The situation in Egypt raises more questions than answers. Look at the picture from just one side and you will be easily misled.
Daily Telegraph, 07 Jul 2013
Is Egypt witnessing a new phase of the 2011 revolution, this time backed up by a military coup? Or is it a coup of a more old-fashioned sort, using the old Islamist bogeyman which Mubarak repeatedly threatened us with, this time in order to return the army to power?
There is an argument that the military "deep state" simply used the Muslim Brotherhood all along to restore its rule over the country. If you plant an undemocratic, fascistic force into the political process you are bound to end up with an impasse. When that force, like political Islam, believes in violence, democracy will be paralysed. Add to that the inherent contradiction between the Islamist dream of building an Islamic state and the enthusiasm of the secular and the younger generation to build a modern state, and you are left with a feeling of injustice on one side and a fear of violent confrontation on the other. At that point, talk about democracy comes to seem like the pipe dream of intellectuals, while the average citizen supports the security the army can bring over an ever-troublesome democracy.
The truth is that the Brotherhood has a long history of cooperating with the military regime and forging under-the-table deals. The Mubarak regime was thus able to control it and at the same time use it as a bogeyman to scare the Egyptian people and the West into support military rule for fear of the alternative.
In the 2005 parliamentary election, the regime did a deal with the Brotherhood to allow it to get 20 per cent of parliamentary seats, the Brotherhood's former supreme guide, Mahdi Akef, later revealed. The high percentage it actually polled then was one of the main reasons the Bush administration reviewed its "democracy and freedom" agenda, and began to reduce the behind-the-scenes pressure on Mubarak to reform.
That duplicity was exposed after the 2011 revolution, when the military and the Islamists worked together to benefit the Brotherhood's bid for power.
The interim constitution announced in March 2011 was a result of an alliance of the army and the Brotherhood. And just as, during the Mubarak era, senior positions were only given to loyalists, so when the military and then the Islamists took over no independent or opposition figures were allowed into the closed circle of power – except for those from the Brotherhood.
The alternative scenario is that this is simply a new phase of the ongoing revolution and that the army's claims are basically true: that its intervention was not aimed at seeking power but was a response to the calls of millions of Egyptians in the street for them to rescue them from the Islamists, who had repeatedly threatened violence against peaceful demands to hold early elections. There are arguments in favour of this viewpoint.
The army's "road-map" is widely accepted by secular groups; the presidency was handed to the head of the supreme court; the Islamists have been invited to rejoin the political process, so they will be able to put their claims to have majority popular support to the test.
Moreover, secular groups argue that the Brotherhood is not a democratic political organisation, so it is wrong to describe its removal as a coup.
In his constitutional declaration last November, Mr Morsi gave himself unprecedented power to force through a new constitution and to fire the public prosecutor. Since then, its talk about democracy has been shown to be just a hollow expression disguising the use of a single mechanism, the ballot box, to impose a religious state that discriminates against women and minorities, controls the judiciary and gerrymanders the electoral process.
Finally, it was clear that the government was failing to manage basic national security, tolerating a raised level of terrorism in the Sinai and mismanaging a dispute with
over water usage from the Nile.
The new revolutionaries say all these factors justify overthrowing Mr Morsi, given his refusal to call new elections, a democratic tool to hold a failing presidency to account.
Most of the people who went down to the streets, especially the middle and upper classes, preferred to cast their lot with the army, fearing the religious bogeyman. At least their personal freedoms would be guaranteed, while for some the army would protect the interests they had accumulated under the old regime. They also trusted that they could once again return to the streets if it failed to meet their democratic aspirations.
In truth, only the future will answer the question of whether this was a coup or a revolution. If the military institutions use their power to support a presidential candidate related to them directly or indirectly, it will rightly be called a coup. If it fulfils its promise and does not promote its own candidate, guaranteeing free and fair elections, observed by the United Nations and following international standards, it will be unfair to call a response to the demands of millions of people for early elections a military coup.