Egypt's generals promise democracy once they deal with the Islamist threat -- and the secular camp has cheered them on. But as Tunisia's experience 25 years ago shows, it's hard to put the authoritarian genie back in the bottle once it has been let out. In other words, the liberals are next.
It might be tempting to latch onto the idea that Turkey -- a democratic country with a history of military interventions against Islamist-leaning governments -- could be a good model for Egypt. But Egypt, which is already experiencing violence along ideological and factional lines, looks very little like Turkey. And Turkey did not get where it is today because of its military but, rather, in spite of it.
Israel apologized, Turkey accepted, and the two countries have resolved a three-year dispute -- all because Turkey's leaders realized that they stood to benefit more from cooperating with Israel than from exploiting the dispute for domestic political gain.
The surprisingly strong performance of Yair Lapid in Israel's election, coupled with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's losses, have led many to conclude that Israeli voters have shifted to the center. But Lapid's party is conservative where it counts—on security issues—and the voters who left Netanyahu largely went even further to the right.
Since Recep Tayyip Erdogan took power, the world has watched closely to see if Turkey would become more democratic or more autocratic. Yet it is doing both simultaneously, and the incongruity is threatening its international standing.