By Nordstjernan columnist Ulf Nilson, February 2011

There were thousands of them. They filled the broad streets, they shouted and gesticulated with fists closed. Wave after wave passed the hotel where we were standing. It seamed the whole city, nay, the whole country was marching and demanding that the tyrant step down.…
Cairo 2011? No, the report was written by me (albeit in Swedish) in Tehran in 1979! The protesters won, as we know, insofar that the Shah, Reza Pahlavi, had to resign and flee his country. The same thing might happen with president Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Great, isn't it! Down with the dictators and strongmen, let the people rule!
Well, not so fast …
In Iran the Shah (who was sometimes called The Shit of Persia), was succeeded by Ayatollah Khomeini. People were tortured, executed, thrown in jail. The certainly repressive regime of the Shah was replaced by a terrible, bloodthirsty and cruel band of priests. Iran went from bad to worse and has since then slid backward in all respects except possibly one. It will soon have its own atomic bomb, which will wreck the fragile balance of power in the Middle East and might, in time, lead to one of the worst wars in history. I mean: Can Israel, small and vulnerable, accept atomic weapons in the hands of fanatics like President Amadinejhad, who has sworn to annihilate the Jewish state?
To say that catastrophe is knocking on the door is certainly not saying too much!
The same might be said for the current development in Egypt. We can be reasonably certain that the days of Mubarak are over and this even if he manages to stay in “power” up to September. It is already power in name only and if the army decides to back him up―which is by no means certain―the risk for gigantic bloodshed and civil war is overwhelmingly great. The question therefore becomes: What will happen after Mubarak?
The people take power? Certainly not.
Democracy breaks out? Dream on.
Reality on the ground suggest a very different outcome. The best organized opposition group, The Muslim Brothers, is almost certain to come out on top―which means priests deciding, perhaps not as cruelly as in Iran, but certainly with hard hands. Life will become worse for all kinds of common people and particularly women. Chaos will rule both the government offices and the streets for a very long time and riots―often brutally repressed―will explode every day. Repression will return, maybe dressed a little differently, but basically the same.
Equally distressing is the fact that Egypt's new leaders, whoever they are, will almost certainly be anti-West. Modern Egypt, which was created when Anwar Sadat booted out the Russian advisers and aligned his country with the U.S., will change back, not to Communism, of course, but to religious rule and a more hostile stance toward the West and, certainly, Israel. There is a real risk that the new rulers tear up the peace agreement with Israel, which will mean grave unrest in the Middle East and, if worst come to worst, a new war.
Given these dismal possibilities one can only wonder why President Obama is so keen on getting Mubarak out. He has been president for thirty years (yes, 30!). If he has been so bad, why not get him out earlier? And if the possible successors are worse―which seems possible―why not back him up?
One thing is certain: Egypt will not become a democracy overnight. So the only question is: Which solution is less bad?