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Dream Teams?

February 4, 2011

Let’s Compare Dream Teams

A New York Times article describes an Egyptian/White House plan for constitutional reforms. Meanwhile, protesters are circulating their own list of people they’d like to see design constitutional reforms which was forwarded to me by friends. Let’s compare:

The Regime Dream Team

Umar Suleiman, who was appointed Vice President of Egypt on January 29, 2011, was director of the Egyptian national intelligence agency from 1993 until now. He was ranked the Middle East’s most powerful intelligence chief by Foreign Policy magazine and the Daily Telegraph (Britain) dubbed him as “one of the world’s most powerful spy chiefs”. Suleiman’s credibility was undermined for the “Shabab Facebook” by US embassy telegrams released by wikileaks that show his role in supporting US and Israeli policy on the Gaza border.

Lt. Gen. Sami Enan is chief of the Egyptian armed forces. He rose from battalion commander in 1981 to his present rank in 2005.

Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi is the former defense minister and commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

The Protester’s Dream Team

Dr. Ahmad Kamal Abul Magd was vice president of the National Council for Human Rights until last February when he was dismissed without explanation. After the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, he was appointed the Arab League’s commissioner responsible for “dialogue between civilizations

Dr. Ahmed Zewail is an Egyptian-American professor of physics at CalTech and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Naguib Sawiris is the owner of the telecommunications company Orascom, which has become one of the leading telecom companies in the world. Forbes Magazine declared him the 374th richest man in the world. Sawiris is a Coptic Christian.

Ambassador Amr Moussa is the Secretary-General of the Arab League. He has been ambassador to the United Nations and India, and was Egyptian Foreign Minister 1991-2001.

Dr. Usama Al-Ghazali Harb is editor-in-chief of the monthly news magazine Al Siyasa Al Dawliya and is one of the founders of the Democratic Front Party.

Dr. Amr Hamzawy is a noted political scientist currently serving as a senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has taught at Cairo University and the Free University of Berlin.

Monir Fakhri Abdel Nour is a leader of the New Wafd Party opposition group and an Egyptian delegate to the Pan-African Parliament.

Mahmoud Saad was a popular Egyptian TV host. He achieved notoriety after the protests began as one of the first national television journalists to resign rather than broadcast propaganda.

Dr. Gawdat El- Malt is a respected economist and president of the Central Auditing Organization, He is also chair of the Working Group on Fight Against Corruption and Money Laundering

On the one hand, a broadly representative group of businessmen, academics, journalists and human rights activists with deep international and national experience to design the new basis for political life in Egypt. On the other hand, the military and the spies.

Political realism–a cultural viewpoint that guides most US foreign policy decision–dictates that members of the regime be included in the reform process. If they control the process, these reforms will likely  merely be a transfer of power from one authoritarian regime to another. If  Obama administration pushes as hard for inclusion of the protester’s dream team as they do the regime’s, some modest democratic reform might be possible.

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