You wouldn’t know it from much of the American media, but Egypt may be having another new government sooner than expected:
Egypt entered a perilous 48 hours on Monday when the military delivered an ultimatum to the country’s first democratically elected president, hundreds of thousands of protesters renewed calls to oust him from office and the president’s Islamists allies vowed to take to the streets to stop what they called “a military coup.”
In a military communiqué read over state television that echoed the announcement toppling former President Hosni Mubarak two chaotic years ago, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces demanded Monday that President Mohamed Morsi satisfy the public’s demands within two days, or else the generals would impose their own “road map” out of crisis.
But instead of soothing the volatile standoff between Mr. Morsi’s opponents and his supporters, the generals seemed to add to the uncertainty that has paralyzed the state, decimated the economy and brought millions into the streets Sunday demanding the president step down. It was not clear what the military meant when it said Mr. Morsi must satisfy the public’s demands, what it might do if that vague standard was not met and who would be able to unite this badly fractured nation.
Basically, there is a significant fraction of the Egyptian public that is already tired of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the Brotherhood is still quite powerful, controls the Islamists and is recognized as having won the last election. It’s not clear what would happen if an actual civil war broke out. Obama is mostly staying out, saying he will support Egypt’s elected government. That’s the right move at this stage.
This is going to get worse before it gets better.