Supposedly somewhere between 500 and 2000 people have been killed by government forces in Egypt in the last 24 hours.
The protagonists are the "the army" and "the Muslim Brotherhood". It's the Brotherhood which has the thin veneer of legitimacy. Their man, Mohammed Morsi, was elected president last year and was last month pushed out of office and is now "under arrest for murder" in the Cairo Officers' Club. However that does not mean the Brotherhood is the side we should be rooting for.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the spearhead of the Islamic advance across Europe and America. It is the parent organisation of a myriad of smaller groups advancing the cause of Islam: some by lawful advocacy, some by quasi-lawful infiltration of existing political parties, and some by blowing people up with bombs.
America has refused to call Morsi's downfall a "coup d'etat", for the simple reason that they would have to stop sending money to the Egyptian army if the government is deemed officially illegitimate. And without the money the army would lose control.
The "army" is actually a cypher; it does not refer exclusively to the armed forces. The "army" represents a section of Egyptian society - the urban, educated, middle-class section of society to be precise. These are people who lived just fine under the long military dictatorship of Mubarak and Nasser before him; who have connections, relatives who are officers for example; who have access to army clubs and army hospitals and army schools for their children. The other half of Egyptian society, the Islamo-fundamentalist side, the Brotherhood, the ones who shout Allah Akbar while they riot, are the uneducated dross. As always Islam recruits the lowest elements, the gammas and the deltas. Of course, what these people lack in education they make up in numbers. In a straight vote they win.
But it is important for Egypt that they do not win. In true democracies, when the voting is over and the winner inaugurated everyone gets behind the new leader and tries to make the best of the situation, in the certain knowledge of two things: 1) there will soon be another election and governments can change, and 2) the government knows that one day it will be out of office and if it does anything too outrageous there will be an accounting then.
When the Brotherhood comes to power though they are not magnanimous in victory. They use the power to grind their enemies further into the dust and they have no intention of submitting themselves to a future democratic process. The Brotherhood takes the view that temporary power should be used to assure permanent power.
In that kind of environment you cannot have democracy because democracy requires a willingness to give up power, which in turn requires that the departing leader and party have confidence that they will not be persecuted and will have the opportunity to seek power again in the future.
Morsi in office was clearly bedding himself in. Top generals were sacked; a purge of the civil service was carried out, and he rewrote the constitution to give himself more power. Democracy was leaving the building. The fact that he fairly openly endorsed the killing of Jews and reneged on a promise to appoint a Christian as vice-president did not help his cause.
The coup, when it came, was "Made in America". It would not have happened without a nod from the US administration. The army needs its annual $1.5bn donation. The good things it gives its people are not free. The Brotherhood is strong in America, but not stronger than the Jewish lobby - so the green light was given when asked for.
Arabs are in fact completely incompatible with democracy. There are no democratic Arabs nations. This is not a criticism of Arabs though, they are as they are, but democracy is a European invention and does not work for Arabs. Time and time again we see that Arabs can only live peacefully under a "strong man". When Saddam Hussein was removed from Iraq the country did not embrace a democratic future - it turned to self-destruction. The same happens to any Arab nation which has its strong leader removed. We should not bemoan the lack of democracy in an Arab nation - their options are only tyranny or chaos. Tyranny is the better choice. This is the nature of the Arab. Remember that Islam teaches that man-made law is forbidden, only God can give law to man. And Islam is not the word of God - it is an Arab-made religion; made by them, to suit them. Its tenets are not alien to them - they are exactly what the Arabs want.
The choices in Egypt are now: Western-friendly military dictatorship, or Islamic theocracy. And which ever side wins will expunge the other. If the West is tentative in its support of the army the Brotherhood will not be broken in spirit, nor wooed over by bribes and a full-scale civil war will erupt.
This would naturally bankrupt the nation whose most significant earning power comes from foreign tourists visiting their pyramids and beaches, Westerners do not holiday in war zones.
The army may sound like the bad guys, but they are the better option.