Egypt is ablaze. Hundreds of thousands protested in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday, but for fear of an Islamist regime the US now risks being remembered as a democracy that abandons democrats. After generations in opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood now wants to play a part in Egypt’s future, giving a rare chance to strike a deal for their compromises and democratic involvement.
To this day we are paying the price for ignoring ordinary Iranians and siding with the Shah in 1979. Then, secular democrats triggered a revolution only to be brushed aside by fundamentalists. Today, ordinary Egyptians lead demonstrations but the Brotherhood waits in the background; an indispensable force in national life.
With a network running through trade unions, mosques, businesses and universities, the organisation is hugely influential. Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei has already formed a loose alliance, and for sound reasons. Last September, of the million signatures petitioning for change under Mr ElBaradei’s leadership, the Brotherhood collected 800,000
Both the US and the Brotherhood will try to use ElBaradei for their own purposes.. at the moment the Brotherhood is sitting in the pound seats