rumble, just days after Asad's death:
The situation must be stopped whereby both the constitution and the legislative process can be subjected to gross abuse so as to bend the law to accommodate a specific person.23
One Egyptian commentator, Muhammad Ghanim, went further:
Shock and astonishment have given way to apprehension and suspicion that this scenario might possibly apply in Egypt! This fear had actually begun to filter into Egypt well before the death of Hafiz al-Asad, being brought about by the growing proliferation of reports about certain Arab leaders grooming their own sons to take over control after themselves! Anyone who knows the honorable Husni Mubarak is well aware that his personal integrity will not allow the Syrian scenario to happen in Egypt.24
Another observer, Wail al-Abrashi, added emphatically :
Those Arab countries which are potential candidates to join the list of hereditary Republics, are free, if they choose to do so, to publish denials of their intentions to imitate the Syrian model and declare that they oppose such a transfer of power.25
The writer then concludes, dismally describing as "catastrophic . . . those disingenuous [rulers] who so tenaciously provide for their ongoing personal reign."

Gamal's Prospects

Is it conceivable that Gamal Mubarak could one day inherit his father's mantle? Recent conversations in Cairo yield a nearly unanimous assessment that the hereditary model won't work for Egypt. In contrast to Syria, Egypt is too "modern" a society. Mubarak himself has projected abroad, with a degree of success, a relatively liberal image of his country. Some argue, in fact, that this is more than just image. Yoram Meital, a leading Israeli scholar of modern Egyptian history, argues that the enormous strides into modernization under two decades of Mubarak's stewardship is in fact his well-earned historic legacy.
The inherent connection between a vibrant economy and democratization is widely heralded today among Egyptian officials as well as in many non-governmental circles. Only continued political stability safeguards this legacy. Wishing to leave his imprint as the one who succeeded in bringing about the stabilization of the political arena, Mubarak might hope that his potential successor will arise out of this more open political climate where worthy candidates can compete for positions of power.26
The Western world has grown to expect democratic behavior in Egypt, whereas no such normative expectations were ever entertained about Syria. Indeed, the impact of such a hereditary move in Egypt would set off far greater shock waves than it would if such a scenario transpired in any other Arab state. Also, Egypt has a functioning opposition where vocal criticism of government policy is a political fact of life, unlike Syria, where the slightest hint of anti-government opinion was quickly and effectively suppressed.27

For all this, not one diplomat or government source is prepared to go on the record and categorically dismiss the prospect of Gamal's succession. They are aware of the many signs that Gamal is expected to take on an active political role, even if not a presidential one. Gamal made a series of pre- and post-election appearances during the last parliamentary campaign on behalf of his father's party (NDP) outlining his vision for greater democracy, freedom of expression, and higher living standards. Speaking before large audiences of university students and gatherings of young party activists, he promised them "major reforms following the elections."28 Championing the political empowerment of the younger generation is the primary recurring theme in all his campaign speeches and points to the issues and strategy with which Gamal is evidently preoccupied and to which he is personally committed. Moreover, throughout 1999 the Egyptian press released reports forecasting the possible formation of a new political party, Al-Mustaqbal (The Future), headed by none other than Gamal Mubarak. While Al-Mustaqbal does not yet exist, Gamal does serve as board chairman of a voluntary civic association of the same name. Funded by prosperous businessmen, it promotes programs to remedy unemployment and housing problems, particularly for young university graduates. This association may be presenting its future platform as an embryonic party.

Lately, no week goes by without Gamal's name, picture, and opinions appearing across the range of Egyptian newspapers, including front-page coverage.29 Gamal's published opinions are not limited to the economic sphere, for he is quite ready to go on record about major foreign-policy issues, such as Egypt's relations with Israel and Iraq.

