A respected military analyst has said that the coup in Egypt "has failed" just two months after the overthrow of elected President Mohammed Morsi. General Safwat El-Zayat noted that anti-coup demonstrations around the country suggest that the coup authorities have not been able to persuade the Egyptian people of the need for the action that they took against the democratic will of the nation.
This, claims El-Zayat, means that General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has the choice of either ordering his forces to massacre more protesters until they stay off the streets, an option rejected by many army officers, it is alleged, or get the armed forces involved elsewhere to distract media attention from the growing support for pro-democracy demonstrations.
The ongoing protests are a nightmare for Al-Sisi and his co-conspirators. Cairo and Alexandria alone have witnessed 42 marches so far, while last Friday saw many protests in cities new to such public activism, such as Abu El-Matamir, El-Mahalla, Suez, El-Wadi El-Jadeed and the Red Sea towns.
The military operations in Sinai and other areas are thus designed to provoke militant groups to respond with violence, which will serve as a justification for the coup regime's brutal crackdown on democracy. It will also divert soldiers' attention from the political situation; when they are "fighting terrorism" politics as such pales into relative insignificance.
Moreover, believes General El-Zayat, the army will shortly be forced to take action to stop the country falling apart. The economy is near-collapse with little hope for recovery, not least because of the coup and its repercussions against which thousands are demonstrating on a daily basis. "Despite its best efforts to disguise the fact," he concluded, "the reality is that Al-Sisi's coup has failed in its objectives."