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Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 02/10/2011

Poll: No constituency for Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt

By Adam Serwer

Fears that the protests in Egypt would lead to an Islamist takeover have been a point of convergence for the regime of embattled Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak and some on the American right. But a new poll of Egyptians suggests that paranoid conspiracy theories predicting that protests in Egypt are the first step to establishing a new caliphate across the Middle East are as crazy as they sound. 

The poll, commissioned by the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, suggests that the Muslim Brotherhood isn't anywhere near as popular as either Mubarak or paranoid conservatives believe them to be.

This 
is
 not 
an 
Islamic 
uprising. 
The 
Muslim 
Brotherhood 
is 
"approved"
by
 just 
15%, 
and 
its 
leaders 
get
 barely 1%
 in
 a 
presidential 
straw
 vote. 
Asked 
to
 pick
 national
 priorities, 
just
 12% 
choose 
shariah 
over
 national 
power, democracy,
or
 economic 
development. 
Asked
 to 
explain
 the 
uprising, 
economic
 conditions,
corruption,
and unemployment 
(30‐40% 
each) 
far
 outpace 
"regime
 not 
Islamic 
enough" 
(7%).

Surprisingly, 
asked 
two
 different 
ways
 about 
the
 peace 
treaty 
with 
Israel,
 more
 support
 it 
(37%)
 than
 oppose it 
(22%). 
Only 
18% 
approve
 of
 either 
Hamas 
or 
Iran. 
And 
a
 mere 
5% 
say 
the 
uprising
 occurred 
because
 the regime 
is 
"too
 pro-Israel."

The usual caveats about extrapolating too much from a single data point, particularly given the small sample size, apply. I think its also fair to question how comfortable Egyptians might be in speaking frankly about their political views, especially about a group targeted by the regime as much as the MB has been.

This poll though, merely reinforces what has already been reported -- the protests are not being driven by Islamist groups, and they are driven by underlying economic issues and anger with Egypt's repressive government rather than a widespread desire to replace the Mubarak regime with an Islamist theocracy. While it's too early to know how this will all play out, the argument that a transition to democracy in Egypt will lead to an Islamist takeover doesn't seem to hold much water.

While the feud between Glenn Beck and Bill Kristol is less about connecting the left to radical Islam than when to do so and how crazy to sound when you do it, Kristol and his allies are at least correct in characterizing Beck's fears as overblown.

By Adam Serwer  | February 10, 2011; 10:50 AM ET
 
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Comments

I'm sick and tired of right-wingers justifying support for monstrous dictators by arguing that if we don't, a bunch of monstrous anti-western Islamists will take over. It's like their worldview is muslims = zombies. They are all the same, and all they want is to destroy America.

It's completely ignorant and offensive. It also demonstrates AGAIN how little they understand about the region. Egypt in 2011 just isn't Iran in 1979. (Hell, even Iran in 2011 isn't Iran in 1979.) It's also not Turkey.

But really, why are we listening to the predictions of people who told us there was "no evidence" the Shia and Sunni in Iraq were lining up for some significant conflict? These people are stupid and they have been wrong about everything of consequence. Why are we still listening to them?

Posted by: theorajones1 | February 10, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Let’s pose a little history test. What American President said this, and where did he say it?

"So let me be clear, no system of government can or should be imposed on one nation by any other."
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyharnden/9971788/Barack_Obamas_10_mistakes_in_Cairo/

The Obamateur figured that the Egyptians wouldn’t remember that Cairo speech. Wrong!
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110210/pl_afp/egyptunrestus

A top Egyptian minister accused the United States of imposing its "will" on its Arab ally, as the White House warned that Cairo had failed to even reach a “minimum threshold” for reform.

“When you speak about ‘prompt,’ ‘immediate,’ ‘now,’ as if you are imposing on a great country like Egypt, a great friend that has always maintained the best of relationship with the United States, you are imposing your will on him,” Abul Gheit said.
=====

[The Obamateur might want to consult his own Cairo speech to the Egyptians from less than two years ago.]

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 10, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I've been following the live blog from AJE and this is the latest. Earlier they reported that 1000 doctors donned in their lab coats joined the protesters in the square followed by 3000 lawyers. I hope the latest reports are accurate, we'll see. I hope Suleiman is not included in the transition, it appears the protesters do not want him.

""5:23pm: NDP Secretary General Hossam Badrawi says he expects Mubarak to respond to the demands of the people before Friday. An official statement from the military is imminent.

