Where Could Egypt End Up?

by Chris Bodenner

Andrew McGregor runs through a wide-ranging series of scenarios, including "Islamists Take Control of Egypt through Elections":

While many reports suggest a Muslim Brotherhood takeover is imminent, results from the last relatively free elections in which they were able to contend indicate the MB has the support of roughly 20% of the electorate.  The Muslim Brothers’ armed wing was dissolved long ago and there are no indications of the movement turning to violence in the current turmoil. Having committed to a policy of building an Islamic state through grass-roots activism after top-down efforts to seize power in Egypt nearly resulted in the destruction of the movement in the 1960s, the Brothers are in the midst of an ideological dilemma – stay the course and possibly be left behind or ignore the movement’s principles to try and maneuver the movement into a leading position in the effort to overthrow the government.  The Brothers are as likely to split over this issue as they are to become a late player in the uprising. ...

Though relatively unlikely, an Islamist victory at the polls would lead to three possibilities:

a) Countercoup - The Algerian Scenario: When the FIS appeared to be winning the Algerian general elections in 1991, the Algerian military moved quickly to seize the government with U.S. and French support. The United States may similarly decide Egypt, as the leading nation of the Arab world, is simply too important to leave to Islamists of any stripe.

b) A moderate Islamist government willing to work with the West as well as the East, on the pattern of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (increasingly the Islamist’s model of choice).

c) An Islamist government sacrifices much needed American subsidies to break with the West, renege on the treaties with Israel and provide a haven to extremists. This scenario remains the most unlikely at the moment. While the existing relationship with Israel will be re-examined by almost any new government, a break with the West would have little appeal to most Egyptians.

(Hat tip: Arabica)