After the violence in Egypt this morning, it’s not at all clear what will happen next in that country (the interim president is scheduling elections and designing a referendum for a reframed constitutions, while trying to keep the Muslim Brotherhood bought into the new system). But at the New York Times, UCLA professor Khaled M. Abu el Fadl had a curt reminder of the bad precedents the Egyptian military if following:

The army is following in the footsteps of Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Hafez al-Assad of Syria, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran, who shared a common trait. They all pointed to their supporters in the streets as the source of their legitimacy and perpetuated autocratic rule in the name of the people’s will. By stepping in to remove an unpopular president, the Egyptian Army reaffirmed a despotic tradition in the Middle East: Army officers decide what the country needs, and they always know best.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.