In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

No Saudi love lost for Egypt’s Morsi

Posted by seumasach on August 15, 2012


15th August, 2012

The thesis that the politics of the Middle East is all about the “rivalry” between Saudi Arabia and Iran falls apart in the quicksands of Egypt’s politics. Egypt is a Sunni country which doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Iran. And it has been traditionally a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia. Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been vassal states of the United States for the past few decades.

But the equations are changing although both Egypt and Saudi Arabia will forever remain Sunni countries. The high probability is that Egypt’s president Mohammed Morsi will attend the NAM summit in Tehran en-August and the visit will herald a normalisation of political and diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Again, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni movement. Yet, Iran has kept up good relations with Egypt’s Brothers. On the other hand, despite MB being a Sunni movement, Saudi regime has had a tempestuous ‘relationship’ with the Brothers, which was at times quite violent.
Consider the following. Last Sunday, Morsi moved decisively against the Egyptian top brass and asserted the civilian supremacy. Iran seems pleased with the ascendancy of the elected leadership in Cairo. But, amazingly, Saudi Arabia takes a dim view. The Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awasat has a nasty opinion piece by its editor-in-chief on Morsi’s consolidation of power.
It says Morsi is becoming a dictator and that goes against the spirit of the Egyptian revolution, apart from posing a “threat” to the Egyptian nation. Yes, “herein lies the danger” — that the Sunni-dominated Islamist leadership in Cairo is consolidating political power!

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