As the visible vestiges of Hosni Mubarak’s rule were removed from Egypt’s cabinet building, there lingered a worry in the Middle East that stability in the region might also be heading out of the door.
One of the principal concerns was the 1979 peace agreement with Israel.
The High Military Council that had taken the reins made a formal declaration on th 13th of February saying: “The Egyptian republic is committed to the regional and international agreements.”
It was a reassuring announcement aimed particularly at Egypt’s neighbours in Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasted no time in responding.
“The Israeli government welcomes the announcement by Egypt’s military (saying) that Egypt will continue to respect its peace treaty with Israel,” Netanyahu said.
All through the 18 days of protests in Egypt, the Israelis held their collective breath, fearful that the departure of Mubarak would see the end of a reliable partner on their southern border.
Some in Israel still see the possibility of strained relations in the future.
Efraim Inbar the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies said: “I don’t think that democracy in Egypt, if the elections are won by the Islamic Brothers, will bring about peace and stability.”
In Cairo, at the headquarters of the Arab League, euronews asked the Secretary General, Amr Moussa about those fears. Moussa, himself an Egyptian, said the army declaration made it clear the peace accord would be maintained, and added that the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood should not be a cause for alarm.
“In reality, the fears expressed are scaremongering. As you clearly saw in all of the demonstrations and big gatherings over the past weeks, the Muslim Brotherhood were a part of it, but not all of it,” he said. “They will not end up in leading positions. They were not leading it, they were not behind it, but they were one element among many others.”
Yesterday the Muslim Brotherhood announced it would form a political party as soon as conditions allow. Formed in the 1920s it was banned but tolerated under Mubarak. And its roots in the conservative and predominantly Muslim Egyptian society run deep.