By Barry Rubin
To put it simply, what has happened in Egypt is not just the undoing of the “Mubarak regime” but the undoing of the “Sadat regime,” that is, repealing the revolution Anwar al-Sadat brought to Egypt in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Sadat changed Egypt’s course from being a radical state seeking to destabilize other Arab countries, destroy Israel, and oppose U.S. interests. He deemphasized spreading revolution, made peace with Israel, and allied Egypt with the United States.
Now, with assistance from President Barack Obama, those processes have been undone. Egypt will return to the pre-Sadat era in which it will seek to support radical forces in the region, wipe Israel off the map (either through direct or indirect action), and oppose U.S. interests. Once economic disaster kicks in for Egypt the crisis will intensify. When Arab governments can’t provide cheap bread they turn to cheaper hatred and foreign adventures.
The only question is the relative proportion of radical nationalism and Islamism there will be in that mix. The mass media will discover this in September. Yet it is obvious in June.
This transformation of Egypt will be to this era what the transformation of Iran meant for the last thirty years. Inasmuch as U.S. influence had an effect, the incompetence of Jimmy Carter helped give us Islamist Iran, the incompetence and ideology of Barack Obama has helped give us radical (perhaps Islamist) Egypt.