What’s Happening in Egypt Explained – UPDATED (1 to 89)

Published on Mother Jones, by Nick Baumann, Jan. 31, 2011.

The basics: Egypt is a large, mostly Arab, mostly Muslim country. At around 80 million people, it has the largest population in the Middle East and the third-largest in Africa. Most of Egypt is in North Africa, although the part of the country that borders Israel, the Sinai peninsula, is in Asia. Its other neighbors are Sudan (to the South), Libya (to the West), and Saudi Arabia (across the Gulf of Aqaba to the East). It has been ruled by Hosni Mubarak since 1981 … //

… Why are Egyptians unhappy? They have basically no more freedom than Tunisians. Egypt is ranked 138th of 167 countries on The Economist’s Democracy index, a widely accepted measure of political freedom. That ranking puts Egypt just seven spots ahead of Tunisia. And Egyptians are significantly poorer than their cousins to the west … // 

… UPDATE 89, Sunday 7:40 p.m. EST/2:40 a.m. Monday in Cairo (Siddhartha Mahanta): Jeff Goldberg speculates: what happens if the Muslim Brotherhood comes out on top?

The Muslim Brotherhood might not end up in power; just as in Pakistan, the Islamists in Egypt represent only a minority of citizens. Which is not to say that the Brotherhood couldn’t wind up in power, but it’s too early to call the rise of the Brotherhood inevitable. If the Brothers do end up in power, then the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, which is responsible for 30 years of stability in the eastern Mediterranean, would be in mortal danger, but even if Egypt were to break relations with Israel, this does not mean that war would necessarily follow. And what is more likely is that the Egyptian Army continues to play an important and stabilizing role, and the Egyptian Army, of course, depends on the United States for much of its budget, and it does not want to lose access to American-made weapons systems, which is what might happen if Egypt were to abrogate the peace treaty. (full long long text, with many videos included).

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