Stratfail

Stratfor's George Friedman has a rather breathless analysis of the implications of the Alexandria church bombing that sees it as some kind of precursor to an Islamic state in Egypt. That's quite a ridiculous jump to make when many other countries are experiencing terrorist attacks, and implicitly it assumes that a terrorist attack is a sign of a resurgent Islamist movement — as if the bulk of non-violent Islamist movements even support such an attack.

Let’s consider for a moment what an Islamist Egypt would mean. The Mediterranean, which has been a strategically quiet region, would come to life. The United States would have to reshape its strategy, and Israel would have to refocus its strategic policy. Turkey’s renaissance would have to take seriously a new Islamic power in the Mediterranean. Most important, an Islamist Egypt would give dramatic impetus to radical Islam throughout the Arab world. One of the linchpins of American and European policy in the region would be gone in a crucial part of the world. The transformation of Egypt into an Islamist country would be the single most significant event we could imagine in the Islamic world, beyond an Iranian bomb.

Well, that may well be true, but that "what if" is a pretty huge one. And concluding sentence is a masterpiece of mealy-mouthiness that doesn't say much:

At this point, however, anything out of the ordinary in Egypt must be taken seriously, if for no other reason than because this is Egypt, Egypt matters more than most countries, and Egypt is changing.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.