Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 4:49 pm
The immediate reaction to the military overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi reveals how political and religious fault lines have shifted in the region. Saudi Arabia, an Islamist theocracy, quickly praised the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Riyadh sees as a rival. Also cheering was Syria's Bashar al-Assad, whom the Saudis are trying to help force from power. Assad declared that the Egyptian coup marks "the fall of political Islam." Turkey, ruled by a party with roots in political Islam, voiced dismay at the developments, which echo the military coups that plagued Turkey from 1960 through the end of the 20th century. As in Egypt, the Turkish military was deeply entrenched in economic and political life, and analysts suggest that if history is any guide, Egyptians now face a long uncertain road ahead.