5:20pm: A senior military commander is reported to have told protesters that all their demands will be met, but no official confirmation is yet available

5:15pm: Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Cairo, confirmed the new demands of those in Tahrir Square include the entire administration to resign – not just President Mubarak. They want a one-year transitional period before full parliamentary elections - during which a three-person presidential council should run the country while a panel of experts write a new, permanent constitution – taking advice from opposition groups and senior, high-profile Egyptians, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

5:09pm: The Supreme Council of Egyptian Armed Forces is meeting to study its position toward the ongoing crisis.""

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/02/10/live-blog-feb-10-egypt-protests

Posted by: lmsinca | February 10, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Greg


WHAT you do not understand - is any social legislation in the US MUST have bipartisan support, or it will not stand.

Obama's health care bill will not stand, and is unconstitutional as we speak.

The Republicans will soon be in control of Congress and the Presidency - they will write the next health care bill - trashing Obama's ridiculous ideas from A to Z.

Obviously Obama could have done things differently


IF Obama had supported a GENUINE BIPARTISAN BILL - DRAFTED BY BOTH PARTIES - this bill would probably not be headed for the trashheap of history right now. That was the ARROGANCE AND EGO OF OBAMA AND THE LIBERALS. You choose this road.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

[Adam: "the argument that a transition to democracy in Egypt will lead to an Islamist takeover doesn't seem to hold much water."]

The Cedar Revolution collapse in "secular" Lebanon-- to Iran's terrorist proxy, Hezbollah-- didn't "hold much water" either for The Obamateur-- until it happened last month.

*slouching toward sharia*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 10, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

""Leader of Egypt's National Democratic Party says demands of protesters have been met. "They won," he told CNN.""

You never know if these reports are actually true when first reported, but here it is. Below is a new update from the live blog at AJE. This is huge if it's true.

""5:39pm: Huge chant, Tahrir Square seemingly in unison, shouting: "The army and the people in one hand - the army and the people are united."

5:35pm: Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera's correspondent, reports: "Now, for the first time, we are getting the sense that senior military officers are discussing 'national issues', which is a very significant development indeed."

5:30pm: "Ambiguous" statement from military confirms its “commitment and responsibility to safeguard the people and to protect the interests of the nation, and its duty to protect the riches and assets of the people and of Egypt”. Mentioned the demands of the people are “lawful and legitimate”. Understood the military council met separately from Mubarak.""

Posted by: lmsinca | February 10, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Breaking: Hosni Mubarak 'may be stepping down'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12421000

Breaking: Suleiman to take over as leader http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41506482/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 10, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

After days of conflicting reports the Obama Administration insisted today that their message has been consistent.

Yeah right! Gateway Pundit tracks The Obamateur's inconsistent signals.
http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/02/white-house-tells-reporters-that-their-message-on-egypt-has-been-consistent/

* Tuesday the Obama Administration asked Hosni Mubarak to step aside.

* Wednesday they said that transitioning power “now means yesterday.”

* Saturday morning the Obama Administration said Mubarak must stay.

* Saturday evening the Obama Administration said Mubarak should step aside.

* Sunday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Mubarak must stay in power.

* Tuesday the Obama Administration said that political reform will be a gradual process.

*Rubbish*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 10, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I have watched non-stop Egyptian coverage. There are few women in the crowd. Most are middle aged men. THe first week there were no women. It is obvious who is behind this protest, let us hope women will raise their voices and are allowed to vote. We will see. If they are not, and remain hidden in shrouds, then the same people that told us the Lockerbie Bomber would be dead of prostate cancer in a "matter of days" are lying to us again.

Where were all these democracy advocates when the women of Iran were protesting? Were there no Google executives willing to take on Iran?

Posted by: Cornell1984 | February 10, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

lmsinca:

Amazing!

Maybe there's hope for the United States after all.

We are all Egyptians now!

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne

There are conflicting reports re Suleiman. According to the constitution he is not allowed to take over, so there's that. It's incredible watching the force of the people and the growing crowds. As a nation, we mostly turned away this week but the people of Egypt have kept the pressure not only on but rising. I think it's still a dangerous time and an uncertain future but a beginning.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 10, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Although I agree generally with Adam's main points here, I think he would find that this pew poll (Dec. 2010) has decidedly different results:

30% of Muslims have favorable view of Hezbollah

49% have a favorable view of Hamas

At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt (85%) consider Islamic influence over political life to be a positive thing for their country

At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt say they would favor making each of the following the law: stoning people who commit adultery, whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion.

