Egypt is heading towards a military coup.
The terms used during the last twenty-four hours by Morsi and the military in defense of their respective positions suggest so much: Morsi has vowed to protect his presidency with his life; the military to “sacrifice even our blood” for Egypt and its people.
Both sides are going with the times and using Twitter and Facebook to broadcast their nationalist threats and propaganda – a reminder that new communication technologies are not a democratic accomplishment in and for themselves.
Those demonstrating against the Morsi government have good reasons to fear the slow Islamization of Egyptian society. The governing coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood has failed to implement political and institutional reforms based on democratic, that is to say secular, principles.
Having the military take over state control is, however, not the solution to this problem, contrary to what some of the militant anti-Morsi demonstrators may think. This is equally dangerous and will not contribute to Egypt’s transition to democracy. The example of Turkey, still struggling to overcome the legacies of its political history in-between military coups and factional governments, is a warning and not a role-model.
The only way forward in the short-term is for Morsi to resign to make way for an expert-led transitional government representing moderates from all sides to work out constitutional reforms, as was originally the plan after the 2011 revolts, to then pave the way to new parliamentary elections.
Let us hope this will be a ‘one step back, two steps forward’ type of game and not the other way around.