I taped a video blog earlier today with some of my thoughts on the Egyptian protests.
You can click on the viewer below to watch.
Bottom line: it’s encouraging to see Egyptians taking to the streets to demand freedom, democracy, and economic reforms. The Hosni Mubarak regime is undoubtedly repressive and the average Egyptian is struggling, big-time, to make ends meet and put food on the table.
But two things to keep in mind. Number one, Mubarak has partnered closely with the U.S. against Al Qaeda and in the larger war against global jihad. He also opposes Hamas and has maintained a peace treaty with Israel for 30 years. Yes, it is a cold peace, but it is peace nonetheless.
If Mubarak does step down or is forced to leave Egypt (that may all depend on which side the Egyptian military chooses to take), would the regime that replaces him be any better? After all, Egypt's largest and most influential opposition party is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the grandaddy of all Islamic jihadist groups and wishes to impose sharia law upon the country (and the world).
While the protests this week did not begin with an Islamist motivation and were spurred on by everyday Egyptians, there is an excellent chance that the Brotherhood will move in and begin to co-opt events as they unfold. The same thing happened in Iran in 1979, when Khomeni and his minions were able to successfully seize on the frustration of average Iranians and assume power.
Speaking of Iran, its state media is already crowing about what is happening to their hated Egyptian rival. And why not? Hamas, which is the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestinian branch, is an Iranian proxy. It stands a good chance that a Brotherhood-dominated government in Egypt would move into the Iranian orbit, which, as I reported this week, is expanding daily.
Another potential winner would be Turkey, whose Islamist, Brotherhood-friendly government is looking to become a major regional player once again and would not mind seeing Egypt weakened.
One final thought: the U.S. supplies Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid each year. It would not be a positive development, to say the least, to see an Islamist group hostile to the U.S. and Israel get their hands on all that hardware.