THE stand-off between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and opponents of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi is distressing and dangerous. The world saw a vision of a new Middle East when people from across Egypt's diverse society protested and worshipped alongside one another last year in defiance of Hosni Mubarak's regime.
Those at the forefront of the push for an end to the dictatorship had high hopes that different factions could work together in a democracy where human rights were cherished.
Similar aspirations were expressed in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq by opponents of Saddam Hussein who predicted a swift transformation of the country.
Iraq sank into an orgy of sectarian killing and scenes of violence, and reports of torture in Egypt will stir fears that social collapse or a return to dictatorship are real possibilities.
The brutal killings in Syria demonstrate the horrific realities of civil war. If President Morsi wants to go down in history as a great leader he must avert such a possibility by uniting Egypt through an unwavering commitment to justice at this time of national transition.
Such a task is monumental in scope and the historical precedents are daunting. In Iran, moderates and Marxists alike were ousted post-revolution and Shah's dictatorship was replaced with a draconian theocracy; the break-up of Yugoslavia …