In Egypt, about one-in-five Muslims offer positive opinions of bin Laden (19%) and his organization (20%)

54% of Muslims in Egypt also support making gender segregation the law in their country.

59% say democracy is preferable to any other kind of government.

One-in-five Muslims in Egypt offer support for suicide bombing in defense of Islam

http://pewglobal.org/2010/12/02/muslims-around-the-world-divided-on-hamas-and-hezbollah/

This is why it is important that there be a significant period of time to develop political parties and so on before free elections are held in Egypt.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 10, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Imsinca:

I had to laugh when I saw that Saudi Arabia "threatened" to give $2B to Egypt if the U.S. cut its aid.

Um, OK. Maybe they can finance Israel, too.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Would be neat to see a chart depicting who wanted Mubarack to stay in power and who wanted him to leave.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 10, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt (85%) consider Islamic influence over political life to be a positive thing for their country..."
About the same thing could be said of the U.S. and Christians.

Posted by: LauraNo | February 10, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"Imsinca:

I had to laugh when I saw that Saudi Arabia "threatened" to give $2B to Egypt if the U.S. cut its aid.

Um, OK. Maybe they can finance Israel, too."

I was thinking the same thing too. Time for the rest of these wealthy countries step up to the financial plate.

So far, it appears the President called this one right. That being for Mubarack to step down.

We'll see how this plays out in the next few years. Considering their military is funded and trained by us I'd say we're in a good position so far.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 10, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"Would be neat to see a chart depicting who wanted Mubarack to stay in power and who wanted him to leave."

Mike: I don't think that would reflect well on either the Democrats or the Republicans. The truth is that our ME policy has been bi-partisan and largely still is.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

It's very difficult to find out exactly what is happening, but from this report, it appears the military may be taking over, at least temporarily. And sbj, I agree there needs to be a period of time for the political parties to develop and for leaders to emerge. I can only hope that the situation for women will improve. Contrary to some reports I have seen many women joining the protests.

""And now there are new reports that the Army has stepped in at the same time that Mubarak was rumored to be handing power to Suleiman. From Al Ahram English – remember that we’re in a very fluid moment and rumors are not confirmed:

The just released Statement #1 of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, announcing that the Council will remain in an open-ended session, in order to safeguard “the people’s achievements and demands”, is being interpreted widely as indicating that the Egyptian army has effectively seized political power in the country. A senior field commander gave Ahram Online’s correspondent in Tahrir sq his own interpretation of the statement. According to the senior army officer who preferred anonimity, the Supreme Council is about to announce, in statement #2, that it has taken over authority in the country, for an interim period, the duration of which is to be determined later.

Asked about what such a step might mean for the president, the vice-president and the prime minister, the armed forces commander said “these are people who have no power over the of the armed forces.”""

Posted by: lmsinca | February 10, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"There are few women in the crowd. Most are middle aged men."

Things were a bit violent there for a bit.

And wbgonne, I know. I thought it would have been interesting who sided with the Josh Bolton foreign policy crowd and who sided with the Obama stance to encourage him to stand down and transition himself out.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 10, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I wish the Obama Administration had gotten on the side of the protesters sooner and more forcefully, but let's not pretend that any of this starts with Obama. The US has supported Mubarak for 30 years and Israel supports him as well. He is (was!!) an ally in the region and you can't just dump your allies overboard so quickly. None of this should matter to the Egyptian public who, probably rightly, sees the US as too willing to compromise with dictatorship. But I think it should affect how we see our own government's actions. It is an entirely different matter to stand against Saddam Hussein or the Soviet Union than to stand against Hosni Mubarak.

Posted by: willows1 | February 10, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"So far, it appears the President called this one right. That being for Mubarack to step down."

No, I don't think that's right. However, it does not appear to be too late for the U.S. to get on the right side of history. If Candidate Obama were President Obama, this would present a golden opportunity to revamp our entire Middle East policy, which means changing our entire Foreign policy, especially -- ending the Afghanistan War. Whether we like it or not, our foreign policy is being adjusted for us. Let's embrace the possibilities. This is an opportunity. Candidate Obama, please talk to President Obama.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"So far, it appears the President called this one right."

Yes, that's giving Obama, Clinton, Biden, the state dept, intelligence - all entirely too much credit.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 10, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Willow you said:

"I wish the Obama Administration had gotten on the side of the protesters sooner and more forcefully,"

But then said:

"He is (was!!) an ally in the region and you can't just dump your allies overboard so quickly. "

Which is it?

