CAIRO -- Egypt's ruling military and protesters seeking greater and faster change are moving into an outright collision, as the generals try to strip away public support for the movement while cozying up to the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.
Youth activists are not backing down, betting that Egyptians' dissatisfaction with the military's running of the country will grow.
The generals, in power since the February ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, have launched an intensified media campaign against the protest activists, depicting them as a troublemaking minority and agents paid by foreign governments to grab power in an apparent attempt to turn the public against them. The message could have some appeal among Egyptians growing tired of continued unrest and fragile security.
At the same time, the military is cultivating ties with the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which joined liberal and leftist youth in the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak but has since split with them on multiple issues. By cultivating the Brotherhood, the generals can take advantage of their large popular support base to counter the young protesters' influence.