Sometimes history makes a left turn just when you were expecting it to keep going straight. Such an unexpected alteration in course seems to be unfolding right now across the MiddleEast and North Africa. In recent weeks the government of Tunisia has been overthrown although there is still no clear picture on what's replaced it. Now rioting and protests are spreading across the region but although Yemen, Jordan and others have been affected, all eyes are now turned to Egypt, the most powerful of the regimes to have been affected by this outbreak.
This should be of special interest to Israel. Normally in Hollywood type fantasies popular revolutions lead to new and better governments coming to power usually with the help of the heroes. In real life, however, the opposite seems to happen. As the saying goes, "the king is dead, long live the dictator!" Consider the Russian revolution which replaced the oppressive but incompetent czar with the oppressive and brutally competent Communists. How about the Iranian revolution?
And what will happen in Egypt? As Caroline Glick notes in her latest piece, the most likely scenario assuming a regime change happens is not a cause for optimism.
Thursday afternoon, Egyptian presidential hopeful Mohammed ElBaradei, the former head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency returned to Egypt from Vienna to participate in anti-regime demonstrations. As IAEA head, Elbaradei shielded Iran's nuclear weapons program from the Security Council. He repeatedly ignored evidence indicating that Iran's nuclear program was a military program rather than a civilian energy program. When the evidence became too glaring to ignore, Elbaradei continued to lobby against significant UN Security Council sanctions or other actions against Iran and obscenely equated Israel's purported nuclear program to Iran's.
His actions won him the support of the Iranian regime which he continues to defend. Just last week he dismissed the threat of a nuclear armed Iran telling the Austrian News Agency, "There's a lot of hype in this debate," and asserting that the discredited 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate that claimed Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003 remains accurate.
Elbaradei's support for the Iranian ayatollahs is matched by his support for the Muslim Brotherhood. This group, which forms the largest and best organized opposition movement to the Mubarak regime is the progenitor of Hamas and al Qaida. It seeks Egypt's transformation into an Islamic regime that will stand at the forefront of the global jihad. In recent years, the Muslim Brotherhood has been increasingly drawn into the Iranian nexus along with Hamas. Muslim Brotherhood attorneys represented Hizbullah terrorists arrested in Egypt in 2009 for plotting to conduct spectacular attacks aimed at destroying the regime.
Elbaradei has been a strong champion of the Muslim Brotherhood. Just this week he gave an interview to Der Spiegel defending the jihadist movement. As he put it, "We should stop demonizing the Muslim Brotherhood. …[T]hey have not committed any acts of violence in five decades. They too want change. If we want democracy and freedom, we have to include them instead of marginalizing them." The Muslim Brotherhood for its part has backed Elbaradei's political aspirations. On Thursday it announced it would demonstrate at ElBaradei's side the next day.
While it's always exciting to watch history happening, we would have every right to be concerned that instead of a liberation, the Arab world is about to get darker and more dangerous, especially for us. However, I would like to make a prediction. With all the randomness that seems to surround events these days this prediction is worth about as much as anyone else's but here it is anyway: nothing will change. Hosni Mubarak and friends have too much invested in their regimes to allow them to slip away. Unlike Tunisia, the army and police are strongly behind the government and will be willing to shed blood to protect it. They will be aided by a western media that is more worried about Arabs being delayed at roadblocks by Jews than Arabs killing each other. And Mubarak will survive... for now.