January 30, 2011
As the Mideast burns: Egypt on the brink
Egypt continues to be turned upside down by revolutionary protests and some ancillary violence. Things have only gotten worse this weekend as despotic Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak named his first vice-president in three decades and armed gangs freed thousands of prison inmates, including “hundreds of Muslim militants.”
The Muslim Brotherhood, which may or may not have ties to terrorism but certainly “seeks to Islamize societies from the ground up and compel governments in Muslim countries to adhere to sharia,” was founded in Egypt and continues to have a large following there. All that has raised questions about whether—like in Iran in 1979—a government that replaces Mubarak could be adverse to U.S. foreign interests.
None of that discounts the current human rights abuses in Egypt. It just all comes together for an uncomfortable calculus for U.S. diplomats.
A lot of news reports have missed the religion element in all of this, as Mollie notes at GetReligion. But this day three or four New York Times story delves into the Brotherhood’s involvement in the protests and how that differs from what some other Muslim denominations are thinking:
Yes, but the Salafists and others are greatly outnumbered. Today, Haaretz is reporting that the Muslim Brotherhood is in talks with other oppositional groups to form a unity government—sans Mubarak: