I learned of the Dahab bombing with mixed feelings. I cannot honestly say I am too sorry for the eighteen dead Egyptians or the few foreigners. Rather, I was glad that my prognosis was correct: I pointed to Dahab as the next target after Taba and Sharm esh-Sheikh, and specifically on Easter. Indeed, I dissuaded a couple of friends from going to Dahab this Easter. The date was pretty obvious: a joint holiday for Egyptian Muslims and Christians and end of the Jewish holidays. The target was clear, too: terrorists had to pick a new town to avoid being labeled a local phenomenon, and picked Dahab over even more jerkwater Nuweiba. What seems really odd to me is, why Sinai? Hurghada and the nearby tourist villages offer much more simple logistics if the perpetrators are the usual suspects, South Egyptian followers of Al Banna. A new Lavon affair being an option, a much more plausible explanation is that we are dealing with a highly distributed insurrection. And yes, Egypt is burning. I hate listening to the peace pitches of my colleagues who have never dealt with Arab mobs. I do. In fact, I recently spent two weeks in Egypt—not at receptions but with common Egyptians.

I rode buses and dime-a-trip minivans, stayed in $3-a-night hotels, and ate fuul in fly-blown eateries. I was shocked. I hadn’t been to Egypt for almost a year, and the change was tremendous. People are no longer afraid of the government. They sense that Hosni will pass away soon, and that any successor will be weak, possibly even a democratic weakling.
Among dozens of people I spoke to, not a single one hesitated to approve of Muslim Brotherhood. That startlingly contrasted the situation a year ago, when many Egyptians disapproved of the group, and many were afraid to approve publicly. Quite a few people now ventured more than tacit approval once prompted. Everyone supported the attacks in Taba and Sharm esh-Sheikh. As usual, most viewed terrorists as Robin Hoods who sabotage hated government and corrupt police. But I also saw an increase in anti-Israeli feelings. Egyptians, as everyone, do not care about Palestinians, but unlike most others, the Egyptians do not pretend they care. They want revenge. Restitution of Sinai left Israel without bargaining chips, and proved insufficient to expiate the offense of prevailing against Egypt. There is much talk of revenge around the corner.

Egyptians know they cannot dominate Middle East if Israel exists. They, like other Arabs, became increasingly nationalist, and want to dominate. Expunging Israel from the region is on the mob’s lips. I saw dramatic increase in Muslim observance among middle class. Several friends who wrank alcohol with me before now seriously spoke of Koran’s infallibility. True, they despise the radicals, but only because radicals threaten stability which the middle class values. Many revolutions showed that the middle class opposition is neither stable nor strong: professionals join radicals or fall prey to them. Many politicians and professors who belong to Muslim Brotherhood or favor them, are ostensibly moderate. Such was the case in all revolutions: moderate intellectuals and passionate activists. Passion has always won; intellect was subverted and subdued.

Egyptian government is desperate. There is more police than usual on every corner: pathetically underpaid, proverbially corrupt, and breathtakingly inept. Automatic rifles are useless in crowded markets and bus stations, checkpoints do not stop bomb traffickers, and security convoys are counterproductive when ambushed. In South Egypt, my taxi driver joined a police-protected convoy, three-mile long line of vehicles. Then, at the middle of the road, the convoy stopped for coffee break. And it does so daily, in the same place. Wanna ambush it?

Post-Dahab measures amounted to laughable show of force: paramilitary troops running around with shields and wooden sticks. The government could do nothing about terrorism. And Muslim Brotherhood already controls the largest faction in parliament. The government recently fired two judges who criticized rigged elections. More to come. Minimally transparent elections will make Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary majority. They have impeccable credentials: they are the only ones who are not corrupt. And they are sufficiently strong – as terrorist acts show – if not to end the corruption, then at least to punish the practitioners awesomely. Muslim Brotherhood will not deliver prosperity, as the ayatollahs did not, but economic problems will become prominent only later. Just as the ayatollahs, Muslim Brotherhood will radicalize foreign politics to divert attention from their mishandling of economy. Unlike with the ayatollahs, the West will accommodate Muslim Brotherhood: you don’t ostracize nuclear imams, lest they go test the promise of seventy virgins.

Egypt is burning. And it will fall to the radicals. We will have a nuclear neighbor state which deals in jihad, sharia, and glorious afterlife, not mutually assured destruction. Islamic nuclear axis will extend to the border of Israel. We could defuse the threat years ago with draconian military measures, massive propaganda, and elimination of the Egyptian nuclear capabilities. Now it’s just too late. The bombs which will detonate in New York and Tel Aviv are being built. The people who will give orders to deliver them are ascending to power. And we are waiting for it.