IMHO, the best of all possibilities for North Africa and the Middle East is to transition to modern non-sectarian democratic government from autocratic dictatorships.
And many countries have made that switch. Egypt, Tunisia, et al, have many examples they can learn from to make that transition as peaceful as possible.
My question for this thread is what roadmap do you think would work best?
I think the best one may have been Spain’s transition - hold a general election for a constitutional convention, keep the army in the loop, but with clear instructions to stand on the sidelines, and allow people to form any political party they wish.
For Spain, the big question was whether to legalize the Communist party, for Egypt, it is the Muslim Brotherhood. I think Spain made the right choice. By legitimizing the Communists, they also made them compete in the public square, instead of building a clandestine organization. I think a similar method would work for the Muslim Brotherhood.
The biggest fear I keep hearing, but have yet to see any evidence for, is that the Brotherhood would sweep the elections and overturn any constitution to create an Islamic state - well, if that is the democratic will of the Egyptian polis, then so be it. But I give it very low odds of occurring.
It is possible they establish the first government and pass legislation to encourage their views, such as the Socialists did in Spain. Such is their right of office. Europe has several Christian Democratic parties and other groups even more dominated by religious beliefs. The goal should not to be to create a secular government with no religious influence, but at minimum a non-sectarian government where no sect can ban any other sect, and allow their representatives to battle it out on the parliament floor.
The big question for Egypt is whether they have a capable leader who can manage the transition process. Spain had that capacity with Adolfo Suárez who had the backing of Juan Carlos. I don’t know if Omar Suleiman is able or willing to be that leader for Egypt. El Baradei or may be an option. Former Foreign Minister Amre Moussa has also been mentioned as a possible transition leader.
So any thoughts on the best way forward for our Egyptian neighbors and others?
Does another country provide a better example? Turkey? Hungary?