I had intended to write an analytical post about the tumultuous events in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world and then I recalled that a) I do not speak or read Arabic b) am not versed in contemporary Egyptian politics c) am not an Arabist by academic training d) have never visited the Middle East and e) even those who are all of these things are often doing more news updating on twitter than deep analysis.
Egypt is the demographic and geographic center of the Arab Sunni world – but without the economic resources to make Egypt the power that Nasser once aspired that it would be in the heady era of postcolonial, nationalist, Pan-Arabism. So Nasser became a client of the Soviets, who could fund his ambitions and Egypt was a quasi- Soviet satellite until Sadat kicked the Soviets out for trying to undermine him in favor of a more pliant stooge, and accepted American patronage. Sadat’s assassination gave us Mubarak and his hated familial-military-party oligarchy (Ok, the military and party were largely there, but Mubarak’s rule has discredited them).
So, instead of my projecting what will happen next, I’ll devote this recommended reading to other bloggers and news sources who are freer with their conjecture:
Top Billing! Thomas P.M. Barnett Preliminary scenario voting results at Wikistrat’s Egyptian war room (updated 1630 EST Sun) and First ever Virtual Strategic War-Room Launched following Egyptian Chaos and the Wikistrat Virtual Strategic War Room site.
No Tom is not an Arabist either, but he does have experience with designing and participating in professional war games and futurism sessions inside the USG and out. The war room, to my casual observation, seems like an IT effort to synthesize expert analysis and crowdsourcing a primitive/structured prediction market. Interesting.
Arabist.net The who’s who of the has-beens
SWJ Blog – Days of Unrest (Update)
HNN (Haider Khan) – Egypt, What Next?
Juan Cole –Egypt’s Class Conflict