HOSNI MUBARAK (AND OMAR SULEIMAN)
For almost 30 years, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been one of Washington's favorite strongmen in the Middle East, while episodically allowing for a measure of "democracy" at home. But according to a May 2008 cable, he's not all that convinced the model works. Mubarak told a visiting U.S. congressional delegation to Egypt that it should give up on the idea of democracy in Iraq. "Strengthen the [Iraqi] armed forces, relax your hold, and then you will have a coup. Then we will have a dictator, but a fair one. Forget democracy, the Iraqis are by their nature too tough," Mubarak said, according to the cable. Mubarak's right-hand man, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, also makes repeated appearances in the leaked State Department cables, bragging about his intelligence operations in Gaza and even Iran.
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