The Situation in Egypt is Incredibly Chaotic and Volatile

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on February 5, 2011

And I probably understated matters with that blog title. Link:

A failed assassination attempt on Egypt’s vice president in recent days left two of his bodyguards dead, sources tell Fox News.

Such an attempt on the life of Omar Suleiman would mark an alarming turn in the uprising against the government of President Hosni Mubarak, who only recently named Suleiman as vice president in an effort to quell the unrest and possibly line up a successor.

A senior Obama administration official confirmed that the attack happened soon after Suleiman was appointed, on Jan. 29. The official described it as an organized attack on Suleiman’s motorcade.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined to address the assassination reports when asked earlier by Fox News.

“I’m not going to … get into that question,” Gibbs said.

Assuming this is true–and I have not read/heard of this story elsewhere–it ought to go without saying that this is a very worrying development. If Suleiman gets taken out, it will only serve to buttress Mubarak’s claims that his ouster would throw Egypt into a state of complete anarchy. Suleiman’s presence as vice president is one of the chief factors behind the Obama Administration’s resolute push to get Mubarak out of Egypt; the Administration believes that with Suleiman in the picture, Egypt can keep from falling apart. If he is somehow eliminated, then the line of succession will become exceedingly uncertain. Mubarak will dig in, Israel will panic completely (they are counting on Suleiman to be able to succeed Mubarak if/when Mubarak finally goes, and to allow the status quo to continue regarding the relationship between Egypt and Israel), and the Muslim Brotherhood will rush to fill any void that exists in the aftermath of Suleiman’s death.

Speaking of the Muslim Brotherhood, am I the only one who wonders whether they were behind the attack? I can’t be, can I?

UPDATE: A potentially heartening development: MSNBC informs us that reports of an assassination attempt on Suleiman “could not be verified.” Perhaps we can hope and believe that such an attempt never took place. I know I certainly would like to think that it didn’t.

Previous post:

Next post: