Fire This Time

I don’t know if you are monitoring the situation in Egypt right now, but it’s gotten very intense, with the sack of the Muslim Brotherhood HQ in Cairo, and now with the Egyptian Army all but promising a coup d’etat if the Morsi government doesn’t find ways to placate protestors and restore order. And the protests that began over the weekend are already eclipsing the more famous disturbances of 2011, as the New York Times‘ Kirkpatrick, Fahim and Hubbard report:

The scale of the demonstrations, just one year after crowds in the same square cheered Mr. Morsi’s inauguration, appeared to exceed even the mass street protests in the heady final days of the uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. At a moment when Mr. Morsi is still struggling to control the bureaucracy and just beginning to build public support for painful economic reforms, the protests have raised new hurdles to his ability to lead the country as well as new questions about Egypt’s path to stability.

The next day or two are going to be crucial in determining Egypt’s path ahead, and inevitably, the ripple effects in the region could be significant. As always, western media are having a hard time getting a handle on the direction of the protests, and Americans, to the extent that any of us are paying attention, are probably cheering the protesters as opponents of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and perhaps not noticing the constant complaints that Morsi is our stooge.

Perhaps this really is just a continuation of the Arab Spring. But the wind in the air seems hotter.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.