And wbgonne, if you're saying he should have sided with the protesters more forcefully I disagree for the reason that if they (dissenting voices) failed to remove him from power we could have possibly allienated a strong(flawed but strong) ally in the region.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 10, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

AJE:

""6:49pm: Alan Fisher, Al Jazeera correspondent, notes the military's Supreme Council has only ever held three open sessions in its history. 1967, 1973 - and today.

6:44pm: Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports the military presence in downtown Cairo has increased in recent hours, with greater numbers of tanks making a highly visible presence.""

Posted by: lmsinca | February 10, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@theorajones: "I'm sick and tired of right-wingers justifying support for monstrous dictators by arguing that if we don't, a bunch of monstrous anti-western Islamists will take over."

Is there a justification of support for dictators or despots? I agree with you that we should not be supporting, or justifying support for, totalitarian governments. I don't consider totalitarian regimes legitimate, or entitled to respected sovereignty. It doesn't mean that it's our job to remove them and install democracy but, at the very least, we should offer support to verifiable democracies or reasonably democratic governments, and withhold support from dictators.

Legitimate government only comes from consent of the governed, and consent of the governed only comes from democracy. And the best type of democracy allows every citizen of age to vote for empowered representatives and the whatever form of executive there may be. But if it's just going to be male landowners or something stupid like that, that's still better than unitary totalitarianism.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, that's giving Obama, Clinton, Biden, the state dept, intelligence - all entirely too much credit."

???

Knowing the military is taking over during the transition and knowing how close our military is to theirs tells me this admin had something to do it.

So, I'd guess Obama made his position made knowing what a highly probable outcome could happen.

Here is the thing. I don't believe this admin will ever openly acknowledge if this is how things played out for the fact we aren't very popular with the public there. Would be nice though if their military could play a roll in helping shape a positive image of us over there since their military is trusted by the people.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 10, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"And wbgonne, if you're saying he should have sided with the protesters more forcefully I disagree for the reason that if they (dissenting voices) failed to remove him from power we could have possibly allienated a strong(flawed but strong) ally in the region."

Yes, of course that had to be considered but it was far from decisive. Very early on, Obama decided he wanted the Mubarak Regime to stay in power with some modest reforms implemented gradually. That's why the U.S. backed Sueliman. That's why we didn't even threaten to pull our aid even though the Egyptian military is almost completely funded by the U.S.. The Arab press was beginning to brim with anti-American sentiment but the Egyptian People -- specifically the unions -- may have saved Obama's bacon by forcing the issue. But it can still go very wrong in Egypt so who knows how it will turn out. In any event, it would be refreshing to see Obama treat this as an opportunity and not a crisis.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

[mike drooled: "it appears the President called this one right"]

Yeah right! Gateway Pundit tracks The Obamateur's inconsistent signals.
http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/02/white-house-tells-reporters-that-their-message-on-egypt-has-been-consistent/

* Tuesday The Obamateur asked Mubarak to step aside.

* Wednesday he said that transitioning power “now means yesterday.”

* Saturday morning The Obamateur said Mubarak must stay.

* Saturday evening The Obamateur said Mubarak should step aside.

* Sunday Hillary's pantsuit said Mubarak must stay in power.

* Tuesday The Obamateur said that political reform will be a gradual process.

What an utter shambles. The Obamateur's "leadership" style is totally clueless. Is Barry using Berry's crack, now that Michelle banned his cigarettes?

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 10, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@mike: My point was with respect to the assertion that Obama had played this one about right. He hasn't been anywhere near perfect and he hasn't done much leading based on principles. There have been missteps too numerous to count - even yesterday the State dept and WH were sending mixed messages. You seem to acknowledge that Obama made/makes his decisions based on probable outcomes - that's not leadership and doesn't reflect a faith in any principles.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 10, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if anyone wants to or maybe you already are, but here's a link for AJE live stream. They're saying now that because Mubarak is speaking live later rather than a recorded message, do NOT count on anything. They're also saying though that the country is in control of the army.

aje.me/ajelive

Posted by: lmsinca | February 10, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Mubarack, tear down this pyramid moment maybe?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 10, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"Mubarak is speaking live later rather than a recorded message, do NOT count on anything. They're also saying though that the country is in control of the army."

Agreed. I think things are still very precarious.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt (85%) consider Islamic influence over political life to be a positive thing for their country"

Which begs the question..if we took a similar survey here what % of folks would say a Christian influence over political life in the U.S. is a good thing? Perhaps not as high as 85%, but when asked in such innocuous fashion I suspect the answer would blow through the 50% mark.

