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Left, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood celebrate in Tahir Square. Right, Egyptian soldiers guard outside a polling station. (SUHAIB SALEM, AHMED JADALLAH/Reuters)
Left, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood celebrate in Tahir Square. Right, Egyptian soldiers guard outside a polling station. (SUHAIB SALEM, AHMED JADALLAH/Reuters)

Background

The Muslim Brotherhood vs. the Egyptian military Add to ...

In a stunning historic development, Egyptians have elected a prominent leader of the Muslim Brotherhood as their president. After decades of seeing the Islamist organization treated as the enemy by a series of military presidents, it was unthinkable just a short while ago that such a day would ever come.

This is happening just as the ruling military leadership is trying to sort out its own role in the new democratic Egypt.

Developments in the past week have ensured that the new president will be subordinate, at least temporarily, to the military leadership. And that leadership, in the absence of a parliament, also has taken on legislative powers.

As a result, it is unclear just who the real leaders are and who represents the people.

This volatile situation is “the culmination of decades of rivalry between the army and Islamists,” said Salman Shaikh of the Brookings Doha Center. “This [place] could really explode.”

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