A US plan to see Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leave office immediately is reportedly in the works and would see a transitional government formed by Mubarak's vice-president, a former head of Egypt's spy agency and an alleged "CIA point man" who facilitated the "extraordinary rendition" of terrorism suspects.
US officials are discussing a plan with Egyptian officials that would see Mubarak quit immediately and hand over power to a transitional government run by Vice President Omar Suleiman, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Even though Mr. Mubarak has balked, so far, at leaving now, officials from both governments are continuing talks about a plan in which, Mr. Suleiman, backed by Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the Defense Minister, would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform.
The proposal also calls for the transitional government to invite members from a broad range of opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, to begin work to open up the country’s electoral system in an effort to bring about free and fair elections in September, the officials said.
As spy chief, Suleiman reportedly embraced the CIA's controversial "extraordinary rendition" program, in which terror suspects snatched by the Americans were taken to Egypt and other countries without legal proceedings and subjected to interrogations.
He "was the CIA's point man in Egypt for rendition," Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side, wrote on the New Yorker's website.
After taking over as spy director, Suleiman oversaw an agreement with the United States in 1995 that allowed for suspected militants to be secretly transferred to Egypt for questioning, according to the book "Ghost Plane" by journalist Stephen Grey.
US officials told the New York Times the US plan to replace Mubarak with Suleiman is one of several under consideration, and there is no evidence yet that the Egyptian leadership will accept it.
Officials told the Times that the plan's success would depend on a number of factors, including the mood of protesters in the streets and the willingness of the military to accept it.
-- With an earlier report from AFP