Egypt’s military commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has issued an ultimatum to President Mohammed Morsi: acquiesce to the people’s demand that you resign in 48 hours or the military will intervene. Morsi showed no signs of giving in to the protestors who have flooded the streets of Egypt in recent weeks, but the military’s bold statement may change his mind, or force his hand. The military’s statement gave a thinly disguised warning, noting that if Morsi refused to bow to the “unprecedented expression of the public’s will,” the military would provide “its own road map for the future.”
The 48 hour warning seems to signal the beginning of the end for Morsi, who came to power as a result of the Arab Spring, as the leader of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood. If Morsi does resign or is forcibly removed, his brief tenure as Egypt’s president will have been bookended by massive protests.
The military’s 48 hour ultimatum sets the stage for more incredible drama in the country often described as the fulcrum between the Middle East and Africa. Will Morsi resign? What will the military do? And does this “road map for the future” involve General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi becoming president?
Now seems like the perfect time for Egypt to introduce a real democracy, but if the military takes over the top political offices, power will actually have been consolidated, not dispersed.