Some observers expected Gamal to run for a parliamentary seat in late 2000. Although he did not, he did engage in a trial run. His "almost" candidacy received, in effect, substantial press backing and wide endorsement, which may yet be revived. For example, Samir Ragab, editor of the prominent state-owned daily Al-Gumhuriya and a close associate of Husni Mubarak, thought it most important to remark that despite the fact that Gamal will not be running in this parliamentary race "there exists a consensus in Egypt that Gamal is an exceptionally worthy fellow, both erudite and loved by the masses." Ragab notes further, in a rather transparent allusion to the recent Syrian precedent, that it was Mubarak's decision that his son not take part in the current elections, "signaling the message that ‘I do not wish for anyone to make a connection between Egypt and any other society, whether close to us or far away.'" In any event, Ragab makes it absolutely clear that Gamal "possesses all the necessary skills for membership in parliament."30

Other very prominent voices and interest groups are publicly pushing for the promotion of Gamal. An important economic weekly magazine devoted its cover story to Gamal Mubarak; against his silhouette is superimposed the caption: "Mr. President, I beg of you—give this young man his fair due." The editor of the weekly (and author of the cover story) sang Gamal's praises and addressed an open letter to President Mubarak:
Mr. President, I want to speak here frankly and in true sincerity about one who has been giving of himself selflessly, with no ulterior thought other than dedicated service to his homeland. This young man was trained in your own studio, taking from your own example the meaning of true devotion, patriotic thinking for responsible decision-making in the national interest.
A series of anecdotes then follow, all testifying to Gamal's worldly sophistication and impressive poise as an impromptu lecturer before international economic forums and national political party meetings. Finally, the editor reached his main point:
The question is: why should we not benefit from the abilities and talents of this man? . . . Mr. President, I do not understand why the National Party should not itself be promoting and sponsoring him in the upcoming elections to parliament . . . Mr. President we beg of you, be fair with this young man. I am well aware of your decision that he must be kept away from "politics," but I also have come to know you as a just ruler, whose just nature will manifest the fairness due him.31
Lastly, this came from the editor of The Arab Strategic Report, a government-run publication:
Anyone seeking to contain Gamal Mubarak's role cannot find a rational basis for such an argument. They might be correct in maintaining that he should not merit any official office only because he is the son of the president. However, this in no way means that he is to be penalized and denied the opportunity to compete for office.
The editor dutifully repeats the claim that there exists no formal plan to install Gamal as his father's successor, however he does conclude by saying: "One thing is certain, Gamal won't be imposed from above."32 The final word on this topic comes from Gamal Mubarak himself, hoping—probably to little avail—to clamp the lid on the persistent rumors and rampant speculations: "I shall not seek any executive post . . . There is no room for such talk in a country like Egypt. We live in a country of institutions."33

The growing media coverage of Gamal sharpens his liberal image, casting him as the representative of a youthful generation and embodiment of the aspirations of the young. Such constant image-crafting could be seen to anticipate and allay any concerns among the secular opposition circles ahead of a possible future appointment for Gamal. (Bashshar al-Asad's image-building campaign also highlighted his uncompromising anti-corruption crusade, shaping him in a progressive mold, with his ultimate appointment already very much in mind.)

Could It Happen Elsewhere?

The pseudo-monarchical succession in Syria and the possibility of a repeat in Egypt have unfolded against a background already resonating with loud whispers of similar succession dramas in several other Arabic-speaking countries, including Yemen, Libya, and Iraq. While heads of all these states proclaim their sons no better than any other citizen, it is beyond doubt that all of them—‘Ali ‘Abdullah Salih, Mu‘ammar al-Qadhdhafi, Saddam Husayn—have endowed their sons with authority and powers very far beyond the reach of ordinary citizens.

Yemen. More than once during the past year, President Salih found himself denying specific intentions for the succession of his son Ahmad. His denials, however, are less than categorical. "I am not grooming my son to succeed me," he stated in an interview well before the Syrian precedent, then adding that his son "is entitled to run for president within the democratic and constitutional frameworks, and so is any Yemeni citizen, if he is fit for that."34 A few months later, Salih reiterated that leadership in Yemen is not hereditary and is limited to two five-year terms in office. 35 Ahmad is said to have been placed in charge of the special forces, a brigade comprised of the army's elite units and republican guard.36 There have been reports that the possible candidacy of the American university-educated Ahmad has been opposed by the president's own brother, Muhsin al-Ahmar, commander of an armored division and someone who naturally sees himself as a more fitting candidate.37

