Barry Rubin: Naïveté on Egypt Is Dangerous

Historians in the News

It’s been a few days, so I’ve checked in again with Barry Rubin, who last time we spoke threw some cold water on early optimism about events in Egypt. Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, and author of books including The Muslim Brotherhood: The Organization and Policies of a Global Islamist Movement.

Kathryn Jean Lopez: What do you make of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s statement yesterday?

Barry Rubin: The regime has agreed on a plan. Parliament will dissolve, a commission will meet to draft a new constitution, then there will be parliamentary elections, and finally presidential elections. Mubarak will save face and finish his term in September.

Presumably, the army and elite agreed on this for a peaceful transition in which they hope that only Mubarak’s head will roll, so to speak. It is interesting to think about how the constitutional commission will be organized — presumably they would want to ensure that regime and elite representatives would be on it.

Lopez: Can he hold on until September?

Rubin: On the one hand, by withholding the army and avoiding a lot of repression, the regime has already signaled to the opposition that it has won and that the Mubarak regime has no chance. On top of this add the Obama administration’s position. So the regime has no cards left....

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