Their nation is predominately Muslim.
Our nation is predominately Christian.
I fail to understand why given all the religiosity in our public arena..a President who feels the need time and again to declare his Christian bona fides, we seem surprised to find the exact same thing in another society. Oh I get it...they're Muslims..they're different..they're not like us.

If the situation in Egypt involved the Christian brotherhood and they were clamoring for a Constitution based on Biblical precepts, ala Mike Huckabee a leading candidate in one of OUR political parties, would we still be having this same discussion?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Mubarack, tear down this pyramid moment maybe?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 10, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but tuned to the circumstances. This is more complex. But Obama CAN do it. At least he could before he was elected.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Great comment! Bullseye! And I would LOVE for someone in MSM to ask some of the GOPers about that.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Gotta run.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"One-in-five Muslims in Egypt offer support for suicide bombing in defense of Islam

http://pewglobal.org/2010/12/02/muslims-around-the-world-divided-on-hamas-and-hezbollah/

This is why it is important that there be a significant period of time to develop political parties and so on before free elections are held in Egypt."

Yes, good thinking. And the American colonies, which practiced slavery, should have remained under the rule of King George for a significant period of time to develop political parties before holding free elections.

Posted by: mmyotis | February 10, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The media's (including the Plum Line) obsession with "the Muslim Brotherhood" paradigm is like the media's obsession with Sarah Palin: both irrelevant. Move on!

Posted by: dozas | February 10, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

You think Reagan would have said his tear down this wall speech if he thought Gorbachev was going to crack down hard and start rounding up and executing anyone who didn't pledge allegiance to mother Russia in East Germany?

Doubt it. The wheels were already churning before Reagans speech.

The diff between the fall of soviet control and the Mubarack control is the speed at which events in Egypt have occured.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 10, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Kevin: "s there a justification of support for dictators or despots? I agree with you that we should not be supporting, or justifying support for, totalitarian governments. I don't consider totalitarian regimes legitimate, or entitled to respected sovereignty."

Let's not fool ourselves. There are two reasons we have supported despots and dictators in the ME, in order of importance to us:

1. Oil
2. Israel

If what you say you believe ideologically is earnest, then support for domestic renewable energy sources and getting our economy off oil should be a huge concern.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 10, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who relies on Hoft for news needs their head examined. Sorry but that guy is a complete idiot.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 10, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The other difference, mike, is that the citizens of Eastern Europe had far more respect for the United States. They did not perceive that they had been under dictatorial control because of us.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 10, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

@Adam - your final graph above is a thing of beauty

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: "If the situation in Egypt involved the Christian brotherhood and they were clamoring for a Constitution based on Biblical precepts... would we still be having this same discussion?"

If the Christian brotherhood supported known terrorist organizations, favored stoning, whippings and cutting off of hands, supported the death penalty for those who leave the Christian religion, had a positive positive opinion of bin Laden al qaeda, and offered support for suicide bombing in defense of Christianity then...

YES, yes I suppose we would be having the same conversation.

The point is not that Egyptians can choose what they wish, or that Christian radicals are radicals.

Adam's point was that "the argument that a transition to democracy in Egypt will lead to an Islamist takeover doesn't seem to hold much water."

If you look at some of the views held by Muslims in Egypt - it does not appear to be so cut and dried. That's not to say that Egyptians cannot freely to choose to live in a way that I consider backwards and, in some respects, abhorrent.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 10, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"One-in-five Muslims in Egypt offer support for suicide bombing in defense of Islam"

I wonder how many right-wingers offer support for the guy who murdered Dr. George Tiller. I'd bet it's way more than one-in-five.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 10, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"But a new poll of Egyptians suggests that paranoid conspiracy theories predicting that protests in Egypt are the first step to establishing a new caliphate across the Middle East are as crazy as they sound."

This is a real tribute to objective journalism: " as crazy as they sound". Give me a break. Suggesting that islamists will take advantage of the situation is "crazy"? Adam, please rent a clue. It is NOT a matter of numbers. It is usually a matter of organization and poverty. When iran overthrew the shah, there were a large number of non-sectarian leaders who believed that they would build a new democratic iran. How did that work out for them?
If Egypt does have clean, Democratic elections in the fall, the islamists will be the victors.

