Here are six points that strike me as indisputable about today’s events in Egypt.
1. Mohammed Morsi is in custody this morning, yet the only crime he has committed is being elected president of his country.
2. If you don’t like a democratic government, you stick with it until the next election when you have a chance to throw it out. That is how democracy works.
3. There is no doubt this was a military coup. Attempts to claim otherwise are absurd.
4. Mohammed el Baradei (and the Coptic Church) have done himself great damage by backing the military intervention. Whatever form of government comes next will lack legitimacy because of the methods used today.
5. William Hague failure to condemn outright and wholeheartedly the military coup on the Today Programme today was a terrible mistake.
6. This is another democratically elected Islamist regime, like that of Algeria in 1991, which has not been given a chance. Today’s events are disastrous for the relationship between the West and the Muslim world.
And here are some queries and preliminary observations. I’d like to see more evidence for William Hague’s claim that this was a “popular” coup d’etat. Even if the claims that two million people were on the streets yesterday were true, that’s less than 20 per cent of the population of Cairo, and just 2.5 per cent of the population of Egypt.
I wonder how spontaneous this was. I guess that today’s events have been plotted ever since Morsi was elected last year. The army ran Egypt before the revolution, and the deep state never fully gave up control and is back in charge now.
There is an obvious and very worrying analogy with the Algerian elections of 1991 which led to an Islamic government, which was soon overthrown in a military coup and swiftly followed by more than 10 years of civil war, leaving more than 100,000 people dead.
The consequences of what happened yesterday in Egypt may turn out to be even more serious. We may not like or agree with the principles of the Islamist regimes which win these elections. But if they are not given a chance, many Muslims will conclude that there is no place for Islam in a democracy.