From an editorial in Tuesdays Washington Post:
What should have been a moment of triumph in Egypts 17-month pursuit of a democratic future has turned dark and foreboding. In the runoff election for president that concluded Sunday, preliminary results point to a narrow edge for the Muslim Brotherhoods candidate, Mohamed Morsi. That alone is a remarkable milestone for a once-banned Islamist group. But as the polls were closing, the ruling generals abruptly took action to neuter the presidency.
The council of generals who have run Egypt since Hosni Mubaraks fall last year had pledged to hand over power to a civilian government by the end of this month. They renewed the promise Monday, but their words rang hollow. On Sunday, just as the polls closed, they published an interim constitution that strips the presidency of power. They seized authority to legislate until a new parliament is elected, to decide all matters related to the armed forces, and to veto a presidents decision to go to war. They granted themselves a significant role in the process of writing a permanent constitution. Taken together, they would leave Egypts new president hamstrung and toothless.
Over time, perhaps a new legislature can be elected and a new constitution written. The generals proffered vague timelines. But for now, it appears the Egyptian revolution is being swallowed by the repressive forces of the past. After decades in which the military built up wealth in key industries and commercial interests, they are clearly loath to give it up.
Official election results are to be announced Thursday. But with parliament dissolved, no constitution, the constitutional-drafting process disrupted and the presidency weakened, the path ahead looks unstable.
The military may have calculated that the United States would look the other way while it usurped the first democratic election for president in Egypts history. After all, thats been the administrations pattern so far. On Monday, the State Department said that the military must honor its commitments to allow a transfer of power to civilian control and that its decisions will have an impact on the nature of our engagement. If the generals suffocate Egyptian democracy in the cradle, U.S. military aid must cease.