Max Boot thinks Washington should be a lot harder on the Egyptians. Push for more democracy, he says, and don't worry so much about unleashing a backlash from the fundamentalists:

[T]here is little evidence that Islamists are popular enough to win a free election in Egypt. They have flourished mainly because little mainstream opposition is allowed. The U.S. government should be funding the opposition, not the apparatus that represses it.We've seen in the past that threatening to cut off subsidies has helped modify Egyptian behavior. Dissident Saad Eddin Ibrahim credits U.S. pressure with helping to win his release from prison in 2003. And that involved a threat to withhold merely $130 million in supplemental aid. What might a threat to cut off $2 billion accomplish?
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/02/nudging-mubarak-max-boot-thinks.html|||2/10/2005 12:37:00 pm|||||||||