Editor's Note: Shibley Telhami is Anwar Sadat professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Saban Center of the Brookings Institution.
By Shibley Telhami - Special to CNN
In a surprising move, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood decided to field it's own candidate, Khairat Al-Shater, for the Presidency of Egypt, after months of insisting that it would not do so. Immediately, questions were raised about its credibility not only among its opponents but also among some of its supporters, many of whom opposed the move.
What explains this sudden reversal by a group that has been very calculating and careful in its political actions since the fall of Hosni Mubarak? The answer is: It found itself out-maneuvered by both the ruling Military Council and the surprisingly strong and more conservative Islamist competitors, the Salafis. And it stood to risk losing much of its gains. FULL POST
Only a week before the start of parliamentary elections in Egypt, Cairo has been hit by massive demonstrations (NYT) calling for an end to military rule, in place since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February. Though the military-appointed civilian government has resigned, it is unclear whether the ruling military council will retain power (AP). Shibley Telhami, an expert on the Middle East, says his latest poll of Middle Eastern attitudes (PDF) shows 43 percent of Egyptians believe the military is working to reverse the gains of the revolution. He says the military maintains "a reservoir of goodwill" because Egyptians want "a powerful and leading Arab state," but multiple segments of society remain concerned about its intervention in politics. About a third of those polled said they would vote for an Islamist party, and no current presidential candidate received more than 20 percent of support.