Omar Suleiman Biography

Egyptian politician
Born: July 2, 1936
Birthplace: Qena, Egypt

Omar Suleiman was appointed vice president of Egypt by Hosni Mubarak on January 29, 2011, amid massive anti-government protests. Mubarak, bowing to pressure from protesters and the international community, stepped down on February 11, 2011, and transferred governing power to the Armed Forces Supreme Council. Prior to becoming vice president, Suleiman served as director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service (EGIS) since 1993. In this role, he fostered a close relationship with United States officials and the CIA and reportedly participated in the Agency's covert rendition program in which terror suspects were apprehended all over the world and sent to Egypt and other countries for interrogation. Countries that received the suspects were required to assure the U.S. that they would not be tortured. Reports from suspects and former CIA official Michael Scheuer indicate otherwise. In testimony before Congress, Scheuer said these assurances "weren't worth a bucket of warm spit."

Suleiman left his hometown of Qena for Cairo in 1954, and enrolled in Egypt's Military Academy. He fought in the 1962 Yemen conflict and in the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973. Suleiman emerged as a leading figure in the country's intelligence system in the 1980s.