Is Egypt on the brink of a Revolution?

Recent events in Egypt have included food riots, political unrest, and troubles with Palestinians on their borders. But does it all add up to a possible revolution?

James R. Bradley, a British journalist and author of a new book on the revolution brewing in Egypt was interveiwed by's managing editor Jamie Glazov and talks about the current unrest in an historical context:

FP: Yes, your book is extremely timely. Egypt is presently witnessing an endless series of strikes, demonstrations and riots. What is the cause? And what are the chances of them leading to serious instability?

Bradley: There are many causes: extreme poverty, endemic torture, rampant corruption, political oppression, the complete evisceration of the middle class, the theft of the country's vast wealth by the fat cats under the guise of privatization and opening up the economy to foreign investment. Then there's the ideologically bankrupt regime itself that has absolutely no interest in solving any of these problems -- indeed, which is the root cause of them all.

There's no indication that the latest wave of strikes and riots will in and of itself topple the Mubarak regime. There are 1.4 million members of the Egyptian security forces, and their brutality in stifling dissent is legendary. As I write in my book, these thugs even beat, rape, and murder little boys for allegedly stealing packets of tea, apparently just for fun of it, so they can be completely relied upon to beat protestors in the street to a pulp.

My sense is that, rather than through organized opposition, an unpredictable event in the near future may act as a spark that will set the whole country ablaze. An uprising could also be triggered by an announcement that the president's son, Gamal Mubarak, will himself stand for president, as is widely anticipated. Opposition to Gamal inheriting the reins of power is the one thing that unites all the Egyptian opposition groups: secularists, leftists, Islamists, Christians and Muslims, and the mass of the population not actively involved in politics but fed up with being ruled by this bunch of ignoramuses.

Bradley says that the next 18 months will be critical. He warns that if things get really bad, a military coup is likely in order to head off a possible takeover by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.

Bradley pulls no punches in this outstanding interview.
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