Monday, February 28, 2011

Amr Moussa To Run for President

By Barry Rubin

As I have predicted, Amr Moussa, former Egyptian foreign minister and Arab League head, has declared his candidacy for president of Egypt. I'd bet he is the most likely to be elected, as a nationalist and "anti-Islamist" candidate.

While very possibly the best alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Muhammad ElBaradei, Moussa is a flamboyant demagogue who is sure to try to score points by bashing the United States, the West, and Israel. 

Syria, and thus also its ally Iran, would be pleased by his election; the Saudis will be horrified. Israel will do its best to deal with him, knowing he will be a rhetorical headache but hoping his actual behavior will be pragmatic. He will be no great bargain for U.S. interests either.

It will be interesting to see if President Obama positions himself as favoring ElBaradei despite his Muslim Brotherhood connections. That would make Moussa angrier toward Washington and the United States more unpopular in Egypt.

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