Josh Marshall summarizes the surprising and imminent collapse of Egypt's government and why the U.S. is in a strange position:
The big movement over the last day or so has been the slow motion - or perhaps not so slow motion - collapse of the Morsi civilian administration. Not ‘the state’ in the broader sense, but Morsi’s government. The scale of the demonstrations over the last two days seemed to catch everyone by surprise, leading to the pivotal ultimatum issued by the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, giving the political players 48 hours to come to some sort of consensus and respond to the ‘will of the people’ expressed through the protests or have the military step in. At least 10 ministers from Morsi’s government have resigned, including the overnight resignation of the Foreign Minister.
Overnight (US time) the Brotherhood started trying to organize counter-demonstrations with what seemed to be the pretty explicit aim of physically confronting the anti-Morsi protesters - not an idle threat since the Brotherhood spent decades as an underground group with a significant paramilitary component, though pictures like this don’t inspire a lot of confidence in their current ability to engage sustained action. And just moments ago, one leaders of the Brotherhood called for ‘martyrdom’ to stop the protests. So here we have the perhaps novel instance of Islamist calling for martyrdom on behalf of electoral legitimacy. Or something like that.
So here you have Morsi, clearly no friend of the US or the administration, in the perilous position of counting on the US to keep them in power. It’s no less curious a position for the White House. They’re no fans of Morsi because they do perceive a significant stake for electoral legitimacy.
The next two days will be critical. And they may add evidence to support the strong hypothesis that religious parties simply can't govern. (Take note, GOP.)