After just one year of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government, a popular uprising opened the door for a military intervention — leading to the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, the country's democratically-elected Islamist leader. And while the insta-analysis on the change in power has largely been a Rorscharch test of how outside observers see and talk about the country, there's plenty of fodder for more nuanced view of the situation in Egypt now and going forward.
One of the most bold examples of insta-analysis here came not from a pundit, but from Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who took the opportunity to crow about the "fall of political Islam," in reference to Morsi, an ideological and political enemy of Assad.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times, in a piece today, contextualized the conflict in terms of a "secular" military against the religious "Islamist" party, while MSNBC characterized Egypt as "largely secular," with an incongruous Islamist ruler.
And obviously, this presented an opportunity for those who see Islam itself as a threat:
Egyptian politics and culture are often discussed from the outside in terms of "religious" and "secular" — Islamist groups, representing the religious, stand in opposition to modern, democratic groups, representing the secular. But the Arab Spring was an uprising against an authoritarian, not a religious, regime. And it was a revolution in which Muslims, including Islamists, participated together with liberals. Talal Asad, an extremely influential anthropologist, argued at the time that the forces against Mubarak, Islamist and liberal included, were united however uneasily not by by common beliefs, but by a shared oppositional stance. This massive popular uprising since June 30 is likewise best understood as violating that plurality which Morsi is guilty of breaking.