When protests started in Egypt last week, mainstream news outlets cried "democracy!" and compared the situation in Egypt to the Berlin Wall and Tienanmen Square. Meanwhile, STRATFOR (an intelligence company I've followed for years) spoke of a different possibility. At the time it may have been counterintuitive for most institutions to draw parallels to 1979 Iran, but my friend and the company's founder, George Friedman, produced an internal document that raised that possibility. Days later, news outlets began asking questions about groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, and realizing there could be other forces behind the unrest than simple calls for Western-style democracy.
While the jury is still out on the Egypt situation, I have always found STRATFOR's analyses to be thought-provoking, unconventional and, more often than not, spot on in the end. Included here is that first Intelligence Guidance on the budding unrest in Egypt. Originally meant as an internal guideline for their analysts to understand and evaluate events, it was made available to STRATFOR subscribers – and now to you. It's an excellent example of how folks at this intelligence company begin thinking about a new event. I highly recommend <<joining their free mailing list>> to keep up on all things relevant in global affairs.
By the way, congrats to those of you who ordered George's new book The Next Decade. George tells me it will debut at #3 on the New York Times Bestseller list next week. Nice forward-thinking on your part!
John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box
Intelligence Guidance: The Situation in Egypt
January 27, 2011
Editor's Note: The following is an internal STRATFOR document produced to provide high-level guidance to our analysts. This document is not a forecast, but rather a series of guidelines for understanding and evaluating events, as well as suggestions on areas for focus.
Let's use the Iranian rising of 1979 as a model. It had many…