Opinion Brief

Can protesters oust Egypt's military leaders?

Violence breaks out again on the streets of Cairo. But these demonstrations are quite different from the February gatherings that led to Mubarak's departure

At least 23 Egyptians were killed over the weekend, in the bloodiest clashes between security forces and protesters since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in February. This time, demonstrators are confronting the military leaders once celebrated as heroes for pushing Mubarak out of power. As the country prepares for next week's parliamentary elections, Islamists and other activists are demanding assurances that the army will be placed under the authority of lawmakers and, furthermore, a timetable for the military to transfer power to a civilian government. Can the protesters win again?

The military won't back down easily: Beating Mubarak was one thing, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. Beating the military will be quite another. True, it was these same military leaders who "restrained Mubarak from a bloody crackdown nine months ago." But they might not be inclined to hold back this time around, now that it's their own fate at stake. If the protests continue, they "could end up getting quite bloody indeed.""Protesters once again clash with police in Tahrir Square"

And these protests are a mere shadow of February's: "Though thousands joined the protests over the weekend," says Abigail Hauslohner at TIME, "their numbers paled in comparison with those who massed during the uprising." In neighborhoods not far from the action in Tahrir Square, life went on as normal. The activists are still fighting their revolution, but most Egyptians "are busy confronting the same daily struggles as before.""Back to Tahrir: The Egyptian revolution tries to repeat itself"

The contest now is between Muslim Brotherhood and the military: These weren't the same crowds as nine months ago, says Robert Dreyfuss at The Nation. Over the weekend, it was the Muslim Brotherhood, the powerful Islamist organization outlawed under Mubarak, that sent thousands of people into Tahrir Square. The group was clearly "flexing its muscle" ahead of its anticipated electoral triumph. "In Egypt the choice is increasingly between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood," leaving the rest of the country to choose between the lesser of two evils."Is Egypt Syria?"

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