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International diplomatic efforts have failed to break the impasse between the military-backed government and the Brotherhood. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina all have tried to negotiate a settlement.

Hard-liners in the so-called June 30 camp, named for the day the anti-Morsi uprising started, and in the Muslim Brotherhood are seen as the stumbling blocks to any deal that would lead Egypt out of the political crisis.

Any deal could be a long time coming.

“Revolutions like this have a tendency to play out over a period of several years,” said Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.