While President Mohamed Morsi, with the help of two Muslim Brotherhood aides, was holding tough negotiations with representatives of the armed forces' general command regarding nationwide opposition demands for early presidential elections, news was delivered to the defence minister's office about increased violence on the ground.
Informed sources told Ahram Online that there were two options before President Morsi and his group: the first was to agree to bow to opposition demands for early presidential elections and thus be granted safe exit for himself and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership – who might otherwise face charges ranging from the illicit acquisition of weapons to incitement of violence against innocent civilians and espionage – or resist opposition demands and live with a second scenario, by which the army would bow to opposition demands to "rescue the country" by holding a joint meeting between political figures and the armed forces leadership to draft a plan for political transition.
According to one source, the president "was getting very close to agreeing, but declined following consultations with the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood."
Another source told Ahram Online that there were a few hours left for the president to change his mind. "At any event, he is under house arrest and in the next few hours many of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood could well be under house arrest as well if a deal is not struck and if the incitement to violence continues."
Foreign diplomats told Ahram Online that key Western capitals called on Morsi to bow to opposition demands and on the army to refrain from playing a role in the management of the state. One said: "Serious assurances were offered that the army are not to rule."
The key point that the West was making sure to pass on to Cairo’s effective rulers today is that things should not look like a military coup. The Muslim Brotherhood leadership, including President Morsi himself and his two foreign affairs aides Essam El-Hadad and Pakinam El-Sharkawy, were tweeting messages to suggest that the president was being subject to a coup.
For their part, opposition leaders called on the West to "stop defending" Morsi who is faced with "unprecedented contempt."
One opposition leader told Ahram Online that he had told Washington that the US was being "disliked in an unprecedented way in Egyptian liberal quarters, which see US support for Morsi as an attempt to keep a president who does not have the support of his people but who is serving the interests of the US."
In the words of a highly informed source, "It is a matter of a few days, three days at the most, before the dust settles."