Posted by: talis4 | February 10, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I think this piece underestimates the power of the Muslim Brotherhood. I think that what is happening now in Egypt
is very positive but to think that the MB is not a significant force is naive. They will have a very significant role in Egypt.
Mark my word. We are talking about more than 50% and for sure a gvt lead by them. Maybe it will be good for Egypt - that is another question!! Here is an interesting report from Al Jazeera. We are now seduced by the young geeks and students protesting in Cairo but the majority of poor Egyptians are very supportive of the MB.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sos27-Cns4

Posted by: commonsensepg | February 10, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"The year that the Brotherhood was founded, 1929, was the year that bloodshed erupted between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood sided with their fellow Muslims there, but Egypt's government suppressed this support. Printing anti-Jewish or anti-Zionist articles was forbidden. Police patrols were sent to protect Jewish neighborhoods in Cairo and Alexandria. Egypt's ruling elite, including King Faud, were interested in getting along with their British overlords..."

Many experts believe Egypt's status as a military dictatorship began in 1929. The military did not let the MB take over then and they are not going to now. Support for Islamists can be tied directly to the belief that they would be less corrupt than the military and intelligence services (secret police). Fortunately, the example of Iran belies that notion and Egyptians know that.

The question is not whether the MB are relevant, they are barely, the question is whether the military will allow a transition to democracy - something the US of Israel does not want.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The Giant Camel in the room, that all of our major Political Leaders, and all of our Major Media outlets, and all our Political Pundits, keep pretending not to notice.

Egypt has been ruled by the Mubarak Regime, in almost the exact same manner that The Baathist Party ruled Iraq.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 10, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"Which begs the question..if we took a similar survey here what % of folks would say a Christian influence over political life in the U.S. is a good thing?"

I guess it depends on what that influence is. When i think of "christian influence," I tend to think in very specific beliefs that are unique to that religion and not more universally shared morality concerns.

I'm bad at polls. I was called once and had more questions for the poll taker than she had for me. they haven't called back.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 10, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse


The U.S. played a strong role in trying to protect the protesters from the government, which allowed them to continue their struggle. I believe we also continuously applied pressure on their military, who wabbled for a few days but returned to standing with the people.

When these protesters said they were prepared to die, I knew they would win no matter what happened.

Posted by: Beeliever | February 10, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Liam,

What you said at 12:59pm, and further, the military dominates private industry in Egypt. They control most of the tourist industry (hotels, restaurants, etc.), manufacturing of domestic goods, food processing, etc. Some estimates range has high as 40% control of the economy. They are not going to just walk away from that and let the MB take over.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 10, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Here's another interesting update.

""UPDATE 12:50 EST – From Egyptian Chronicles, Zeinobia reports what Egyptians are hearing:

Statement no.1 : Army respects the people and will do its best to protect it .. etc.
More statements to come and people are going crazy from happiness…
Rumors circulating that Mubarak has left the country, places of destinations are Dubai and Jordan.There are rumors that Cairo international airport is being evacuated to let Mubarak leave now. Another rumor that that he is being detained at a military airport.

We misinterpreted the movement of the army in Cairo last night when huge forces moved to the Presidential palace in Orooba and the ETRU building , these were clear signs but we did not understand, nobody understood this because of the neutral position of the army !!

We are being ruled now by that army council which is in permanent meeting status.

Al jazeera claims that the army intervened when Mubarak was going to transfer some of his powers to Soliman, in fact this was what Mubarak was going to announce allegedly tonight. Already now we are hearing that officers tried to killed Soliman in that assassination attempt.

More people are saying that the man who is going to be our transitional president is General Sami Anan.""

Posted by: lmsinca | February 10, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The U.S. played a huge role in trying to protect the protesters from the government, which allowed them to continue their struggle. I believe we also continuously applied pressure on their military, who wabbled for a few days but have returned to standing with the people.

Posted by: Beeliever | February 10, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

[Liam drooled: "Egypt has been ruled by the Mubarak Regime, in almost the exact same way that The Baathist Party ruled Iraq."]

Hyperbolic rubbish. Of the 22 legitimate casus belli cited by Congress against Saddam, Mubarak has NEVER been accused of anything so egregious.

Saddam did try to kill a former American president; the U.N. embargo was violated (as were its inspection protocols); the 1991 accords were ignored; the genocide of brave Kurds did happen; suicide bombers were being given bounties; terrorists (including those involved into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) were given sanctuary by Saddam; and on and on.
http://www.husseinandterror.com/

Our Egyptian ally, President Mubarak, is no angel-- but neither are Egypt's National Democratic Party moral equivalent to the Iraq's Ba'athist regime.

*hyperbole on stilts+*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 10, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

This is just plain funny.

Mr Serwer has a poll that supports his contention. He's fine.

