Since the Jan 25, 2011 revolution ousted former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has been in a state of flux and uncertainty. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi—who is likely to win the next presidential election—seems to be the best man to lead the country at this difficult stage that it's currently in, for the following reasons:
First, he is trusted completely at street level in Egyptian society. This widespread support will allow him to make the hard economic and security decisions that are necessary to bring stability to the country.
Second, General Al-Sissi’s understanding of Islam is moderate and can help bring an end to the problem of Islamic Radicalism. He has a clear position in favor of religious freedom. He actually quoted a verse from the Koran to support this “No Compulsion in Religion” stance, and to criticize those who want to impose a religious agenda or views on others. Additionally, he has expressed unequivocally his view that a radical interpretation of Islam is the major threat to the country. He is outspokenly pro-reformation.
Third, his background in military intelligence will help ensure correct decisions regarding the Jihadi terrorist groups who are trying to undermine the stability of the country.
Fourth, his recent attendance at a celebration of Egyptian actors and actresses sends a clear message that he sees Egypt as a progressive country that respects Liberal Arts and Music rather than a regressive state that suppresses them. This creates hope in the hearts of many Egyptians that—unlike when the Muslim Brotherhood controlled the country—the leadership of General Al-Sissi will move the country forward rather than backward.
General Al-Sissi is a pragmatic statesman who is likely to be able to deal with the international community in a rational manner. This puts him in direct contrast with the young, inexperienced revolutionaries who—after being supported by the US—refused to even sit with then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she asked to meet with them after the Jan 25 Revolution. Moreover, Al-Sissi—unlike his likely political opponent Hamdeen Sabahi—is clearly against the Hamas organization. Mr. Sabahi, when he entered the presidential race against Mohamed Morsi, publicly declared that he would support “the armed resistance” of Hamas against Israel. Such an attitude would inevitably drag the Middle East into destructive wars and confrontations. Al-Sissi's rational attitude, by contrast, is likely to prevent such confrontations.
In brief, in the current political atmosphere in Egypt, General al-Sissi is the strong, rational man who can bring more stability to the country and the whole region.
The writer is an Islamic thinker and reformer, and a one-time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of the terrorist organization JI with Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who later became the second-in-command of al-Qaida. He is currently a senior fellow and chairman of the study of Islamic radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. www.tawfikhamid.com