Egypt under Mubarak was a tightly-controlled kleptocracy, and Egypt since Mubarak has been an uncontrolled kleptocracy, in which public officials steal whatever isn’t tied down. Shiploads of rice, diesel fuel, and other tradables are leaving Egyptian ports for hard-currency markets, while the country–which imports half its caloric consumption–runs out of money. Mubarak’s elite has helicopters revving on their roofs. It’s no surprise Islamists swept this week’s parliamentary elections. Whom do we expect Egyptians to vote for?
Secular corruption has been one of the driving forces behind the success of radical Islamism for 40 years or longer. Arafat’s sticky fingers (he started out as a nationalist, not an Islamist) probably did more to advance the cause of even-more radical groups than anything else.