Morsi Protests: Military Rule in Egypt is the Best Option

Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of the Egyptian armed forces has announced that the military has “a moral, patriotic, and historical responsibility … to keep Egypt from sliding into a dark tunnel of conflict, internal fighting, civil war, sectarian discord, and the collapse of state institutions.”

In recent months, Egypt has been caught up in a new round of protests, but this time the protests are against the elected President Mohamed Morsi. On Monday, the military warned the government that if it does not agree to the people's demands within 48 hours, the armed forces would intervene. The military coup that may result could lead to a violent future between Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the Egyptian military. The 2011 revolution against Hosni Mubarak left Egypt on a path to democracy, but it seems that the journey to democracy is now once again in danger. The likely outcome of another revolution within the country would be the reestablishment of a military government as transitional leadership (the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took a similar mantle after the ousting of Mubarak).

There are cons to a military rule, including a violent transition of power and the potential for future revolts, but the pros of a secular Egypt with a strong government supporting the development of an accountable democratic process outweigh these concerns.

With the resignation of 10 of Morsi’s Cabinet members, the burning of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters, and the protests against Morsi's government, it seems that the inevitable outcome is that President Morsi’s government will be toppled in a violent fashion. A young Morsi supporter said to the Washington Post Cairo chief Abigail Hauslohner that "The military is afraid of a Syria situation. They know that the Islamists will not keep quiet if there is a coup." This is one of the problems that the military transitional state will face in its overthrow of the government. This time, Morsi has a strong minority group of Islamist supporters that could definitely turn this revolution very bloody, very fast.

In response to allegations of power-grabbing, the military stated, “The beliefs and the culture of the Armed Forces do not allow pursuit of a ‘coup’ policy.” The statement also said that the resulting military actions will only be done “with the will of the great Egyptian people and their ambitions towards change and reform.” So it is clear that the military government intends to act solely with the voice of the majority, which is strongly supportive of a new secular democratic society. With public support behind the military, any acts of violence taken by Islamist supporters of Morsi will only further alienate the Egyptian public from the current presidency. Keeping that in mind, it makes perfect sense that the best option for re-establishing a strong government would be to trust the Egyptian military with it. The military has been extremely influential in re-establishing democratic societies with examples ranging from Romania’s revolution to Egypt’s own ousting of Mubarak. In Egypt, transitional military rule is the country’s best shot at implementing true democratic reform.