The third way in Egypt

the personal representative of Ayatollah Khomeini. Later, Dr. Yazdi became the first foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Thus, in case of Iran, the indecision and equivocations of the Carter administration, the conflict between Ambassador Sullivan and General Huyser, the disagreements of the president’s National Security Council, and sheer betrayal of the confidence of the Iranian army, all resulted in not utilizing the Iranian army in an effective manner. By neutralizing Iranian army there remained no other major civic or military organization except the revolutionary crowd. Emasculating the professional army in Iran was a tragic mistake. In the wake of Carter’s waffling, General Abbas Garabagi, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, started preliminary contacts and negotiations with Mehdi Bazargan, who was later appointed by Ayatollah Khomeini as the first prime minister of the revolutionary government of Iran.

Historically, the major mistake of the U.S. government in Iran was that in the face of moderate and secular opposition, successive U.S. administrations tenaciously supported the Shah of Iran. A clear example of it was the misguided policy of the United States in a forceful overthrow of the secular and popular administration of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. To successive U.S. administrations, the Shah’s authoritarian regime gave an illusion of trust and stability, yet concealed the growing discontent. This misplaced policy encouraged the Shah further to suppress and stifle the nationalistic and secular opposition.

The case in Egypt is similar, as the Nasserite regime suppressed all rival parties – such as the pre-1952 Wafd Party – and has rigged elections and hobbled a potential secular opposition ever since.

Options available to the Obama administration

In light of the experience in Iran, the question is, how should the United States use its political leverage to help transfer of power in Egypt? Specifically, the question to be addressed is, to what extent our policy decisions in Egypt should be colored by the fear of a take over by the radical organization such as Muslim Brotherhood?


To answer this question it should be noted that, in Egypt today, like in 1979 Iran, there are two reasons that have engendered the deeply rooted hatred among the majority of the young Egyptians against their government. First, the heavy-handedness of the Mubarak regime through which he has ruled Egypt for thirty years, and second, the rampant corruption that has engulfed the government institutions for generations. Mubarak’s society of fear and governmental corruption