You’re a Vegas bookie and you want to accept bets on the outcome of the Egyptian regimes result in two years (no one is interested in interim governments or other waffling bullshit). Based on what you know this minute what are your odds and why?
10% - Egypt forms an open Democracy - Seemingly the wet dream of Western Democracies. If legitimately elected, inherently the leader of the most populous Middle Eastern nation will be judged by how it snubs the West thereby defining itself. If this happens I hope they do and I hope we politely ‘take it’ on the chin. 5% - Egypt maintains the status quo with Mubarak - As the worlds 10th largest the military will stand by Mubarak and the protests will die down on their own or the incredibly unlikely scenario of him commanding them to crack down and it works. 25% - Egypt maintains the status quo without Mubarak - Omar Suleiman will be offered as a replacement and it will be 'the same shit different day 'for the Egyptian people. While the protesters demand regime change the overall consensus will be that dramatic institutional change is impossible and they’ll content themselves with baby steps. 20% Some kind of bastardized Power Sharing deal - Coalition governments collapse in frustration and accept a communal solution begrudgingly, a la Ivory Coast or Zimbabwe. 10% - An autocratic regime (without military support) takes over - The military, while powerful, is not the only crown maker in town. 30% - An Islamic Republic is established in Egypt - Egypt is a modern secular government controlled by a militaristic dictator with close ties to the US…like 1978’s Iran.
30% After a period of short-lived regimes (military, etc.) another US-backed stooge is installed because the US finds Egypt just way to critical to let them be free. This time he learns to be a bit more responsive to his people, but overall not much changes because foreign-backing always creates circumstances where oppression and corruption thrive. Eventually the whole thing will blow up again.
30% After a period of short-lived regimes (military, etc.) a democracy begins to form. It probably won’t exactly resemble American democracy- it will be more about coalitions. It will probably have some small degree of religious character, but won’t be Taliban-style oppressive. Eventually Egypt will modernize on it’s own terms, in it’s own uniquely Egyptian way. It won’t be an easy or smooth path, but things will eventually get better.
20% the international community works together to ensure a democratic transition, and uses every tool they have to make sure something acceptable is negotiated. Once installed, it will work for a few years, but then may become unstable. Then it will undergo a critical challenge. Ultimately the change will have to come from the people themselves.
10% The US just directly installs a puppet. Anti-western sentiment increases. Should that puppet be overthrown, then we will be looking at a lot more hostility than exists now. Stuff gets ugly.
10% Egypt is plunged into an endless cycle of coups, military takeovers, etc. and doesn’t find any stability until there is a massive change in geopolitics that we can’t foresee right now.
I really don’t think there is any chance of a Taliban style takeover. Egypt is overall a pretty hip and cosmopolitan place. I think most of the religious fundamentalism there is more reactionary (as it represents the strongest way of expressing some quite legit beefs with the west) as anything else. Should the Egyptians find self-determination, the extremist element would quickly become irrelevant.
The military will force a stable transition. I’d go with that majority view with much better odds. I see Mubarak leaving within the week. Sulieman as an interim President with ElBaradei’s public endorsement but with power sharing and promises for a fall election. I have also heard speculation that much of Parlament could be replaced as part of the deal pending the Fall election.
Much less than 25% that Sulieman stays in past the interim period if ElBaradei wants the job, even if he runs. I’d guess he instead throws support behind ElBaradei in return for a position in the new government. The MB is at least currently coming off as a pragmatic group - they want to be able to run for seats and have influence but not be responsible for running the whole show. They’d be happy with the “Islamic tinge.”