The third way in Egypt

have given the Muslim Brotherhood space to organize itself and manifest its religious pronouncements to the young as the only viable opposition against the Egyptian autocratic regime.

In its policy decisions with respect to the uprising in Egypt, the Obama administration must take into account these two pivotal issues—dealing with governmental autocracy in Egypt and containing Egypt’s rampant institutional corruption.

As one who lived through the 1979 Iranian revolution, let me suggest several policy options that might guide U.S. policy.

1. Establish an interim government in Egypt

Egypt has a highly professional army, and unlike the much feared Egyptian security organization (Mokhaberat), the Egyptian army is professional and well-liked by the overwhelming majority of the Egyptian people. At present, the Egyptian army is the only major governmental institution that enjoys the public credibility, and has the competence to intervene during this critical historical period.


In terms of its discipline, the Muslim Brotherhood is similar to Egyptian army but not in its popularity. It is important to note that the Muslim Brotherhood has historically identified itself in religious and communal rather than nationalist or patriotic terms. As Bernard Lewis, the learned historian of the Middle East, has observed, religious identity and loyalty in the Middle East are still “deeply felt and they found expression in several religious movements, notably Muslim Brotherhood.” The core doctrine of the Muslim Brotherhood, like all militant Islamic movements, is fundamentally anti-national — it is transnational, rather than limited to a particular state.

For al Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood, territorial and national issues are secondary to radical Islamic ideology. Like communism in the mid-twentieth century, a dogma falsely presented as Islamic Rule, whether that of the Taliban in Afghanistan or elsewhere, is more akin to a parasitic movement occupying a convenient host rather than being of that nation.

Knowledge about the background of the Muslim Brotherhood should help the Obama administration to support an orderly exit strategy for Mubarak – because every day that Mubarak remains pand the nature of an interim government and transition remains unsure, the more powerful the Muslim Brotherhood becomes.

There is good reason to believe that Mubarak’s departure on 11 February was in the vital interest of the United States in the region. The regime of Mubarak had lost its credibility and – even if it wanted to – could no longer be helpful to U.S. policy in the region. More troubling was the anti-Western sentiment which was