President Obama’s gamble in Egypt – that stability would follow after tolerating the military coup that brought President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to power – could soon become a failure.

Egypt’s Arab Spring forced out President Hosni Mubarak through popular pressure. Subsequent elections put in office Mohammed Morsi, head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. But Egypt’s military, led by el-Sissi, was impatient at no longer heading the government and overthrew Morsi. Field Marshal el-Sissi was elected president with a claimed 97 percent of the vote.

Because of the coup, the United States was required by law to cut off its $1.3 billion in annual military aid. It didn’t, however, in hopes that military rule would ensure a stable government for Egypt, which shares a border with Israel.

The el-Sissi government is now being challenged by Islamic dissidents in the Sinai peninsula and by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has gone back underground.

Obama’s policy toward Egypt has not been principled or soundly based, given el-Sissi’s coup and the charges of abuses in the Sinai. It may not be too late for a sharp change of course, however, before popular-based opposition or the Islamists in the Sinai – or both – force a change in Egypt that would provide neither stability nor pro-American policies.