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Indonesia as A Model for Egypt

In Indonesia, a Model for Egypt's Transition

From the Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration, seeking to help stabilize Egypt following President Hosni Mubarak's resignation, is looking at the 1998 overthrow of Indonesian dictator Suharto as a model for a democratic transition in a Muslim-majority country, said senior U.S. officials.

National Security Council officials in the past week have been discussing with foreign-policy experts similarities between Egypt's revolution and Indonesia's, which led over a decade to what is one of the developing world's most open political and economic systems, according to these officials.

Key issues U.S. officials are tackling in Egypt, and which were prominent in Indonesia, are how to balance an expected rise in support for Islamists and the continued role of the military.

White House officials have been reading studies comparing Egypt's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a global Islamist organization, and Indonesia's, which has played only minor roles in post-Suharto governments. A senior U.S. official this week called Indonesia "something that's widely seen as the best example" of where Egypt could be headed.

For Washington, hopeful implications of the Indonesia comparison are tempered by fears among U.S. officials and allied governments that Islamist organizations could hijack Cairo's revolution. They have specifically drawn comparisons to Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, which itself reshaped the Middle East.

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