I asked General (ret.) Barry McCaffrey for his thoughts on the evolving situation in Egypt:
Egypt is a few steps short of a disaster. The corrupt, incompetent regime will not survive.
Most likely outcome— the Generals take charge, announce a reform government, start the process of responding to the injustice and despair of the common citizen. Then the situation staggers along for some period.
Worst outcome the Generals stand with the same gang that has looted the nation— probably minus Mubarak. Then there is a possible civil war with the soldiers in many cases siding with the people not their officers. The only organized opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood which could then possibly gain power.
Our central US foreign policy concern is the stability of the Peace Treaty with Israel. At the end of the day if required— we would go to war to prevent the annihilation of the Israelis. This would be a terrible outcome for the entire region.
And— oh by the way—there is the matter of the Suez Canal and the flow of oil to a Europe with an increasingly ant-Israeli political stance.
We have few good options. The President and Secretary Clinton are carefully walking the line. Oddly enough— only the last Administration with President Bush and Secretary Condi Rice has ever taken a strong reform position with Mubarak.
This one is important. Egypt is central to peace in the region. Their people have been ill-used by the Mubarak Regime. Watch the enlisted soldiers of the Egyptian Army. If they go with the people— there will be incredible bloodshed.