What would come next in Egypt after Hosni Mubarak? Few know whether this seemingly democratic populist movement will result in true democracy, let alone a Western style and friendly democracy.
I profess to be no authority on the Muslim Brotherhood, arguably the largest (though not majority) political force in Egypt, that has clearly play a role in the demonstrations. There is no clear picture of what the country would look like if the Brotherhood gained power. The views of the organization are all over the map.
Even American neo-cons don’t seem all that concerned, warning, as Eliot Abrams did in a Washington Post article this morning, that Israel shouldn’t be defending Mubarak. After all, he is 83 years old. There’s not much future there. And if the neo-cons aren’t concerned….
"There’s been an Israeli position which is, ‘We love Mubarak,’ that permeates their whole society, the political class," said Elliott Abrams, who was deputy national security adviser in the last Bush administration. "That certainly differs from many of us in the pro-Israel camp in the United States."
Abrams said he has made the case to wary Israelis that they would be foolish to build a future relationship with an aging ruler who has served for decades and "presided over unprecedented anti-Semitism in the media" in Egypt, rather than to take a gamble on a potentially more liberal and popular government.
Other neoconservatives in the United States have agreed. "Obviously there are a million problems: Transitions are hard, and you have to worry about who takes over," said conservative commentator William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard. "But I think it’s a mistake for people to hang on to a false, quote, ‘stability’ with an 82-year-old dictator. There are complicated short-term issues, but at the end of the day, being pro- Israel and being pro-freedom go together."
No one denies the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. So if it were clear that the Brotherhood was a threat, neo-cons would sing a different tune. But that doesn’t stop Post writer Anne Kornblut from labeling the group as such.
Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu likened the situation in Egypt to that of Iran, making the menacing prediction that a post-Mubarak Egypt could join other "repressive regimes of radical Islam." The sentiment has been widespread in the Israeli press – and roundly dismissed by prominent American Jewish neoconservatives, who do not see a takeover of the Egyptian government by the Muslim Brotherhood as inevitable. [emphasis added]
The only way to read this short paragraph is: Muslim Brotherhood equates with other “repressive regimes of radical Islam.” It clearly leaves that impression with the reader.
As I say, some think it’s a true statement. But many others do not. So it seems unfair and a “radical” departure from good journalism to suggest it is uncontroverted fact.