A deadly gamble: Egypt's Salafists may now regret support for military

“They gambled, and obviously they are losing,” says Khalil al-Anani, an expert on Islamist politics and a fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C., referring to the Nour Party’s decision to back Morsi’s removal. “The military used them to pass the coup, and they aimed to achieve some political gains, but obviously they are not.” As for those Salafist organizations that sided with Morsi, al-Anani says, “if they not arrested, they will be marginalized and excluded.”

“The state’s plan is to ban Islamic parties or exclude them from the political process,” he adds. The Prime Minister in the current government, Hazem el-Beblawi, on Saturday proposed legally dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood, a measure that, al-Anani says, would not end the group as a vast and deeply rooted social movement…

Another group that has sided with the Brotherhood is the Watan (Homeland) Party, a group founded by Emad Abdel-Ghafour and 150 other members who resigned from Nour in January. Watan, which does not identify as Salafist but rather as a party with a vaguely defined “Islamic reference” and a centrist, technocratic ethos, has joined the Anticoup Alliance, the main umbrella group mobilizing against the military-backed government.