by Matthew Rusling
WASHINGTON, July 17 (Xinhua) -- As the outcome of Egypt's power struggle remains unclear, the state of unrest may continue for some time in the country amid its chaotic transition toward democracy, U.S. experts said.
The current situation came after Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi won the presidency in the country's first-ever democratic presidential election last month, which has led to a power struggle mainly between the Brotherhood and the military.
Kamran Bokhari, vice president of Middle Eastern and South Asian Affairs at Stratfor, a geopolitical analysis provider, said the struggle could go on for years.
Wayne White, a scholar at the Middle East Institute, said the power struggle might continue for another year, adding that the presence of multiple parties - not just the military and the Islamists - were adding to the uncertainty of the mix.
"We are dealing not only with two groups - Islamists and the military - but we also have a number of secular parties plus Egypt's Christians, who are terrified of Islamist control of the presidency and the legislature," said White, also a former deputy head of Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia under the U.S. State Department.
And while the judiciary is anti-Islamic, it does not march in lockstep with the military, he added.
There is also Egypt's massive bureaucracy left, dominated by Mubarak-era employees who are generally pro-military and likely to drag Morsi's feet in implementing government reforms, he said.
U.S. EXTENDS A CAUTIOUS HAND
For its part, the U.S. has extended a hand to the Muslim Brotherhood while taking a cautious, step-by-step approach as the situation develops, Bokhari said.
The U.S. came out reassured about the Brotherhood's stance on Israel over the weekend when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a visit to Cairo, he said.
"I think the U.S. has been reassured," Bokhari said. "But everything is new and I don't think that the foreign policy behavior under a Muslim Brotherhood president is the immediate concern of Washington at this point because the president (of Egypt) doesn't really have a whole lot of power."
Still, the U.S. has little influence on the embattled North African nation.
White noted that while Americans often balk at the amount of U.S. aid given to Egypt, it has been in play for so long that it is almost taken for granted.
"If the U.S. could lay some more money on the table that would be different," White said. "But the only money that's being laid on the table additionally is under 300 million dollars, which is a drop in the bucket considering Egypt's terrible economic problems."
EGYPT-ISRAEL TIES TO STAY SOLID, FOR NOW
David Pollock, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said there remain many questions on how the Brotherhood will influence Egypt's ties with Israel, although for now any major changes seem unlikely.
But the future of the relationship from a long-term perspective of view remains unknown, as the Brotherhood has shown that it can change its mind without warning, he said, pointing out that the Islamist party used to claim last year that it would not run for presidency.
Meanwhile, the the military wants to maintain the status quo, Pallock added.
Other analysts noted that while the Brotherhood has called for a re-evaluation of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) remains determined to sustain the agreement because it is in no position to deal with any potential Israeli retaliation against Egypt, say Israeli military incursions into the Sinai.