What I knew is that Hosni Mubarak has been in command of Egypt since 1981, when his predecessor, Anwar Sadat was assassinated. Since then, Mubarak has been your typical dictatorial Arab strongman. Compared to other leaders in the middle east, however, Mubarak has been downright reasonable in comparison. This is evident in the fact that he continued Sadat's wish that Egypt stay peaceful with Israel, even though this is exactly the reason that Sadat was assassinated in the first place.
The bottom line is this: no matter how honorable the intentions of the protesters who have taken to the streets against a dictator who has been in charge for 30 years, if Mubarak is unseated, any democratic reforms that might be made in the immediate aftermath of this unrest will not last.
One of these democratic reforms will inevitably be to hold elections. That right there is what will sink Egypt's current role as a moderate influence in the Middle East. The current government that is under siege may be considered moderate, but the people of Egypt are not, and any election that is held is sure to reflect the extremism of the country's people.
Headquartered in Egypt is an extremist Islamic organization called the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamic group that would like to see Sharia law in place worldwide. Many Islamic organization in the United States that claim to be "moderate" can trace their beginnings to funding and organization from the Muslim Brotherhood. Additionally, public polling in Egypt indicates that the majority of that country's citizens are extreme in their Muslim views. From Barry Rubin:
In Egypt, 30 percent like Hizballah (66 percent don't). 49 percent are favorable toward Hamas (48 percent are negative); and 20 percent smile (72 percent frown) at al-Qaida. Roughly speaking, one-fifth of Egyptians applaud the most extreme Islamist terrorist group, while around one-third back revolutionary Islamists abroad. This doesn't tell us what proportion of Egyptians want an Islamist government at home, but it is an indicator.If you are wondering what this can lead to, think of the problems Israel has faced ever since Hamas was democratically elected by the extremist Palestinians in Gaza. The same thing could happen in Egypt if elections are held, and Israel could then have on their southern border what they thought they had solved with the signing of the Camp David Accords in 1978. If you think that democratic elections are wonderful and the results be damned, then you position is much like that of Jimmy Carter, who cheered on Hamas back in 2006, and whose absurd opinion was wonderfully explained by Cox and Forkum in the cartoon above.
In Egypt, 82 percent want stoning for those who commit adultery; 77 percent would like to see whippings and hands cut off for robbery; and 84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion.
Asked if they supported "modernizers" or "Islamists" only 27 percent said modernizers while 59 percent said Islamists....
Like I say, nothing good can come of this situation in Egypt.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson