The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

After Pharaoh


Mural of Hosni Mubarak in Assiut

I am snowed under with deadlines, so just a quick note on a new article on presidential succession in Egypt in Foreign Policy:

Of all the crises that threaten to shake Barack Obama's presidency, few are more volatile than the ticking time bomb in Egypt, especially terrifying for the very reason that no one knows when it might explode. Hosni Mubarak, the 81-year-old former Air Force marshal who has ruled Egypt as a police state since 1981, might leave office sooner than anyone is expecting, opening a power vacuum that could send this U.S. ally, its 83 million citizens, and the regional political order spiraling into a fragile and potentially paralyzing tailspin.

Or he might not. Mubarak might well linger on for a few more years. Either way, the time bomb will be looming over Egypt for the foreseeable future, and Obama's fortunes in the Middle East will be determined in large part by whether this bomb explodes or gets detonated gently.

This was part of a special on potential crises Obama might face in 2010 -- hence the slightly breathless tone.