The Longer Mubarak Stays, the More Radical Egypt Gets

A growing consensus in the blogosphere

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After yesterday's violence in Egypt, international observers worry that President Hosni Mubarak could suppress opposition protesters with a military crackdown. According to the New York Times, it's "unclear" if the military would follow such an order. However, some believe that the provocations by pro-Mubarak forces yesterday were an attempt to foment wide-scale violence to justify a military incursion. In the blogosphere, there's a newly forming consensus that such a crackdown could only aid the country's Islamic radicals:

  • A Crackdown Is Coming, tweets Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, a columnist for The National: "Arrests & intimidation of journalists only means that govt is planning to step up its attacks on peaceful Egyptians."
  • That Could Lead to Radicalization, tweets Michael Hanna, a fellow at The Century Foundation: "A suppressed uprising would do more for Egyptian extremists than a Muslim Brotherhood govt ever could." In a followup tweet, he adds, "Only focus in US on dangers of MB in gov, yet no mention of dangers if uprising suppressed. Seems to be perfect route for radicalization."
  • I Agree, writes Jamie Fly at The Weekly Standard: "For those concerned about what follows Mubarak, the quickest solution is getting beyond him and not allowing extremist forces time to organize. Mubarak’s departure is not an automatic victory at the polls for the Muslim Brotherhood if he exits quickly."
  • Everything Depends on the Military, writes Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy:
If I were looking at one indicator to gauge my degree of optimism or pessimism, I'd be watching the Egyptian army. By most accounts it has held together as an institution, and it remains a respected element of society. By refraining from a violent crackdown, and by tacitly endorsing at least some of the aims of the protestors, [the military] has preserved that position. Thus, the army may be able to serve as a unifying and stabilizing force through the transition period, especially if its members don't simply to recreate Mubarakism with a different figurehead. But if the army splits, or goes over to full-scale repression, then things are going to get really ugly.
  • Egyptians Must Come Together, writes Ahmed Zeail at The New York Times, and "the role of the military must be to maintain order and to protect the people from looting and crimes, and not to interfere in the formation of the unity government. Longstanding political parties and organizations should for now put aside their own agendas and place their priorities on building a stable bridge to Egypt’s democratic future."
Will it choose yesterday's bloodshed? Or will it choose the dignity and dynamism of a new Egypt, on display in the eclectic collection of those calling for reform? They were students and professionals, men and women, members of both the elite and the working class, standing side by side, and standing together out of concern for their country's future. It is that spirit that must be the foundation of how Egypt moves forward, no matter who is at its helm.
  • How to Resolve This Crisis in 4 Steps  Ahmed Zeail at The New York Times explains:

First, a council of wise men and women should be assembled to map out a new national vision and draft a new constitution based on liberty, human rights and the orderly transfer of power.

Second, the independence of the judiciary must be guaranteed.

Third, free and fair elections must be conducted for the upper and lower houses of Parliament and for the presidency, overseen by the independent judiciary;

Fourth, a new transitional government of national unity must be formed as soon as possible.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.