Events in Cairo this week should put to rest any remaining illusions about the Egyptian military's intentions to restore a democratic process in that country. Its violent crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters has effectively ended the possibility of national reconciliation. Its recent appointment of 19 generals as provincial governors further consolidates its control over the country. The disbanding of the parliament, suspension of the constitution, arrest and detention of scores of Brotherhood leaders, shuttering of opposition media, and the imposition of a state of emergency and curfew laws set the legal clock back to the darkest days of Mubarak's stranglehold on the country.
Even liberal leader Mohamed ElBaradei, who has been serving as the vice president of the interim government, recognized Wednesday's crackdown as the end of the "this is not a coup" farce and resigned in protest at the military's violence.
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has insisted for weeks that the military's intervention was a temporary necessity, popularly demanded by the people, to prevent a full takeover of the country by the Muslim Brotherhood. In a smart move to allay international criticism about the coup, the military installed a civilian as interim president, the little-known jurist Adly Mansour, and promised to deliver a new constitution through a more inclusive process and return power to an elected government by the end of the year.