Neither side is backing down in Egypt's latest political crisis, as President Mohammed Morsi refuses to bow to pressure from both the military and the millions of demonstrators who are still in the streets. A statement from the president's office says he "was not consulted" about the demand made on Monday that he answer the demands of angry protesters before the army implements its own plan. He also said he won't resign, and there hasn't been any hint of progress or negotiations with the opposition.
And in another disturbing development, the Freedom and Justice Party, which is the poltical wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, has called on Morsi to "prepare for martyrdom," suggesting they are ready to wage war against the military and the people. (Those are his supporters in with the shield and clubs in the photo above.)
As for the people in the streets, they seem to be welcoming an uneasy alliance with the military leaders they once despied. When the ruling military council was in charge of the country before Morsi, citizens demanded speedy elections and a new constitution, which left them with Morsi and a Mulsim Brotherhood-led government. Now those same military leaders are their only hope to depose him. That's why they've been cheering the military helicopters flying over Cairo with giant Egyptian flags waving from them (when they aren't flashing laser pointers at them), even if that means an end to their temporary democracy. It's an alliance of necessity, made easier by Egyptians now proven ability to make their voices heard should things get worse again.
(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Then again, no one is entirely sure what the army has planned once the deadline passes tomorrow, but there was one hint today, when a group of officials from the Mulism Brotherhood tried to esacpe the country and were blocked from travel.
(Update 12:00 p.m.): Reuters now reports that military plan involves suspending the constitution and dissolving parliament. The military council would return to power until the constitution could be re-written and new elections held. That would basically be a repeate of 2011-2012, when the military ruled over Egypt between the fall of Hosni Mubarak and the election of Morsi. CNN also reports that the U.S. is pushing Morsi to hold early elections, too, and has been for awhile.)
Egypt released a photo of Morsi meeting with his defense minister, but there are also reports that the same minister (who is also an active general) was hosting his own meetings without Morsi, possibly plotting his ouster. Several of Morsi cabinet minister (mostly from other opposing political parties) have also resigned.
President Obama reportedly spoke to Morsi by phone and urged him to find a peaceful solution, but again, it doesn't seem to have moved the Egyptian leader much from his stance. So again, Cairo can do nothing but wait for the next boot to drop. But at least this time they have a countdown. If you want to know how much time is left in his 48-hour window before the military's deadline expires, check out MorsiTimer.com.