For everyone who thought the Islamic revolution in Iran 31 years ago was intolerable, consider this unpleasant scenario. What if something along the same lines unfolded in another country in the Middle East? Everyone who isn't a devout Muslim--i.e. most rational thinking humans--know how disastrous Iran's piously Islamic regime has been, not only for their own people, but for the peace of the surrounding region, if not the world.
The same situation may be shaping up again, this time in the heart of the Arabic world, a country at a sensitive geopolitical flashpoint and at the heart of Sunni Arab culture. And that country is Egypt.
Think this situation is far fetched? Consider some unsettling facts which could be converging into a point in the near--perhaps the very near--future.
Consider that Egypt is run by a dictatorship, currently headed by a doddering 82 year old Hosni Mubarak, who assumed power almost 30 years ago himself following the assassination of his predecessor. His tyrannical government is utterly despised and discredited by its own people, and dares not run free elections in fear of the utter shellacking they would receive at the hands of the voters. Over the course of several decades, Mubarak and his people have managed to turn Egypt into a cultural, technological and social backwater. They have done this by consistently demonstrating levels of incompetence and corruption which stagger the imagination. With all of these factors, Mubarak is looking rather like Iran's Shah was in the late 1970s. The only thing keeping this more-or-less secular dictatorship in power is a somewhat effective secret police force, and an opposition movement that is still not quite organized. Yet.
And what is this organized Egyptian opposition movement, that finds fervent support in every mosque and back alley in a sweltering, festering Cairo? It's none other than the Muslim Brotherhood, the granddaddy of all active jihadist movements, including Al Qaeda. The Brotherhood was itself ultimately responsible for murdering Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, the man who dared to make peace with the hated Jews. Their popularity in Egypt at the grassroots level, as well as the entire 'Arab Street', is unparalleled. And make no mistake--the Muslim Brotherhood is no friend of non Muslims, especially the hated 'Great Satan'. The Brotherhood, in accordance with the teachings of their 'prophet', recently declared war on Israel, the US, and the West in general:
This is the movement that is poised to storm into power, should Mubarak's government collapse either by accident or by design.
A Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt would present a strategic nightmare for the United States and promptly put next-door Israel into an intolerable strategic dilemma. A hugely vital waterway, the Suez Canal, would fall into the hands of the Salafists, as would billions of dollars of American weaponry, including hundreds of F-16 aircraft and M-1 battle tanks. More importantly than this, the fall of Mubarak's government, replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood, would galvanize and drum up support for devout Muslim movements everywhere and set back U.S. interests at every level. War would be more likely for the region, and not less.
But most important of all, the causes of freedom and rationality would be set back generations, drowned out in an Islamic cacophony of bloodlust and violence. Another generation would be sacrificed, and lost. For nothing.
If there was ever a time for prayer, this is the time. Thanks to feckless, spineless and shortsighted leaders, prayer is about the only option we have left.