Saturday, February 5, 2011

Egyptology


My friend Alan Johnson--of EUSTON MANIFESTO, DEMOCRATIYA, & DISSENT--writes incisively about the current crisis:

I think it is reasonable for anyone to worry. There is already Hezbollah on the northern border, dug in and armed to the teeth with Iranian rocketry, Syria plotting to have another go at getting, ahem, weapons that Israel eliminatedrecently..., while Iran seems on track to have their own in a year at worst, three at best. Oh, and Hamas and its covenant sit waiting in Gaza. If it goes pear-shaped and we have to add to all that an Islamist Egypt breaking the treaty and supplying Hamas across the border, then the danger is existential. I just think that it is exactly that bigger picture (worsening over time, the tendency is clear to me) that makes Melanie's argument wrong. Only apolitical transformation in the region, in which an Israeli withdrawal from almost all territories captured in 67, plus trades, will play its part, can answer to that strategic mess. And I think this is true not just in the long term but - I may be pessimistic here but I fear not - in the shortish term. It isn't five to midnight but its not far off. I hope that Mubarak goes and an interim national govt that includes opposition figures rules until UN supervised elections in September. If that happens we will need to strain everything to support the fledgling democratic secular opposition. When I interviewed Saad Eddin Ibrahim he was adamant that the MB would get no more than 20% vote and that if the non-MB opposition were given a chance to organize it would gain far more support than the MB.

I am less sanguine than AJ on the percent of the vote that the MB might garner in "free and fair," but otherwise this is the most clear-sighted and responsible thing I've read on the subject.

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