Like Mr. Shafiq, Mr. Anan is neither an Islamist nor a liberal democrat, the two categories of political activist most viciously repressed by the current regime. Rather, Mr. Sisi is demonstrating that he will not tolerate electoral competition even from other members of the ruling military establishment.
It’s no wonder that two retired senior generals would offer themselves as alternatives to Mr. Sisi. That his response is to arrest them shows his insecurity about his own position; the strongman’s base is steadily eroding.
Without the support of much of the military elite — itself an isolated minority in Egypt — Mr. Sisi stands little chance of addressing the country’s worsening domestic problems or defeating the Islamic State . That makes him not a friend but a liability for the United States.