The fallout from the ousting and detention of Mohammed Morsy continues to polarise Egypt’s stakeholders across the region and beyond. The Gulf states in particular — Qatar excluded — have been quick to assert their geopolitical heft in post-Morsy Egypt, pledging sorely-needed multibillion dollar aid packages.
Despite ruling a conservative Islamic society, underpinned by sharia law, Saudi’s leaders have jumped on the ousting of Mr. Morsy and his Muslim Brotherhood constituency, offering $ 5billion in aid and loans in recent weeks. The rush to offer charity stands in contrast to the past year, when next to nothing flowed from Riyadh’s coffers to Mr. Morsy’s government. The democratic process that brought Mr. Morsy to power was not welcomed by Riyadh, where revolt and insurrection across the region have been perceived in some quarters as a potential trickle-on threat to the kingdom.
United Arab Emirates and Kuwait
Both have also enthusiastically welcomed the fledgling regime. The UAE has pledged $ 3billion in aid, a mix of deposits, grants and support for Egypt’s gas and oil sector. Kuwait has structured its support in a similar fashion. Abu Dhabi and Kuwait had been at best deeply suspicious of the Brotherhood movement, and uncomfortable with political Islam generally. Their support of the coup, led by General Sisi, is being seen in many quarters as an endorsement of a return to a more traditional authoritarian structure in Egypt. Including the Saudi package, $ 12billion has been pledged in less than a month.
Doha has lost a significant constituency with the Brotherhood’s exit from power, having swung its formidable petro-wealth wholeheartedly behind Mr. Morsy, the only Arab state to offer such support. Qatar’s support for Mr. Morsy came at the same time as its funding and arming of the Syrian opposition, an effort that has favoured Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and added to the clout it wields in the Sunni Islamic world. The status of aid donations from Qatar, in motion before the July 3, 2013 coup, remains unclear. Qatar’s displeasure is not.
In January 2011, Barack Obama had stayed true to a George W. Bush pledge of 2006 to invert U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, which for 60 years had valued stability over democracy. When Hosni Mubarak was wavering, Obama was scorned by the old guard — especially Saudi Arabia — for not standing by him. This time around, Obama is in the sights of both sides, accused by anti-Morsy followers of backing terrorists and by pro-Morsy supporters of turning his back on democracy. Washington still refuses to call an armed overthrow of a democratically elected government, the detention of its leaders, shutdown of its media outlets and killing of its supporters, a coup. There is no doubt that the events of the past three weeks have large popular support, which is arguably just as relevant as results at the ballot box a year ago. This gives the White House some political room to not denounce what has taken place, instead placing on hold four war planes that are part of an annual $ 1.3billion aid in kind package delivered every year since the Camp David peace accord between Egypt and Israel in 1978.
Rest of the region
The Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, was quick out of the blocks on the night of Mr. Morsy’s fall, claiming that it was a rejection of political Islam. Self-interest here was paramount, with the Muslim Brotherhood playing a prominent role in the armed and political opposition that continues to threaten his regime. His remarks struck a chord in parts of the region that had been uncomfortable with the rise of such a powerful political force. Turkey, where the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is strongly supportive of the Brotherhood, has remained largely mute.
© Guardian News Service