I think the Muslim brotherhood is playing it smart this time. They did that in Egypt. They claimed they would not participate in the January 25 "revolution," and preferred to remain invisible until the 28th when they saw signs of success. Only then did they say they were "participating."
It was their militia that fought back in Tahrir square in what is now known as the "Camel battle" when pro-government elements clashed with anti-government demonstrators. After Mubarak's fall, Essam El Arian of the Muslim Brotherhood said in a TV interview, "The revolution is a byproduct of the Brotherhood."
We have to take this claim seriously, especially given what is happening on the ground in Egypt now. Egypt is turning into a more extreme right wing Islamic society. Mubarak was able to keep the ikhwan in check with a small window of operation. He also used the Salafis to his favor. Both groups are now on the loose. They feel like they have the law in their hands and can apply whatever backward thinking rules they want.
Egypt is going downhill. I'm afraid it's too late to stop the Brotherhood from taking over. I think the United States should think carefully before arming any rebels, lest these same weapons be used against the U.S. and its interests in the region in the future.
Islamic elements are playing a major role in all these uprisings - in Yemen, Libya, Jordan, Syria as well as Egypt. They played it smart in Egypt by hiding behind some "secular" figures at the beginning. Where are these figures now? Completely gone, and we are left to deal with the forces of darkness.
Rick - Excellent analysis of the situation in Libya, however, I think deploying ground forces will end the game in favor of Islamists.
Dr. Jacob Keryakes is an Egyptian Coptic Chrisitian who provides his language and analytical skills to the NBC family of networks. He is also a personal friend.