Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thinking About Egypt's Future

By Barry Rubin

Here's a question worth investigating. The two main "secular" figures on the steering committee of the opposition are the last two opposition candidates for president: Ayman Nur and Muhammad ElBaraidi. As of now, if there is going to be a moderate, secular regime in Egypt these two men are the great hope.

But both of them are very much tied to the Brotherhood and dependent on it. In short, the real threat is not that the Brotherhood would stage a coup and seek direct and open power but that it would dominate a government to some extent and that government would be a radical regime tied to countries hostile to the United States, Syria and Hamas more than Iran.

Let's suppose--this is speculation but reasonable--that the Brotherhood were to receive 30 percent in the election and radical nationalist parties got another 5-10 percent. How much power would that give them against a possibly divided bloc of various moderates who on certain issues wouldn't be so moderate?

In a coalition, the Brotherhood would get certain ministries. Obviously not defense or foreign affairs but ones that carry money, patronage, and the ability to influence public opinion like religion, education, and social welfare. The United States has already agreed to Brotherhood participation, before being asked.

Remember the 22 Hizballah terrorists caught trying to carry out attacks in Egypt? They've escaped from prison. In the future Egypt they'd be able to enter freely and go into the Gaza Strip in order to "help out" there.

Isn't it reasonable for Israel, already facing would-be genocidal forces on two borders (Gaza and Lebanon), to be concerned about the renewed hostility of the region's single most-powerful Arab country, armed with modern U.S. weapons?

Shouldn't the United States worry about the fact that it is now likely to face eight hostile states in the region (Egypt, Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon's government, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Turkey's government) and only has four significant allies left (Iraq, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia)? 

How should Americans and American leaders feel about the reality that its enemies know the United States will not harm them, while its allies know the United States will not help them? Even worse, its allies have to fear being thrown under the bus at any moment. 

In light of these simple points, is warning about these things alarmist or, rather, is not admitting them alarming?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.