Middle East Realities, in an e-mail newsletter, is comparing the present situation in Egypt to 1952, when “[t]he Egyptian Revolution that overthrew the King, put a group of military leaders in power — with Gamel Abdel Nasser to emerge not only as Egypt’s leader but as the leader of the much of the Arab world.” The newsletter reprints a Washington Post story, which reads in part:
“Egyptian society is boiling. We have seen this only one or two times in the past 80 years,” said Alaa Aswani, an author and dentist who is active in two other new groups: Writers for Change and Doctors for Change…. The wave of protests is largely limited to the middle class, and it remains an open question whether Egypt’s legions of working-class people and unemployed will eventually join. But in a country whose opposition was long politically dormant, the spread of opposition activity is nonetheless striking, activists contend.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, the Zarqawi group, affiliated with al Qaeda, claimed it has killed an Egyptian diplomat, “five days after gunmen seized him on a Baghdad street where he had gone unguarded to buy a newspaper,” in what “would be the most serious blow yet in efforts by Islamic militant groups participating in the insurgency in Iraq to intimidate other countries in the Arab world that have been moving towards fuller ties with Iraq since a transitional government with an electoral mandate took office two months ago.” I’m thinking however that this is also likely an attempt to exploit any unrest in Egypt.
Should a hostile regime come to power in Egypt, Israel would likely reconsider its security situation. This is not only unlikely to further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process–which hardliners on both sides oppose anyway–but would remove what the United States considers a “moderate” nation from its geopolitical calculations.