Libya. Qadhdhafi has been entrusting his son Sayf al-Islam with a range of special assignments. In February 1999, Sayf al-Islam represented his father at the funeral of Jordan's King Husayn. He negotiated the September 2000 release of Western hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf gang of Islamists in the Philippines and took on a high public profile, revealing to the outside world his emerging position. In Tripoli, visiting German foreign affairs minister Joschka Fischer and his delegation met with Sayf al-Islam.38 Sayf al-Islam in 1997 went on record asserting that neither he nor his brother has been politically empowered by their father.39 Ironically, as the newspaper that published this interview observed, this in itself contradicted Qadhdhafi's standing order forbidding family members from giving press interviews. Against these straws in the wind, one should note the observation of The Economist Intelligence Unit that suggestions that Qadhdhafi's son is being groomed to succeed him "appear to be wide off the mark. Not considered a serious proposition even in Libya."40

Iraq. Saddam Husayn has invested his two sons, ‘Udayy (born June 18, 1964) and Qusayy (born February 17, 1967), with important and powerful functions. Qusayy supervises the Republican Guard and the security agencies and is reported to be the nation's number two man as well as the heir apparent.41 Reports coming out of Baghdad imply he is involved in very important military activities and planning. For instance: Qusayy inspected forces stationed near the Kurdish region, discussing with the commanders the preparations to intervene in Kurdistan if the army command so decides.42 He was present with Saddam in a meeting with members of the general command of the armed forces43 and attended military meetings, with Izzat Ibrahim, deputy commander in chief, and Sultan Hashim Ahmad, defense minister44 as well as a joint meeting between Saddam and Ahmad.45

His older brother ‘Udayy is displeased with this situation and intently opposes his brother's appointment. ‘Udayy's two most outstanding responsibilities include his command of Saddam's Fida'iyin, a smallish militia of several thousand fighters, and the control of the Babil daily newspaper, which he uses to advance his own interests. ‘Udayy also won a parliamentary seat in late March 2000 (gaining the usual 99.99 percent of the vote). In his first parliamentary appearance, ‘Udayy blasted all members of the Iraqi government, except for the minister of defense, criticizing a lack of democracy in Iraq and the discrimination against the Shi‘ite residents of the country.46

What is the likelihood for hereditary succession in Yemen, Libya, and Iraq? These countries do not generate an abundance of open-source material, in contrast to Egypt, so it is hard to say. Instead, one must extrapolate from the powers already now consolidated in the hands of the privileged sons, whose pre-positioning is itself their springboard of opportunity. While Egypt's "first son" may stand on the brink of a consensual front-runner status, the general climate in other capitals is volatile enough that here-today gone-tomorrow events could erupt without many of the early warning signals of the type that we have been monitoring in Egypt. Today's players may not be relevant for tomorrow's game.


The identity of the next president of Egypt depends on two main factors. 

One concerns the circumstances in which Husni Mubarak ends his term. If there were an unexpected event, such as sudden death, natural or otherwise, without an heir or a favored number two, the likelihood would be for a prominent and strong military figure to assume control without delay. The chances of a Tantawi-like figure would then presumably far exceed the chances of Gamal. But if the succession arises naturally, then the need to establish a successor would not be as urgent, and that could open a brief but reasonable window of opportunity in which a few candidates could still maneuver politically. Mubarak might designate during his lifetime one or more heirs apparent, in which case he might recommend Gamal. In Meital's view, this may indeed be Mubarak's genuine and preferred vision for succession, namely that there be a healthy political competition among several civilian candidates alongside Gamal, including for example, someone of the caliber of former general ‘Abd as-Salam al-Mahgub, the very successful governor of Alexandria.47

Secondly, the regional situation can affect the succession. If the Middle East were to plunge into instability or possibly war, Mubarak might well wish to designate a strong crisis-management successor. On the other hand, were the region to embark on a more conciliatory path, a candidate with a civilian agenda, like Gamal's, would not then be perceived as unsuitable.
Daniel Sobelman is Arab affairs and Middle East correspondent with the Ha'aretz newspaper of Tel-Aviv.
1 The New York Times, Nov. 28 1999; Financial Times (London), June 26 1995; a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo, in personal communication to the author, Feb. 6, 2001.

