Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday showed no signs of bowing to military demands that he institute sweeping reforms or resign.
Giant crowds of Egyptians waved flags and cheered as the military's 11 a.m. (EST) deadline passed for Morsi to adhere to its "road map" to reinstitute stability in the Egypt. Its plan includes replacing Morsi with an interim leader, dissolving the Islamist-based constitution and holding elections in a year.
The hundreds of thousands of protesters, along with governments worldwide, now brace for what could become a standoff between the president and the military.
Morsi gave a last-minute statement shortly before the deadline expired in which he called for a coalition to solve the fledgling government's political crisis, reports Al-Jazeera, though he did not offer any new compromises.
The president outlined his own road map in a July 2 speech, which calls for the creation of a coalition government and a committee to reform the constitution.
"There is no alternative to the constitutional legitimacy and to the constitution," Morsi said in a televised address, reported by CNN. "I will not allow for anyone to say things that will violate this legitimacy or to take steps that will shake up it up."
"If the price of upholding this legitimacy is my own blood, I am, therefore, ready to sacrifice my blood for this country and its stability," he said. Morsi issued a statement on the president's official Facebook page in which he called for greater dialogue with the military to help institute a coalition government to preserve Egypt's fragile democracy.
The American embassy in Cairo, among other embassies, remains closed on Wednesday, and it recommends Americans stay away from the areas of protest. Hundreds of thousands have poured into Tahrir Square, the seat of the 2011 revolution that forced autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak from power.
In 2012, Morsi became the first democratically elected leader since the end of Mubarak's reign.
A U.S. State Department spokesman says Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with the Egyptian foreign minister Tuesday afternoon.
The end result in Egypt remains unclear if the military ousts Morsi from power, which could be interpreted as staging a coup. Defense spokesman George Little declined to comment Tuesday on Pentagon options in the case of a local military overthrow.
"We've taken steps to ensure our military is ready to respond to a range of contingencies," Little told reporters.
A 500-Marine quick response force is currently deployed to Italy and Spain to react to another Benghazi, Libya-like attack. The Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response team from Camp Lejeune, N.C., arrived at Moron Air Base in Spain earlier in May when tensions heightened in Egypt, reports Stars & Stripes. Some of the Marines have since been relocated to Naval Air Station in Sigonella, Sicily.
The U.S. government severed formal relations with Mali following a coup d'etat there in March 2012 that ousted the democratically elected government, in accordance with international law.
Private intelligence firm Stratfor believes Egyptian military officers do not have a strong enough position to follow through on their threats.
"Morsi and the Brotherhood may have found a weak point in the military's position and are trying to leverage it in an effort to get out of a very difficult situation," according to a report Stratfor issued Tuesday. "Morsi's calculus is that even though the army has set a deadline, it is unlikely that the military will have the nerve to remove Egypt's first democratically elected president.
"In essence, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are gambling with the mandate they feel they received in the 2012 elections, invoking their electoral legitimacy in the face of the military's attempts at strong-arming them."
The Egyptian economy never fully recovered from the 2011 revolution and remains unstable. Domestic outrage grew more feverish earlier this year when Morsi endorsed the harsh police response to a series of violent clashes with protesters.