Cable sobre la consolidación de las filas del movimiento 6 de Abril

Date:2009-07-30 13:45:00
Source:Embassy Cairo
Dunno:08CAIRO2572 08CAIRO697 09CAIRO468 09CAIRO580 09CAIRO591 09CAIRO695
DE RUEHEG #1464/01 2111345
P 301345Z JUL 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001464



E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/30/2029

B. CAIRO 591
C. CAIRO 580
D. CAIRO 468
E. 08 CAIRO 2572
F. 08 CAIRO 697

Classified By: Economic-Political Minister-Counselor
Donald A. Blome for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


-- (C) "April 6" movement leader Ahmed Saleh told us July 26
that the group has ejected Islamist and Nasserist members to
try to preserve its secular, western orientation.

-- (C) Saleh urged U.S. pressure on the GOE for international
monitors for the 2010 and 2011 elections. He is planning to
travel to the U.S. with Ayman Nour in October to press for
international monitors.

-- (C) According to Saleh, a U.S.-based Freedom House
official recently received a letter from the Egyptian MFA
criticizing the organization's association with Saleh.

-- (C) Meeting us for the first time July 28, "April 6"
coordinator Ahmed Maher said the group is open to working
with secular opposition parties on voter education and other

2. (C) Background: "April 6" is a small, youth-based
movement which advocates replacing the current regime through
a peaceful transition to democracy that would include a weak
presidency and an empowered parliament and prime minister.
The movement organized a largely successful strike in Cairo
on April 6, 2008 through Facebook to protest price increases
and political and economic conditions (ref F). Following the
strike, the GOE has arrested and tortured "April 6" members,
and has prevented the group from staging public
demonstrations (ref E). End background.

Cleaning House: Islamists and Nasserists Out

3. (C) Saleh told us July 26 that the group ejected 13
Islamist and Nasserist members the previous day in an attempt
to consolidate its secular, western orientation. Saleh had
told us previously that these members had tried to hijack
"April 6," and turn it into a Islamist movement opposing the
west and rejecting Egypt's peace treaty with Israel (refs A,
D). Saleh said that following the ouster, "April 6"
published a new "manifesto" on its Facebook page, reaffirming
the group's interest in working with western countries and
organizations. Saleh assessed that the movement would now be
more internally "harmonious," but that the ousted members
would try to attack the group from the outside. He predicted
that thousands of young Egyptians would join "April 6" now
that the movement has resolved its internal issues.

--------------------------------------------- ---
"April 6" Looking Toward 2010 and 2011 Elections
--------------------------------------------- ---

4. (C) Saleh said "April 6" is now focusing on the 2010
parliamentary and 2011 presidential elections. He asked for
U.S. pressure on the GOE to allow international monitors as
the only way of ensuring free and fair elections and open
campaigns. He asserted that the political opposition would
only be able to operate freely under such conditions, as the
GOE would otherwise use the Emergency Law to prevent
campaigning. Saleh noted that he had made this point to USG,
Congressional and NGO interlocutors during his June-July trip
to the U.S. Saleh said he is also coordinating his actions
with Saad Eddin Ibrahim.

5. (C) Saleh asserted that free and fair elections as part of
a gradual non-violent transition to democracy would be the
only way to address Egypt's acute economic and political
problems. He said that "April 6" plans an internet voter
education campaign to decrease voter apathy, and wants to
stage street demonstrations to support this goal. However,
he predicted the GOE would prevent such demonstrations.
According to Saleh, "April 6" members are currently not
planning to run for seats in the 2010 parliamentary
elections, but he noted that this calculus could change if
the elections were "more open." Saleh stressed that if
movement members chose to run, they would do so as

CAIRO 00001464 002 OF 002

independents, not as opposition party candidates.

6. (C) "April 6" Coordinator Ahmed Maher told us July 28 that
the group is open to working with secular opposition parties
such as Al-Ghad, the Democratic Front and Anwar Esmat Sadat's
nascent Reform and Development Party on voter education and
other activities such as anti-corruption initiatives. Maher
said he is working to establish an organizational structure
for the group that would include a Cairo-based coordinating
committee overseeing smaller chapters in each governorate.
(Note: This was our first meeting with Maher who was
arrested and tortured following the April 6, 2008 strike, and
tries to keep a low profile. End note.)

New Coordination with Ayman Nour

7. (C) Saleh said he is working with former opposition
presidential candidate Ayman Nour on a planned October 1-7
visit the U.S. to urge the USG to press for international
election monitors. Saleh said that he, Nour and another
opposition politician would travel together. Saleh told us
he is working with U.S.-based Egyptians such as Saad Eddin
Ibrahim, Dina Guirgis of Voices for a Democratic Egypt and
Sherif Mansour of Freedom House to coordinate an Ayman Nour
trip focused on monitors. He said Guirgis is the lead
U.S.-based coordinator for the trip. According to Saleh,
Saad Eddin Ibrahim travelled to Europe in mid-July to urge
European officials to press for international monitors.

8. (C) Saleh told us that "April 6" would support Nour as a
presidential candidate in 2011 if he were able to run. Saleh
noted that he recently began discussions with Nour about
future coordination with "April 6" to achieve democratic
change. He described Nour as slightly "unbalanced from his
time in jail," but voiced hope that Nour could be an agent of
change in open 2011 presidential elections.

Saleh's U.S. Travel

9. (C) Saleh said that during his June-July travel to the
U.S., a Washington-based Freedom House official told him that
the Egyptian MFA had sent Freedom House a letter criticizing
the organization's relationship with Saleh. According to
Saleh, the Freedom House official said the letter criticized
Saleh as "an illegitimate opportunist seeking asylum in the
U.S." Saleh told us GOE customs searched him for 2 hours on
July 20 at Cairo International Airport upon his return. He
believed customs gave his papers to MOI State Security
Investigative Services (SSIS) officers.
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