Islam is on the march in the Middle East. This is indisputable. For the past few years, in every Mideast election, the Islamic parties have won: in the Gaza Strip in 2006, in Iraq and Tunisia in 2010. In 2011, they won again in Turkey, Morocco, and Egypt where, the first parliamentary elections since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, Islamist parties have confirmed an overwhelming victory.
The new preponderance of Islamic political power in the region poses serious and genuine threats to U.S. interests. A former veteran U.S. intelligence source who lived in Cairo for years, told me that America’s main worry had centered on the possibility that Egypt at some point would experience an Islamic landslide in which the Islamics secured a majority and who would then gradually leveraged its legislative authority to divest the military of its traditional power and outlaw political opponents. If that occurred, he feared that Egypt could start linking up with similar groups in Tunisia, Syrian, Libya and Yemen which would be catastrophic.
When the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, its efforts were directed to controlling Egypt by outlawing its opposition and imposing a very strict version of Islam on what basically a secular country. This they did until they were booted from power by the Egyptian military who, in turn, outlawed the Brotherhood. It was an example of circular despotism, but at least the military was secular. Just recently, Egypt’s military scored a significant victory in the latest election aimed at setting up a new constitution, and the attempts by American pundits who claim that the triumph of strongman General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi was due to manipulations, intimidations, and bullying ignore the popular popularity of the military among the Egyptian mass. It is true that the election results were deeply skewed by the fact many of the Salafist parties abstained from it, mainly on the grounds that democracy – government by men -- is a blasphemy in Islam where men are supposed to be governed only by God.