The Tatler just got off a call direct from Cairo with a “Source Very Close to the Egyptian Demonstrations.” The source talked a mile a minute, but The Tatler gleaned the following (with the usual caveats, it being single source):
The situation is balkanized and highly dangerous and may not calm down, even in six months. The source him or herself had been in physical danger and been shot at. Business is at a standstill and the demonstrators are being blamed. On the good side, Christians have been demonstrating along with Muslims in Tahrir Square. This is previously unheard of in Egypt. Meanwhile, Amr Moussa — the Arab League Secretary-General and front runner for the Egyptian presidency — is disliked by the more democracy-oriented of the demonstrators because they fear Moussa will take Egypt through five years of Israel obsession just to get himself elected. Nevertheless, the demonstrators themselves seem not to be able to shake their Israel obsession either. The source warned that, although another war was off the table, whatever Egyptian government came in would want three concessions from Israel: 1. Opening of the Rafah Crossing into Gaza. (The source said this would help Israel, but The Tatler is rather unconvinced.) 2. Remilitarization of the Sinai by the Egyptian Army. 3. A rise to “market level” in the natural gas price Egypt charges Israel.
The Tatler observed the source may have been a tad ambivalent about some of these but, given the current level of Israel hatred in Egypt, if you don’t give them something, you get nothing. It’s rather like, The Tatler thinks, bashing Sarah Palin at a Hollywood script meeting. You don’t get to pitch your story unless you do some.
Regarding the Muslim Brotherhood the source says there is a split between the old guard (the leadership) and the young Muslim Brotherhood demonstrating in Tahrir Square. The old guard originally didn’t want the young guard to participate, but the young guard has gone ahead anyway, pulling the old guard behind it. In Egypt, the source continued, there are strange alliances between the Muslim Brotherhood at the leadership level and internal security forces. Some of the documents “liberated” from the internal security building point to a collusion between the two forces in recent terror acts against churches as well as the bombings in Sharm El-Sheik some years ago.
But, the source insists, the majority of the massive crowd in Tahrir Square a couple of weeks ago listening to the Islamist al-Qawadari were not supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, but normal Egyptians celebrating their new-found freedoms, such as they are. On verra, as the French say. Or is it, we report, you decide? In any case, perhaps our Egyptian friend will call again with more.