Give Hosni Mubarak this much credit: He did always say that it was either him or the Muslim Brotherhood.
From Mubarak, of course, that was a warning. Now that it has actually come to pass, what it means is far less clear-cut. Because while Mohammad Mursi’s election is historic (an overused word in journalism but, in this case, surely appropriate), it does not alter the central reality of Egyptian life — the military runs the country and intends to continue making all of the decisions that count. The Muslim Brotherhood clearly believes it can change that. The coming clash between the two will do much to determine Egypt’s future.
Thanks to a series of decrees announced over the last two weeks, Mursi is set to take over a presidency stripped of most of its power. Parliament has been dissolved and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) has declared itself to be the country’s sole legislative authority. Scaf has also appointed the assembly, charged with writing a new constitution while reserving the right to amend or veto whatever that assembly eventually produces. Needless to say it has exempted itself from any form of civilian oversight.