Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Egypt no friend of the Gulf say prominent Saudis


Several Saudi academics and journalists have publicly criticised the Egyptian government and President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi on social media and in opinion articles amidst suggestions of deteriorating relationship.
Leading figures in Saudi Arabia have said that Egypt's unclear position towards Syria and Iran as well as its hesitance to fall in line with the Kingdom's foreign policy are signs the tides will soon turn between the two long-time allies.

Nawaf Obaid, a prominent Saudi security expert and previous advisor to the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the UK, Prince Muhammad bin Nawaf, published a series of tweets based on information and opinion from an unnamed Saudi diplomat on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia is seriously considering re-evaluating its relations with the Sisi government in Egypt after recently finding out shocking news about Sisi,said Dr Obaid.

Egypt wants its relationship with Saudi Arabia to be vague and susceptible to change
- Khalid al-Dakhil, political sociology professor
"Egypt's economic situation is unsustainable and Sisi's absurd foreign policy is forcing Saudi Arabia to change directions," he added.

The Saudi academic said that Sisi and his "cronies" have delusions of grandeur regarding Egypt's current standing the Arab world, which were turning into a "tragic comedy".

He cited a former Egyptian military general as saying: "If Sisi does not wake up and sack his incompetent advisors he will soon have the same fate as Mubarak", adding that in his opinion, Sisi's Egypt was no friend of any Gulf state.

Also slamming the Sisi government was veteran journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has long been an advocate for a Turkish-Saudi alliance to tackle Iranian influence in the region.

Khashoggi has been a constant focus of attacks by the Egyptian media, whenever he criticises Sisi or advocates strengthening ties with Turkey.

"There is a major crisis going on in Egypt, which its allies in the Gulf do not want to admit," Khashoggi said in a speech at the Arabic Book Fair in Istanbul mid-November, according to al-Araby al-Jadeed's Arabic service.

See Also: Saudi Arabia and Egypt: friends or foes?

"This crisis will end up in one of two ways, either young people will take to the streets again with lots of blood being spilt or they will be pushed towards extremism and joining the Islamic state group or other similar organisations," he added.

     Khashoggi has been a focus of attacks by the Egyptian media [Getty]
Khashoggi wrote an op-ed in the London-based pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat in November titled "Save Egypt", in which he questioned Egypt's position towards Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the reasons for the low turnout in elections.

"Why does the [Egyptian government] support Assad staying in power and the Russian air raids? Why does it not see the threat of Assad coming out victorious with the aid of Iranian spears, which would mean Iranian dominance in Syria?," he asked.

"Egyptians' extreme apathy towards the parliamentary elections is a clear sign that something is wrong, it is a silent cry of protest not yet a revolution or street demonstration," he added.

Saudi professor of political sociology Khalid al-Dakhil also wrote a column piece in al-Hayat in November.

Adding his voice to what appears to be growing vocal Saudi discontent with the Egyptian government, he blamed Egypt for the recent low point in relations between the two countries.

"Egypt is the reason. Egypt wants its relationship with Saudi Arabia to be vague and susceptible to change. This is because Egypt has lost its role in the region and dreams of recovering it, and this is the only way it thinks it can do that," Dakhil said.

Dakhil said that Egypt wants to receive financial aid from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf but it does not want this aid to force it in line with their interests.

He said the most important aspects of Gulf interests that Egypt has rejected are pushing for an exit for Assad and tackling Iranian influence in the region.

"Iran has spread the concept of sectarian militias as rivals to the state in the Arab world under the false slogan of resistance movements," the professor added.

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