He had a poll that supported his DADT contention, that ended the debate for him.

he has a poll that supports his contentions about Obamacare, no further debate is necessary for him.

No doubt he has a poll about "global warming" that proves to him that the science is settled.

Now he has a poll that supports his Egyptian wishful thinking so the debate is over for him.

It must be nice to be so easily persuaded. I'm not and I don't think that most intelligent people are.

Polls might be interesting but they are no substitute for "boots" on the ground. The islamists will have enormous influence in Egypt for a variety of reasons. Among them:
Islam is a very powerful force in Middle Eastern society. It just is.

The Islamists have a track record of siezing opportunity.

The Islamists are there, on the ground.

The Islamists have no compunctions about doing whatever they deem necessary to achieve their goal: which is the world wide spread of their faith.

Don't believe me? Iran is run by alleged Muslim "holy men" and they are now hanging several "dissidents" a week in the aftermath of the aborted uprising there. Killing in the name of Allah is just what muslims do.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 10, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

15 mins ago

CAIRO – State TV says Egypt's information minister has denied that President Hosni Mubarak will step down.

The comment by Anas el-Fiqqi, in a written scroll on state television, comes ahead of an address by Mubarak to the nation

Posted by: Liam-still | February 10, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The Giant Camel in the room, that all of our major Political Leaders, and all of our Major Media outlets, and all our Political Pundits, keep pretending not to notice.

Egypt has been ruled by the Mubarak Regime, in almost the exact same way that The Baathist Party ruled Iraq.

Of course The Reagan White House also treated Saddam Hussein as a great friend of the USA, back when we wanted him to fight Iran, for us.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 10, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

O/T While we wait for Mubarak to speak, any thoughts on this:

Asked what most viewers and observers of Fox News would be surprised to learn about the controversial cable channel, a former insider from the world of Rupert Murdoch was quick with a response: “I don’t think people would believe it’s as concocted as it is; that stuff is just made up.”

Indeed, a former Fox News employee who recently agreed to talk with Media Matters confirmed what critics have been saying for years about Murdoch’s cable channel. Namely, that Fox News is run as a purely partisan operation, virtually every news story is actively spun by the staff, its primary goal is to prop up Republicans and knock down Democrats, and that staffers at Fox News routinely operate without the slightest regard for fairness or fact checking.

“It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats,” says the source. “They’re a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news.”

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201102100007

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 10, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Which is why I prefer to refer to it as; The Faux News Channel.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 10, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

pragmaticagain:

I really hope Wikileaks get ahold of Fox's internal documents. I'll bet they are fascinating.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it remarkable how the Egyptian People have conducted themselves with such dignity and restraint? Jesus would be proud, so would Gandhi and MLK, Jr. For that matter, I imagine Muhammed is pleased as well.

Fingers crossed things don't go haywire.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

WickiLeaks has massive problems of it's own now.

WikiLeaks crippled by ex-associates,

"LONDON (Reuters) - WikiLeaks's ability to receive new leaks has been crippled after a disaffected programer unplugged a component which guaranteed anonymity to would-be leakers, activists and journalists who have worked with the site say.

Details of the breakdown are contained in a book by estranged Assange collaborator Daniel Domscheit-Berg which is due to be published on Friday, a source familiar with the contents of the book told Reuters.

Neither Wikileaks's embattled Australian founder, Julian Assange, nor members of his entourage responded to an e-mailed request from Reuters for comment but a WikiLeaks spokesman confirmed the website's submission system was being overhauled.

Domscheit-Berg also took a backlog of leaks sent to the WikiLeaks website with him when he left, the source familiar with the contents of "Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website," said.

In a statement issued to the Forbes website on Wednesday, Kristinn Hrafnsson, a WikiLeaks spokesman, said the website was suing Domscheit-Berg, who with Assange served until late last year as one of WikiLeaks's two principal spokesmen.

"In (his) book Domscheit-Berg confesses to various acts of sabotage against the organization. The former WikiLeaks staffer admits to having damaged the site's primary submission system and stolen material," Hrafnsson's statement said.

"The sabotage and concern over motives led to an overhaul of the entire submission system, an ongoing project that is not being expedited due to its complex nature and the organizations need to focus its resources on publication and defense," Hrafnsson added.

CRIPPLED FOR MONTHS

The activists and journalists who have worked with WikiLeaks and Assange, who faces a sexual misconduct investigation in Sweden, say the website's ability to receive new leaks of data has been crippled, if not totally disabled, for months.

