Egypt's Brotherhood faces double backlash

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CAIRO — Egypt’s powerful Islamists on Monday faced a backlash on two fronts as they try to solidify their hold on the country’s politics, as liberal politicians quit a panel tasked with drafting a new constitution to protest its domination by Islamists.

More ominously, the ruling military issued a veiled threat of a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood if the group persisted in demands to form a new government.

The warning pointed to a growing possibility of confrontation between the Brotherhood and the military, which emerged as Egypt’s two most powerful institutions since the fall of longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak a year ago. For months, they have moved between cooperating and jostling for position.

But the Brotherhood appears to be growing in confidence over its position. The group holds nearly half the seats in parliament, making it the largest bloc — and its strength grows even more on some issues in which it is backed by the second-largest bloc, the ultraconservative Islamic Salafis.

Published on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 as: Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt faces dual opposition