Egypt may be worse without Mubarak
Sayyid Qutb. Remember that name. You'll hear it often in coming months and years. Indeed, he may end up being the most influential person of the 21st century. He's been dead 46 years. But Karl Marx was the person who most influenced the 20th century he did not live to see.
Qutb's influence is more menacing than Marx. The radicals of the Muslim Brotherhood that are these days inspired by his manifesto, In The Shade of The Koran, will be central to the riots and violent chaos in Cairo.
It has always been the ultimate aim of the likes of Qutb and the Koran-quoting assassins he inspires to die advancing the cause of Islam. It goes without saying that an Egypt led by Islamic theocrats would attack Israel, unleashing god knows what.
The world understands Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak corruptly keeps government and that some of his people are illegally repressed. But that draconian rule has kept Egypt stable and its Islamic core under control. After losing wars with Israel, it decided to join the modern world in accepting that country's right to exist, even if Egyptian Muslims still see it as an enemy.
Under Mubarak, Egypt has helped keep the peace first won by his predecessor, Anwar Sadat, and Israel's Menachem Begin in 1979. For daring to barter peace with Israel, the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Sadat in 1981. Mubarak that day bravely took on the leadership, and pledged to recognise all treaties with Israel, and they have been trying to kill him ever since.
While these days some are inclined to smile at some of the absurdities uttered by Qutb -- he once wrote that jazz was "music that the Negroes invented to satisfy their primitive inclinations, as well as their desire to be noisy" -- his influence is on enemies of ours who mean business. Al-Qaida for one.
Qutb was hanged with Brotherhood mates who'd been planning to assassinate Egyptian leaders. That's the good news. The bad is he is a hero to people who plan to hurt us.