As protests continue in Cairo today, long-time Pentagon intelligence analyst John McCreary — now out of government and writing the well-read NightWatch blog — is eyeing events there with growing concern:
Despite a US statement that the government of Egypt is stable, the demonstrations show that it has suppressed a large undercurrent of potentially incendiary opposition, whose capabilities are not known. Sclerotic regimes like those of Mubarak never know the depth or expanse of their real opposition because they are so busy suppressing it.
This creates the condition for a field-grade officers’ coup to install a reformist government, which Egypt has experienced whenever a government has overstayed its welcome…
If the Mubarak government in Egypt is replaced by a revolutionary, anti-US fundamentalist regime, citing the Tunisian example in the name of democracy, all US policy in the Middle East since 1973 becomes unhinged. The overthrow of the Shah of Iran will look like inconvenient by comparison.