In Human Events this morning, I discuss the looming succession crisis in Egypt:
The Islamic supremacist group known as the Muslim Brotherhood, which is dedicated–according to a captured internal document–to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within,” has its best chance in years to take power in Egypt, with implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has terminal stomach cancer, and is not expected to survive beyond another year. Mubarak has anointed his son Gamal as his successor; however, the Brotherhood, from which sprang both Hamas and al Qaeda, could attempt to seize power upon the elder Mubarak’s death, and is maneuvering now to ensure that once Hosni Mubarak is gone from the scene, the Muslim Brothers will be more powerful than ever.
The Brotherhood is banned in Egypt, but often runs candidates in Egyptian elections as independents. In this way it won one-fifth of the seats in the 2005 parliamentary elections. Since the days of President Gamel Abdel Nasser (1956-1970), the Egyptian government has looked the other way as the group terrorized Coptic Christians and enforced Islamic strictures upon the Egyptian populace, but cracked down when the Brotherhood showed signs of growing powerful enough actually to seize the reins of the Egyptian government.
Shortly before he was assassinated, Nasser’s successor Anwar Sadat released all the Brotherhood political prisoners who had been languishing in Egyptian prisons, and even promised the Brotherhood that Islamic law would be fully implemented in Egypt.
The Islamization of Egypt has been proceeding steadily for decades. The Brotherhood’s societal and cultural influence has long outstripped its direct political reach, and shows no sign of abating. Nonetheless, nearly 30 years after Sadat’s promise, the Brotherhood is still pressing for that full implementation of sharia law.