More often than not, choice in Middle Eastern politics ranges from the bad to the worse. Iranians know this better than anyone; the Shah was bad, but Khomeini was worse.
This rule applies to Egypt as well. Mubarak is bad. He may have modernized Egyptian society, but he never attempted to liberalize the political system.
But those who will replace Mubarak will be worse. While the soft-spoken and mild-mannered ElBaradei, the Alexander Kerensky or Mehdi Bazargan of the Egyptian revolution, speaks of democracy on BBC World, the Stalins and Khomeinis of Egypt sharpen their knives and bide their time to stab ElBaradei in the back.
There are those who believe the Egyptian army can keep the Stalins and Khomeinis in check. Just get rid of Mubarak, they argue, and the army can secure a peaceful transition to democracy. Nothing could be more wrong.
Fearing a military coup against his rule, Mubarak has nurtured a culture of fierce competition among the generals who report directly to him rather than to their superiors within the hierarchy. When Mubarak, the top of the pyramid, is removed, the entire command-and-control structure of the Egyptian army will collapse.
What we see now is the cloudiness before the storm.
— Ali Alfoneh is a resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute.