Tags: miller | egypt | morsi | standoff | military | 48 | hours

Judith Miller: Egyptian Standoff at 'Moment of Crisis'

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Monday, 01 Jul 2013 07:34 PM

The standoff between Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the nation's military is at the breaking point, but what will ultimately happen remains anybody's guess, Newsmax contributor Judith Miller says.

"This is a moment of crisis for Egypt and it's primarily an Egyptian event," Miller, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" Monday on Newsmax TV.

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"Even though [President Barack Obama] has wished them well and urged all sides to avoid violence and get the political process back on track, it's really up to the Egyptians at this point to see whether or not common ground can be met."

On Monday, Egypt's powerful armed forces issued a virtual ultimatum to its Islamist president, calling on the nation's feuding politicians to agree on an inclusive road map for the country's future within 48 hours.

A dramatic military statement broadcast on state television declared the nation was in danger after millions of Egyptians took to the streets on Sunday.

They demanded that Morsi quit and the headquarters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood was ransacked.

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"You started with a warning from the army eight days ago from Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, who said that he gave [Morsi] eight days for the sides to kind of figure out a solution," Miller said.

"Then we have the ultimatum [Monday] on 48 hours. Nobody knows what's going to happen [in] 48 hours. We don't know whether or not the military was signaling that they're finally prepared to take over, which is what some of the demonstrators want at this point.

"They want to goad them into that, and we don't know whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood is willing to make compromises of any kind to change its behavior."

Miller said there is little chance that Morsi will agree to step down.

"But there's a chance that he will move up the elections or announce them. … People were talking about October as the date, [but] there's the possibility that he would move them up," she said.

"Their preference would be for some kind of … national unity discussion or debate … where everybody would come sit in a big room and they try to work out their differences.

"But this is kind of playing to the Muslim Botherhood's strong suit because the Brotherhood has all of the instruments of government in its hands."

Miller said the majority of Egyptians have lost all confidence in the Muslim Brotherhood government.

"The country's economy is in free fall. … There are long lines everywhere for gas, for food, for subsidized bread," she said. "This economy, which depends on tourism, is dying, and there's no confidence in the Muslim Brotherhood to run the country," she said.

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