However corrupt Egypt’s regime may have been or continues to be, Mubarak succeeded in keeping the Islamists and the religious radicals in check. The Muslim Brotherhood, a major fundamentalist Egyptian opposition group that Mubarak had banned, will definitely try to take advantage of any further economic frustration or breakdown to set up the longed-for Islamic state, probably by promising those who have nothing that they will create a Muslim utopia of social justice, patterned after the Prophet Mohammad’s rule. That is the bait to hijack the revolution, like the Bolsheviks promised “peace, land and bread” to the uneducated, downtrodden Russian masses to get their support, only to bring in the Red Terror in return.
As history warns, the Islamists, if successful in seizing power, will internally perpetrate a Khmer Rouge/Khomeini-type bloodbath the likes of which Egypt has never seen before. The first victims will most likely be the country’s religious minorities. Externally, they will involve Egypt in a jihad/war against Israel, Europe or the Shiites and, like Iran, strive to build nuclear weapons.
Thus, Western countries and Israel are, naturally, viewing the events in Egypt with grave concern. The West must be prepared to confront the fact that it may be faced in Egypt with an approaching hostile, failed state, similar to Pakistan and Somalia, where terrorists will be welcome. If Obama fails to play this precarious situation right, and drops the ball like Carter disastrously did in 1979 by pulling the rug from under the Shah’s feet in Iran, then this dire situation could coalesce into Islamists capturing Egypt. Sometimes, as with Mubarak, the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.