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Quotable: Even Fifi Abdou would do

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images Nothing in Egypt is the subject of as much speculation as the issue of who will succeed Hosni Mubarak as president. The Army is a key player, but it is keeping mum on its preferences, the IHT reports:   But the army — led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, a Mubarak loyalist ...

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KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

Nothing in Egypt is the subject of as much speculation as the issue of who will succeed Hosni Mubarak as president. The Army is a key player, but it is keeping mum on its preferences, the IHT reports:  

But the army — led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, a Mubarak loyalist — has been largely segregated from Egypt's politics since the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat by Islamist army officers. That has left the stage open for Egypt's first civilian president.

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

Nothing in Egypt is the subject of as much speculation as the issue of who will succeed Hosni Mubarak as president. The Army is a key player, but it is keeping mum on its preferences, the IHT reports:  

But the army — led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, a Mubarak loyalist — has been largely segregated from Egypt’s politics since the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat by Islamist army officers. That has left the stage open for Egypt’s first civilian president.

“We have distanced ourselves from politics long ago,” said former Staff Maj. Gen. Hossam Sewilam, who once headed the Armed Forces Strategic Research Center. “If they elect Fifi Abdou” — a famed Egyptian belly-dancer — “or (Gamal) Mubarak, they are free. It’s not our business.”

As Issandr El Amrani points out, Egypt’s shadowy security services probably have a lot more say than the Army in who will be the next pharaoh. And the truth is, nobody knows what the security services will do if Mubarak—who is rumored to be in ill health and has yet to name a successor—suddenly dies. Some analysts, such as the Carnegie Endowment’s Amr Hamzawy, worry that the Muslim Brotherhood would seize upon the uncertainty of a “transitional moment” to take control of the Arab world’s most populous country. That may be unlikely, but it’s definitely something whose implications I hope smart people in positions of power are thinking about.

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