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Wikileaks says Egyptian officers called Field Marshal Tantawi "Mubarak's poodle"

"(Wikileaks) US cable from 2008 reported that disgruntled mid-level Egyptian officers referred to Field Marshal Tantawi, (head of the military and now head of Egypt,) as "Mubarak's poodle".
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'Poodle' who holds key to a nation's future
 link to www.smh.com.au

'Poodle' who holds key to a nation's future February 7, 2011

Egypt TV reports the head rulers resign
Announced on local television, the top leadership of Egypt's ruling party resign, including President Mubarak's son Gamal Mubarak.

WASHINGTON: A classified cable sent to Washington from the US embassy in Cairo in 2008 reported that disgruntled mid-level Egyptian officers referred Egypt's Defence Minister, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, as ''Mubarak's poodle'' - incompetent and archaic but intensely loyal to his now-besieged President.

Another of the secret embassy cables obtained by WikiLeaks levelled even harsher criticism at Field Marshal Tantawi, telling General David Petraeus, then the head of US Central Command, that under the field marshal's leadership, ''the tactical and operational readiness of the Egyptian armed forces has decayed''.

Nonetheless, the 2008 cable concluded, he ''retains Mubarak's support, and could easily remain in place for years to come''.

Advertisement: Story continues below As a revolution engulfs Egypt, the Obama administration is now embracing a transition process backed by Field Marshal Tantawi and other top military leaders that would ease their benefactor, Mr Mubarak, from power. But regardless of whoever becomes president after elections in September, US officials say the secretive Egyptian military holds the key to governing Egypt, and the stability of the Arab world.

Although the Pentagon has long promoted its close ties to the Egyptian military, officials admit that no senior US military leaders have especially deep relationships with their Egyptian counterparts.

Although the Egyptian military has been described in reports as commanding the respect of the population, the cable says that among the elite its influence has ebbed.

As of this weekend, it appeared clear that Field Marshal Tantawi and the small circle of military men had weighed their personal loyalty to President Mubarak against the threat to the military from the crisis - and chosen their own survival.

The Egyptian government announced that the most important member of the circle, Omar Suleiman, the new Vice-President, would lead the military-backed transition to the September elections.

The New York Times