December 06, 2005

Update from Egypt

By Michael J. Totten

I’ve been in Egypt for four days and I only technically have time to blog. It isn’t easy, or even possible really, to cram everything I want to see and do here into a single week. If I add blogging into my schedule I’ll have even less time for everything that I must get done while I have the chance.

So far I have a huge amount of material that I’m saving for articles and blog posts. I’ll be back in Beirut in a couple of days, and then I’ll have time to write everything up with the time and care I need to do it properly.

In the meantime, I will briefly say this: I am not at all optimistic about Egypt’s future in the medium term. I have yet to meet a single Egyptian who is. Their pessimism isn’t merely contagious…it’s convincing. The ruling party, supposedly America’s “ally,” is hideously corrupt to the core. It is not ideological, just venal, well-armed, and criminal. Liberalism (broadly defined) barely exists here. The democratic opposition parties have been oppressed so long by the state they have no more hope of taking power than the Green Party has in the United States. The Muslim Brotherhood is by far the most potent political force in the country, and millions of people who under better conditions would have little or nothing to do with them are supporting them.

At least people are willing and able to talk to me freely and openly in public. This is the one bit of good news out of Egypt right now, and it’s a recent development. This is not Libya here, and it is not Syria.

Thanks to Lebanon.Profile for filling in for me while I’m away. Enjoy his posts while he’s around, and be sure to visit his Lebanese Political Journal if you want more.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 6, 2005 01:55 PM
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