After the “Arab Spring” swept Islamist leaders into power across the region, many thought they were around to stay. But the recent dramatic events in Egypt have countered that assumption. The world watched in amazement last month as millions of people took to the streets to demand the removal of president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood after only one year in office. It was quickly touted as the largest political protest in human history and opened the door for the military to depose Morsi in a coup, and install an interim prime minister pending a new election.

In the weeks that followed, Egyptian security forces and elements of the Muslim Brotherhood have been engaging in persistent street clashes in the major cities like Cairo and Alexandria, with the civilian death toll mounting. After troops opened fire on several Islamist demonstrations, some Brotherhood leaders vowed to wage an “intifada” against the military for deposing Morsi, suggesting a resort to arms. Nonetheless, efforts continue to bring all the political parties together in hopes of reaching a consensus formula for getting the democratic process back on track in Egypt.

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