Only days before parliamentary elections, Egypt is in a huge crisis whose outcome will determine the future of almost 80 million people and perhaps the Arabic-speaking world's fate for decades to come.
Will the army go ahead with elections that will be won by the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Salafist groups, thus producing an Islamist regime or
Will it cancel elections, declare martial law in some form and set off a bloody civil conflict?
That’s quite a difficult choice and not one the army prefers. Understandably, the military has a third alternative: set up some compromise rules for the new Egyptian state that leave it feeling secure even if this plan sacrifices a lot of other factors.
The nominal cause of this upheaval are the demonstrations in Tahrir square that have produced a bloodier tool than any single event in the entire Egyptian revolutionary process, with more than 30 people dead. But the real background is this:
Despite the persistent mocking of Western officials, media, and “experts” about the Muslim Brotherhood’s weakness and moderation, it has become increasingly apparent that a very radical Muslim Brotherhood will take power and fundamentally transform Egypt into something far worse than that which existed during the six-decades-long Nasser-Sadat-Mubarak regime.
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