Preliminary results from Egypt's first democratic election since the fall of former dictator Hosni Mubarak began rolling in on Thursday, and they are not positive for those who had hoped the Arab Spring would lead to a more open and free Middle East.
While this week's vote was only the first in a three-phase election scheduled to last until early January, it did encompass most of Egypt's most populous regions, and so provides a fairly clear picture of what the next Egyptian government will look like.
According to unofficial results two days after the vote, the Muslim Brotherhood will control 40-50 percent of the parliament. That wouldn't necessarily be the end of the world if the other half was controlled by "moderate" parties. But it won't be. According to the same results, the second place party in most of the reporting districts is al-Nour, a Salafi Muslim party that is at least as radical as the Muslim Brotherhood.
The liberal Freedom Party and the secular Wafd party placed a distant third in various districts, reported Egypt's Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.
A leading Egyptian political analyst told the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram that by the time official results are announced in early January, she expects the Islamists to be in control of around 65 percent of the Egyptian parliament.
Earlier this week, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, told a gathering of 50,000 soldiers that "Egypt is a new Iran, whether you (the US-led West) accept it or not." Soleimani also noted that other "Arab Spring" countries like Libya and Yemen are headed in a similar direction.
The Muslim Brotherhood has long vowed that if it ever came to power, it would work to reverse or outright nullify the Camp David Accord and end the official state of peace with Israel. The Brotherhood also advocates Sharia Law and the eventual establishment of a global Islamic caliphate - much like the rulers of Iran.
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