Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi's order yesterday to reconvene the dissolved Parliament certainly appears to throw down the gauntlet in a challenge to the military, though so far the military response has been unclear while the Supreme Constitutional Court has reaffirmed that its decision is binding on all state authorities.
There are a few pundits suggesting that the decree actually represents a compromise with SCAF; Morsi called back the dissolved Parliament but not for a full four-year term; rather he called for new elections as soon as the new constitution is written, But if the decree represented a secret deal with SCAF, that is far from apparent so far, and the simplest explanation seems to be that Morsi has elected to move the presumably inevitable test of strength between the elected President and the military forward to his first days in office.
Yet Morsi and Field Marshal Tantawi appeared together today at a military graduation ceremony without outward indications of conflict.
The election of Morsi was seen by some as avoiding a constitutional crisis if SCAF had been perceived as rigging the election outcome; but another type of constitutional crisis, one involving a head-on clash between the executive and the judiciary with the military presumably siding with the latter. Already some of the legal arguments are centering around whether SCAF was acting in an executive or legislative capacity when it moved to enforce the court decree, since presumably Morsi has now inherited SCAF's executive but not its legislative powers.
Once again Egypt shows its ability to have a constitutional crisis despite the impediment of not currently having a constitution.
And once again Marc Lynch's greatest contribution to political theory, the "Calvinball" model of Egyptian politics, proves to be prescient.
UPDATE: Michele Dunne on "Morsi's Counter Coup."