The Pharaoh Fell, But His Poisonous Legacy Lingers

(Wall Street Journal) Fouad Ajami - Two years ago, on Feb. 11, 2011, the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak stepped aside after three decades. The Muslim Brotherhood sat out the early and decisive phase of the 2011 protests in Tahrir Square. Yet the Brotherhood had no scruples about "hijacking" a revolution that was not theirs. The annals of revolutions the world over bear testimony to the truth that the rule of the moderates in times of revolutions is always undone by the ascendancy of the extremists. From afar, those with a superficial knowledge of Egypt think of it as a country willing to slip under the yoke of the Brotherhood. But Egypt is a skeptical, weary country; it wears its faith lightly, and its people have an innate suspicion of those who overdo their religious zeal. Nowadays freedom is out of fashion in American official thinking, and the tumult in Arab lands serves as an alibi for abdication. But we should know that the bargain with the Arab dictatorships brought our way the jihadists. Two products of Mubarak's Egypt were the al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and the psychopath Mohammad Atta, who led the death pilots of 9/11. It was folly and naivete to think that we really knew and could befriend the tyrants. The writer is a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

2013-02-11 00:00:00

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