Domscheit-Berg recently announced that he was creating a WikiLeaks spinoff or rival called OpenLeaks.org with support from a former WikiLeaks programer, believed to be a German, whose programing skills are more dazzling than Assange's.

Precisely how much material sent in to WikiLeaks is now under the control of Domscheit-Berg and the programer, known only as "The Architect," is unclear."

Posted by: Liam-still | February 10, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

MikefromArlington -

I'm almost always going to take the side of the people in the street. I love underdogs and I love popular uprisings. But I can see why someone in a leadership role would be more cautious. If you had to put money on it two weeks ago, would you have said that Mubarak was going to be out? And if you alienate Mubarak (and by extension, Israel), you really hurt your standing in the 1980-2010 Middle East. It'll be interesting to see what the Middle East of 2011-?? is like.

Posted by: willows1 | February 10, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Hosni is not gone yet. To steal a line from Letterman: "He might just be pulling a Leno", and he might just announce that he will be a participant in next year's Dancing With The Stars.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 10, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Great article in Foreign Affairs:

"U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has no control over these events. But we are now more than two weeks into the popular upheaval; Washington should have understood far earlier that it will be disastrous if the new era begins without the clear perception that the United States is on the side of the Egyptian people. This is not the time for talking about an orderly transfer of power. That sends the wrong message to the democrats in the street — who by all accounts have acted orderly. They know from personal experience, and we can all see it on CNN and Al Jazeera, that it is only the regime's goons who have introduced disorder and violence into the uprising.

It is also certainly a major blunder for the administration to have signaled even its tepid support for Omar Suleiman, Mubarak's intelligence chief. Just the other day, newly appointed Vice President Suleiman had the gall to say that Egyptians did not yet have a "culture of democracy." Perhaps that's not altogether surprising from a secret police chief who is deeply complicit with America's renditions. Mamdouh Habib, an Egyptian-born Australian citizen who was detained by Pakistani security forces in October 2001 and subsequently flown by the CIA to Egypt, claims in his 2009 memoir My Story: The Tale of a Terrorist Who Wasn't that Suleiman personally took part in his torture-interrogation.

How the Obama administration could hitch its fortunes to such a man, even briefly, is inexplicable. Perhaps the administration hesitates to wholly embrace the populist tsunami out of fear that Mubarak's fall signals the end of the Camp David regime, which has kept the peace between Egypt and Israel for 30 years.

But a democratic Egypt could in the long run deliver to Israel something much better than Camp David's moribund cold peace."

Read the rest:

http://www.npr.org/2011/02/10/133655412/foreign-policy-the-egypt-revolt-is-good-for-israel

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I hope Mubarak steps down, announces a transitional civilian government formed by people outside the Mubarak Regime, and then announces a national election day a year or less in the future. I also hope that the WH is attempting to facilitate those objects.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that npr piece wbgonne. I actually had the same thought this morning regarding Israel, that this might just force them into a more conciliatory tone. Like you my fingers are crossed for the people and I hope Obama understands the people do not want Suleiman, and they will keep protesting if he is forced upon them. As I said earlier in the week, we are not calling the shots here, the people are. Are you watching AJ English?

Posted by: lmsinca | February 10, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Israel will have a hard time, changing how they handle their occupation of The West Bank.

The Israeli government has been catering to their own Religious Extremists, because that is what those Settlers in The West Bank Territory truly are.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 10, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"Are you watching AJ English?"

Yup. And thinking about dumping cable and getting AppleTV instead.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I would dump cable in a skinny minute, but my husband would be bereft. He loves clicking around at night and watching all sorts of goofy stuff. He works really hard all day, so I don't begrudge him his entertainment. I'm usually either at my computer, reading or sewing if I'm not in the pool or the garden.

I'm rambling because I feel nervous about the Mubarak speech I guess.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 10, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Uh-oh. There is going to be bloodshed.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Now what does Obama do?

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Well that didn't go very well did it? The people will be back in the streets tomorrow as long as he stays entrenched. I wonder if the army will do something?

Posted by: lmsinca | February 10, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Nothing ever goes right in the ME. The place is cursed.

Oy.

O&O.

(Tough life there in Cali, huh?)

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

[wbgonne fawned: "Jesus would be proud, so would Gandhi and MLK, Jr. For that matter, *I imagine* Muhammed is pleased as well... Uh-oh. There is going to be bloodshed."]

... "proud"? "pleased"?

Muslim Brotherhood assassins attempted to assasinate VP Suleiman on Saturday.

And Leftists now imagine that Mo is displeased?

*delusional*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

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