Iran official in secret visit to Egypt to discuss ‘new spy agency’
January 10, 2013 8 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A senior Iranian intelligence official paid a secret visit to Egypt earlier this month, allegedly to discuss the establishment of a new intelligence service controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Several Egyptian newspapers, including the quality broadsheet Al-Masry Al-Youm, said that the Iranian official was Qassem Suleimani, commander of Quds Force, a unit inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is specifically tasked with exporting the Iranian Revolution abroad. The Quds Force has traditionally constituted the primary channel of communication between the government of Iran and a host of international groups allied to it, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine. Suleimani is said to have traveled incognito to Cairo at the personal invitation of Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, who is also a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group, which was legalized in Egypt after the 2011 revolution, is the Egyptian branch of a Pan-Islamic political and social movement that assumed control of the government after the ousting two years ago of Egyptian longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak. According to reports from Egypt, Suleimani met with “senior officials” in the Egyptian capital, including President Mursi’s chief adviser on foreign affairs, Issam al-Haddad, as well as prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Masry Al-Youm said the Iranian commander discussed plans to develop a new civilian intelligence service in post-Mubarak Egypt, which will be answerable to the government of the country. The apparent plan of the Muslim Brotherhood is to create a brand new spy service that will operate outside the control of Egypt’s military, which currently commands the bulk of the country’s intelligence community. On Tuesday, The London Times confirmed Suleimani’s trip to Cairo, saying it had acquired evidence of the visit from “two senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood”. According to the British daily, the trip was meant to send a message to the United States that Egypt will have little trouble finding another ally if Washington decides to curtail its humanitarian and military aid to the North African country. One Muslim Brotherhood source told The Times that the Egyptian government sought to “send a message to the US that we must be allowed to have alliances with whoever we want”. Officially, the Brotherhood denies that Suleimani’s visit ever took place; the party’s media spokesman, Mahmoud Ghozlan, said on Monday that rumors of the Quds Force commander’s visit to Egypt were “totally false and fabricated”.