(CNSNews.com) – The crisis in
With the political crisis entering its second week, Mubarak’s reign looks more tenuous than ever, as both the internal security forces and the regular army have failed to disperse the thousands of anti-Mubarak protesters flooding the streets of
Michael Rubin, a Middle East expert at the American Enterprise Institute, told CNSNews.com that the Obama administration must deal with the fact that in any case, Mubarak will not lead
“Lesson one is that if we kick the can down the road for too long, eventually the road runs out,” Rubin said. “Even in the best of times, 82-year-old dictators tend not to live that long.”
Rubin said that the “worst-case scenario” would be a takeover by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood. The most likely scenario, he added, rests with the Egyptian army: “What I would see as more likely would be the Army stepping in and then having a transitional government until the September 2011 elections.”
Rubin warned that while a transitional government may be the most likely outcome in the short term, the Muslim Brotherhood may bide its time, waiting until the protests die down to maneuver for power. The Brotherhood undoubtedly is eyeing Mubarak’s sizeable fortune as well, he said.
“When we look at the Islamic Revolution in
Likewise, Rubin noted that Mubarak has amassed a lot of money. He described that fortune as a $25 billion time bomb, “waiting to go off.”
“Are we prepared -- and is
Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, echoed Rubin’s concern about the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that the
“I think we ought to try to avoid doing any harm,” Gaffney said. “The first thing to do is understand what’s going on, which I think certainly a number of folks – including some conservatives – have not got right.”
Gaffney argued that the Muslim Brotherhood is the driving force behind the Egyptian uprisings and that they would soon “assert themselves” once the public furor subsides.
“I think the Brotherhood is deeply involved already and that they will in relatively short order assert themselves as the dominant force in a post-Mubarak
Heritage Foundation Middle East scholar James Phillips said it would be a mistake for the
“We can’t micro-control what’s going on, and I think it would be a mistake to pull the rug out from underneath President Mubarak until it’s clear that there is some kind of agreement going forward on how to engineer a transition that would favor sustainable freedom in Egypt and not just the ‘one man, one vote, one time’ [scenario] if the Islamists take over.”
Phillips said the Obama administration should work “behind the scenes” to ensure a peaceful transition to a free society for Egyptians.
“I think it should be done as part of a deal that helps ensure a successful transition to freedom. You can’t just turn against him [Mubarak] because for one thing, that will make all our other allies in the Arab World nervous that we’ll just drop them if it gets too difficult.
“Most importantly, I think if the Obama administration decides tomorrow to publicly call for Mubarak to leave, then the next day or probably even that day with the state of communications I think the protests would become much more violent.”