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Egypt’s Interim Government

January 30, 2011

When the Mubarak family clambers tearfully aboard a military transport and heads for a life of emigre squabbles in Riyadh, the one dominating question will be : how long before political Islam takes over?

Reminds me of the exchange between Henry Kissinger and Mario Soares, the social democratic prime minister of Portugal, as it wobbled close to a communist coup in 1977. “I don’t intend to be Kerensky,” said Soares. “Neither did Kerensky,” quipped Kissinger.

Useful material on the Muslim Brotherhood, inspiration for Hamas and the likely beneficiary of the fall of Mubarak , can be dug out of the site of the International Crisis Group. The theme of its examination of this movement has been whether the Brotherhood will veer towards integration or confrontation.

A bigger question now : how long before Egypt becomes a theocracy, with a fusion of Islamic religion and the machinery of government?

It may not, but the Arab world – politically retarded, offering no example of a working democracy – has not provided any alternative to authoritarian rule like that of the unlamented Mubarak, noteworthy for torturing political prisoners and the robust kleptomania of its ruling elite.

Too tough? Give me one example of Arab democracy. And hope that the first may prove to be Egypt.


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