Q.Is overthrowing Mubarak a good thing?
A.While the democratic leadership called for by international leaders including David Cameron and Barack Obama seems likely, the overthrowing of Mubarak is not that simple. As history has proved, an orderly transition is often difficult to achieve and the next Egyptian government could view the West with animosity – a real issue given its position as a major oil transporter.
Q.Who are the opposition parties and what do they think of the west?
A.The main opposition party is called the Muslim Brotherhood. It has long opposed Mubarak and, despite its militant beginnings in the 1920s, is a staunch advocate of peaceful, democratic protest. However, the Brotherhood’s succession of Mubarak is not necessarily in the best interests of the West. Its foreign policy is likely to be antagonistic, especially with the US, which is unpopular among young Egyptians.
Q.Does anybody else have a chance of succeeding mubarak?
A.The next government is far from decided, but the dice are heavily loaded in the Brotherhood’s favour. Mubarak tolerated the group because of its religious affiliations while stamping out more radical groups, meaning there is little other organised opposition. However, the group has often co-operated with other fringe groups, such as those fronted by Nobel peace prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei (below).
Q.Who is Mohamed ElBaradei and what role might he play?
A.He is a former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an inter-governmental organisation under the auspices of the United Nations. He was given the Nobel peace prize for helping ensure nuclear power is not used for military purposes. He is highly respected and could help form a government of national unity along with the Brotherhood. It is likely he would be a moderate influence in terms of foreign policy.