Reports of Morsi under house arrest and dead-of-night roundups of senior Muslim Brotherhood figures hardly seemed conducive to peace and reconciliation between Egypt's polarized factions.
Western diplomats and conservative pundits have been quick to bury the "coup" word. What happened in Cairo late Wednesday wasn't a junta seizing power for the generals, they argue, but a move to save Egypt from the disorder that has paralyzed industry, boosted inflation, worsened fuel shortages and scared away foreign visitors from the pyramids, Nile River cruises and Red Sea resorts.
But this time, the armed forces chief making the announcement that the president had been removed from power was flanked by top religious, political and social leaders, lending an aura of consensus and inclusion to the outcome.
"The hard-core Islamists are feeling very alienated now. They feel that their victory was hijacked," Elmenshawy said. "But they aren't revolutionaries. They don't like to fight. They didn't fight for 50 years, even when Mubarak strongly repressed them."
He expressed concern, though, that the "unfortunately celebratory" mood of Egyptian friends with whom he had spoken after Morsi's ouster was premature, given the rough road ahead to get a more stable government for roiling Egypt.
Whether Wednesday's dramatic execution of regime change will produce a more representative and secular government will depend on what amendments are made to the suspended constitution and, more important, who in the yet-to-be-named transitional leadership makes them.