There is a showdown in Egypt. Unquestionably, the most serious showdown the Muslim world has ever seen. The Brotherhood is not a group like Al Qaeda standing against a government such as the case in Yemen or the Taliban in Afghanistan. This is a showdown between Islam and everything else.
President Morsi as president elect will not go down without a fight, in fact, it’s not about him at all but about the millions of his supporters who would surely take any reconciliatory gesture as selling out. Mr. Morsi might be thinking of a compromised way out but his followers are demanding to finish the four years in power that in their view was won legitimately.
The Egyptian army which has stupidly gave Mr. Morsi a forty eight hours ultimatum has only managed to inflame the situation by motivating the opposition to insist on their demands; the army which the Brotherhood believes to be secular and even anti Islam and infested with American money and influence. Instead of putting pressure on the losers of the political process, the army did the exact opposite. Blood has been spilt and that is just a sign for what is to come.
The Muslim brotherhood is a far stronger force in terms of organization and cohesion. But what makes the situation even more dangerous is that the group is not as limited in support as the Shia group Hezbollah which has managed to show what power Islamists can amass, the Brotherhood can unleash a regional new reality. Being Sunni, any civil war in Egypt between the supporters of Morsi and the others, will make the likes of Al Qaeda, Jabhat Al-Nusra, Ansar al-Islam and other similar groups allies by default of the Brotherhood movement.
Even if pro-Shariah Egyptians accept being ousted from power, Fatwa’s from the likes of al-Zawahiri calling for Jihad are very likely and very soon. These groups have always preached that Shariah Islam will not stand without force and thus this coup only gives them a chance to push their agenda to the border liners; that only through arms does Islam stand any chance. It is the electoral win that has created the psychological and spiritual obligation for the supporters of Morsi to stand by their squarely-won victory.
The hard line Muslims have seen what happened to their brethren in Algeria where an election was nullified by a military coup and in Palestine where Hamas’s win was mainly opposed and discredited through external pressure.
The antagonism to Islam-driven political movements even when they have participated in political process successfully cannot be expected to go on for long and the tipping juncture is Egypt. It is when political venues are closed that the majority of Muslim movements start resorting to violence. If the brotherhood falls even through early elections, the backlash will be massive.
We are speaking about tens of millions of people who are loyal to the brotherhood because they are loyal to the ideology that can unleash something unstoppable. In the short term, the army might seem to be in control but the resentments of millions, especially loyal millions, cannot be placed under the rug by guns and tanks and violence can't be too far.
One hopes for no escalation towards violence but at the very least the eminent civil disobedient by the Brotherhood supporters would paralyze the country and that would just set up a process of eventual bloodshed. If the army believes that American money and weapons can buy people's obedience, it is dead wrong.
“What is happening today is only shaping tomorrow” and unfortunately for Egypt, what is happening today in discrediting a political process cannot be shaping something good.