The 48-hour ultimatum issued today by Egypt’s unelected military brass comes amid a wave of protests that appear to dwarf the popular uprising that drove Egypt’s military-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak from power 27 months ago.
While what happens next is anyone’s guess, Egypt is undoubtedly in its most dangerous moment since former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in 2011. The military is front and center in Egypt’s politics once more; the Muslim Brotherhood feels cornered and threatened by what it deems to be counter-revolutionaries; and the crowds in Tahrir Square and elsewhere are demanding something different ”“ but what they want, exactly, is far from clear.
Today Egypt’s so-called democratic transition is a failure, with the strongest evidence of that the rapturous crowds chanting their love for the Army and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). In January and February 2011, a massive show of street power led SCAF to dump Mubarak overboard. Then came a period of ham-handed military rule, with show trials of activists, organized sexual assault on female protesters (what else to call the so-called “virginity tests” forced on them within weeks of the military takeover?) and the torture of democracy activists like Ramy Essam.