Questions abound in the chaos, violence and political positioning that have followed last week's overthrow of Egypt's first democratically elected president. The most important question — for Egypt and for those around the world with an interest in the country's future — remains largely unanswered: What happens next?
Last week, the Egyptian military unseated President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood after massive street demonstrations that often turned violent. News reports estimated that hundreds of thousands of Egyptians protested in Cairo and beyond, demanding that the president step down.
The events came just two years after similar protests, centered in Cairo's Tahrir Square, set off a populist revolution in Egypt. The 2011 uprising led to the overthrow of then-president Hosni Mubarak, who had been in power since 1981. The country's first democratic presidential elections — which had brought Morsi and the Brotherhood to power — came next.
But the military's takeover has far from eased Egypt's tensions.
After Morsi's ouster, his supporters took to the streets, meeting their opponents — in the military and in the public — head-on. On Monday, Egyptian soldiers shot into a crowd of Morsi supporters, killing 51 and wounding more than 450.
The unrest and uncertainty continue, as Egypt's military says a new government will be formed within the week. Morsi is believed to be held by the military, but his location is unknown. Egypt's top prosecutor has ordered the arrest of a major Muslim Brotherhood leader, and the Muslim Brotherhood, for its part, has called for an "uprising" to restore Morsi to power. Its leaders have rejected an offer to take part in a transitional government, which Egypt's interim prime minister is beginning to form. The plan has been "widely criticized as muddled, authoritarian and rushed," according to The New York Times.
In the meantime, while Egypt's neighbors wait on tenterhooks for the next demonstrations, the United States and its allies discuss aid and semantics. To call the military's takeover a "coup d'etat" would render Egypt ineligible for American military aid. To call it something else, others argue, could be an inaccuracy at best, a foreign policy disaster at worst.
Today we hear three perspectives on Egypt's future: from a Cairo-based journalist, a professor of Middle Eastern history and a political scientist.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EGYPT'S RECENT UNREST: Coverage from news organizations across the globe:
• Overview: Egypt
• Egypt news: Revolution and aftermath
(The New York Times)
• Live blog: Egypt in turmoil
• Live blog: Egypt in crisis
(The Washington Post)
• Twitter: #egypt