Dr. Walid Phares, an expert on the Middle East and on terrorism, currently has a media alert scrolling across his website—projections from his latest book The Coming Revolution are “materializing in Sudan, Tunisia, Lebanon and now Egypt.”
Phares suggested there could be “enormous” implications—not just for Egypt but for the world. He told Dow Jones Newswires, "It all boils down to who controls what. When you have a broken-down situation like this, the Suez Canal will not be completely protected by Egyptian armed forces…"
DJN also said according to Dr. Phares, "Extremist elements of the opposition 'would drag [the region] into economic instability that would target oil.'"
Many in Western media appear to be confused about one key player in the current protests—the Muslim Brotherhood. Some have praised the Brotherhood for the group’s social welfare programs. It’s worth pointing out some background on this group founded in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna. The group originally referred to as The Muslim Brothers aimed to institute Islamic rule in Egypt.
The Brothers began as a small local group but eventually grew to attract members across Arab states and the rest of the world, and Islamist ideology can be traced to them. Banna was assassinated in 1949 and some blamed Christianity for his death. Even then there was an indication the group would one day impact world affairs.
Lawrence Wright, in the book The Looming Tower, recounted a conversation between another key Islamist Sayyid Qutb and a British subject, James Heyworth-Dunne who converted to Islam. Heyworth-Dunne said, “If the Brothers succeed in coming to power, Egypt will never progress and will stand as an obstacle to civilization.” [pg. 16]
The CIA World Fact Book provides some context shedding light on the current situation in Egypt: “A rapidly growing population (the largest in the Arab world), limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress society. The government has struggled to meet the demands of Egypt's growing population through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure.”
Dr. Phares said on his website, “Western democracies display a dangerous misunderstanding of precisely who opposes democracy and why. In fact, the West ignores the wide and disparate forces within the Muslim world—including a brotherhood against democracy that is fighting to bring the region under totalitarian control—and crucially underestimates the determined generation of youth feverishly waging a grassroots revolution toward democracy and human rights.”
At this point it is impossible to determine what group will control the coming power vacuum in Egypt. Free countries can only hope whoever takes control will be able to restore stability. Otherwise there will likely be even more human suffering considering the country’s resources are already challenged.
(Analysis by Kay B. Day/Feb. 2, 2011)