Helene Cooper lays out the no-win situation the U.S. is in.Bruce Riedel, former CIA, has this assessment: "A new Egypt will still be the enemy of al Qaeda and a rival to Persian Shia Iran.The "realist" view of U.S. relations with Egypt, Stephen Walt: "the real reason the United States has backed Mubarak over the years is to preserve the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, and to a lesser extent, because Mubarak shared U.S. concerns about Hamas and Iran. ... For those of us who think that the "special relationship" is bad for the U.S. and Israel alike, therefore, a change of government in Egypt is not alarming. In fact, change in Cairo might not threaten Israel's interests significantly, and might even help break the calcified diplomatic situation in the region."For starters, a post-Mubarak government is unlikely to tear up the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, because such a move would immediately put it at odds with both the United States and Europe and bring Cairo few tangible benefits...."February 1: Juan Cole on the Egyptian military's many branches and perhaps differing views.Pew has this on major Muslim countries including Egypt and the attitude of their populations to democracy, Islam, etc.February 2: Juan Cole, Why Egypt 2011 is not Iran 1979.

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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