From today’s NYT:
The chaotic events on Thursday called much of the administration’s strategy in dealing with the Egyptian crisis into question. For days, the administration has pinned its hopes on a transition process managed by the Egyptian vice president, Omar Suleiman. But Mr. Suleiman followed Mr. Mubarak on television, aligning himself squarely with his boss, urging the protesters to decamp, go back to work and stop watching foreign satellite TV channels. That extravagant show of loyalty may doom any chances for Mr. Suleiman to function as an honest broker in the transition — something on which the administration had been counting, in part because it has good relations with Mr. Suleiman, a former head of Egyptian intelligence.
“The administration had been looking toward Suleiman to handle the orderly part of the orderly transition,” said Martin S. Indyk, the director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. “But this week, he raised doubts about whether he had made the conversion to a democrat. And now Mubarak has dragged Suleiman down with him, in the eyes of the protesters.”
The only thing that raised doubts was the Egyptian people’s steadfast opposition to the shuffling of party heads. Of course Suleiman was the Obama administration’s choice for the transition, he’s been their “man” in Cairo, and top torturer for years. And, of course, most Americans don’t know anything about, and don’t care about Omar Suleiman. But it’s quite a different matter to fool Egyptians into thinking the country’s top spook and black-bag man is some kind of democracy championing reconciliation consultant who was ready or willing to stand up to his own party and it’s leader. And it’s quite another for the NYT to be parroting this transparent and mendacious propaganda as if it were some kind of obvious and conventional wisdom.
The US was hoping to trick Egyptians, Americans and the world into accepting a cosmetic change in its number one Middle East client state. And it failed. That’s what the NYT should be reporting.