The Muslim Brotherhood is unwilling to give up on its confrontation with the Egyptian military for two reasons: it doubts that the military is unified in favor of the ongoing crackdown and it knows that it can count on its legions of members to continue risking death to protest. The Brothers are likely right about both, but that does not mean that they will win.
The Muslim Brotherhood now controls Egypt's parliament and presidency. But there is a catch: most of its power exists in name only. Rather than confront its enemies head-on, the Brotherhood will aim for calm in the short run so that it can win more authority in the future.
The disqualification of ten candidates from Egypt's presidential race, including the Muslim Brotherhood nominee, has convinced the Brotherhood that the military is conspiring against it to win the election. It's now attempting to grab power from the army and threatening to take to the streets -- potentially sparking a new round in Egypt's revolution.
Protests have erupted in Tahrir Square again, but don't expect a second revolution. Egypt's still-popular military rulers have contained the dwindling demonstrations, historic elections are underway, and everyday life in Cairo continues. Still, if the SCAF fails to deliver on its promises to cede power by July, it will face much greater unrest.
To understand the Brotherhood's prospects in Egypt's upcoming elections, one has to understand the organization itself. This intensely disciplined operation has an intricate system for recruitment and promotion and a devoutly loyal membership -- one likely to triumph at the polls and move Egypt in a decidedly theocratic, anti-Western direction.
As protests continue in Egypt, both sides -- the protesters in the streets and the Mubarak regime -- are wondering exactly which side the Egyptian military is supporting. Does the army hold the key to the country's political endgame?
This article appears in the Foreign Affairs/CFR eBook, The New Arab Revolt.