2 Egypt's constitution in English at:

3 As-Siyasah (Kuwait), July 28, 1995.

4 Cairo Radio, Mar. 5, 1981.

5 Personal communication to the author.

6 Apr. 18, 1989.

7 Feb. 15, 1993.

8 Nahman Tal, Emut m'Bayit: Hitmoddedut Mitzrayim ve Yarden im Ha'islam Hakitzoni (Tel Aviv: Papirus Publishing, 1999), pp. 78-80.

9 As-Siyasa, July 28, 1995.

10 Al-Ahram, July 21, 1995; Middle East News Agency (MENA), Oct. 28, 1993.

11 Ruz al-Yusuf (Cairo), July 17 and 24, 1995.

12 Ibid.

13 Ahmed Hamrush, ibid., Aug. 7, 1995.

14 Sept.6 1999; Associated Press, Sept. 7 1999.

15 Associated Press, Sept. 8 1999.

16 Personal communication to the author, June 2000.

17 Al-Hayat, Sept. 28, 2000.

18 Egyptian and Israeli sources in personal communications to the author, Aug. 2000.

19 Ha'aretz, Feb. 26, 1999.

20 Article 150.

21 Al-Wafd (Cairo), as cited in Agence France Presse, June 20, 2000.

22 El Pais (Madrid), May 28, 2000.

23 Al-Usbu'a (Cairo), June 26, 2000.

24 Al-Wafd (Cairo), as quoted in Al-Quds al-‘Arabi (London), June 26, 2000.

25 Ruz al-Yusuf, quoted in Al-Quds al-‘Arabi, June 26, 2000.

26 Author's interview with Yoram Meital, chairman, department of Middle Eastern studies, Ben-Gurion University, Beersheba, Israel, Jan. 5, 2001.

27 For example, in July 1994, ‘Ali Haydar, commander of the special forces, was summarily removed following his public reservations about the accelerated promotion in rank of Bashshar al-Asad.

28 Al-Hayat, Oct. 29, 2000; Ruz al-Yusuf, Sept. 9, Oct. 7, Nov. 4, 2000; Al-Ahram, Nov. 8, 2000.

29 Uctubir, Sept. 17, 2000; Al-Gumhuriya (Cairo), Oct. 12, 2000.

30 Al-Gumhuriya, Sept. 7, 2000.

31 Al-Ahram al-Iqtisadi (Cairo), Sept. 18, 2000.

32 Al-Hayat, July 5, 2000.

33 MENA, Feb. 5 2001; Mideast Mirror (London), Feb. 7 2001.

34 Ash-Sharq al-Awsat (London), Apr. 3, 2000.

35 Ibid., July 16, 2000.

36 Al-Bayan (Dubai), Nov. 6, 1999.

37 Al-Mustaqbal (Beirut), May 29, 2000.

38 JANA-Libyan News Agency, Sept. 13, 2000.

39Ash-Sharq al-Awsat al-Jadida (London), May 7, 1997. 

40 The Economist Intelligence Report, Libya Country Report, 1st Quarter, 2000 (London: The Economist, Jan 2000), p. 7.

41 Al-Watan al-Arabi (Paris), Apr. 14, 2000; Ash-Sharq al-Awsat, May 4 1999; Al-Urdun (Amman), Jan. 13 2000.

42 Al-Hayat, Jun. 18, 2000.

43 Iraqi radio, Aug. 21, 2000.

44 Ibid., Nov. 30, 2000.

45 Ibid., Dec 4, 2000.

46 Al-Hayat, Dec. 28, 2000.

47 Interview with Yoram Meital, chairman, department of Middle Eastern Studies, Ben-Gurion University, Beersheba, Israel, Jan. 5, 2001.