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UAE & Saudi $8 Billion Counterpunch in Egypt


The de facto Qatar-Turkey alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has been hit by a powerful counterpunch from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who have jointly promised $8 billion in aid for Egypt’s new government.

Qatar had been hoping to ride the Islamist tide to greater regional power and influence, giving about $8 billion to President Morsi during his year in office. Qatar also gave generously to Libyan militias and the Syrian rebels despite objections from Washington and Riyadh. Unfortunately for Qatar, its record of accomplishments in Libya and Syria is thin, and its Egyptian clients turned out not be good at the job.

The Saudis and Emiratis, by contrast, “are deeply hostile to the Brotherhood’s Islamist-cum-democratic agenda, which they see as a threat both to their own monarchical legitimacy and to regional stability,” and they were thrilled by the Egyptian military’s decision to oust Morsi, as Robert Worth reports for the New York Times. Both countries signaled their satisfaction with the change of scene with $8 billion in aid and loans.

Obama had tacitly aligned the US with the Turks and Morsi; the Saudis apparently weren’t very happy with that and are conducting a regional diplomacy that isn’t at all aligned with the US approach. In a sense, the Saudis have won a victory over the Obama administration as much as they have over the Qataris. The US has not exactly covered itself in glory.

[Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (L) and Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani (R) photo courtesy of Getty Images]

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  • Thirdsyphon

    In your haste to breathlessly spin absolutely every development in the world as a rebuke to President Obama, you appear to have forgotten your own past analysis.
    In the distant, long-forgotten world of 11 days ago, Morsi was a brutal theocrat whose ascent to power was a ringing indictment of Obama’s naive support for democratic rule in a country where a free and fair election could have easily been foreseen to result in Islamists hostile to the United States gaining power.
    And hostile they were, if your posts from the antedeluvian epoch of June 2013 are to be believed. . . in your analysis, Morsi was forever scheming and plotting to undermine Israel, humiliate America, murder tourists, and promote military interventions against the Syrian regime (not quite sure why you were opposed to that last one, since you’re in favor of intervention against Assad by the United States and Europe). Even his decision to close some tunnels into Gaza was framed, here, as a disastrous blow to American interests. . . although in retrospect you must surely see that it was in fact a desperate attempt by a tottering regime to prevent the U.S. from giving it a helpful shove in the direction of utter collapse.
    So: now that Morsi’s Islamist regime, which was so antithetical to the U.S., and whose rise was painted here as such a terrible blunder in U.S. foreign policy has collapsed, and that collapse has been supported by Islamic theocratic monarchies. . . . somehow *this* is an even worse disaster for Obama?
    You’re treading close to the borders of self-parody here, WRM. . . If you’ll forgive me a bit of wordplay on the name of your blog, not *all* roads inevitably lead to Rome.

    • Nick Bidler

      It is possible to complain about ‘bad’ and also complain about ‘worse,’ sir.

      • Thirdsyphon

        Agreed. It’s a whole world of frying pans and fires out there. . . but it’s hard to take analysis seriously when it’s apparent that *any* outcome in Egypt would have been portrayed as the worst one possible. If Morsi had clung to power in the face of the coup, it would have been painted as a further sign of Obama’s naivete: he advocated against dictatorship at the risk of promoting Islamism and instead he got both. Or if there had been no coup at all, we’d still be reading about how Morsi’s government continues to thrive in spite of America’s best, feeble efforts to weaken it. Or if Mubarrak had survived the Tahrir Square uprising, we’d be dutifully subjected to periodic screeds about how Obama missed his chance to bring about democratic change and now we have to suffer the consequenses of Obama’s hand-wringing indecisiveness.

        • f1b0nacc1

          One reason why Obama has taken heat here (and elsewhere) is that in the past (when he had no responsibility as a junior backbencher) he pretended that the only reason why HIS policies weren’t adopted were the stupidity or bad motives of those who chose not to implement them. Then suddenly when he had responsibility, he not only didn’t do better, he dithered endlessly while not doing better. More to the point, his colossal vanity makes it impossible for him to even accept responsiblity for the outcomes.
          I agree that regarding Morsi and the Army, there was probably very little that the US could do that would work out well for us…fair point. With that said, Obama was far too enthusiastic about cutting an imperfect ally (Mubarrak) loose to the cheers of the mob without very much attention paid to the consequences. A similar complaint might be made regarding Lbya and/or Syria, where Barry O let his three witches at State lead him to perfectly disastrous interventions.

  • Pete

    Let the rich Arab petro-states pour money intro Egypt.. The U.S. should NOT.

  • wigwag

    For about the past year the ubiquitous Prince Bandar (former Egyptian Ambassador to the United States and close friend of the Bush family) has been the head of the Saudi Intelligence service. He undoubtedly played a major role in delivering the billions that Egypt so desperately needs. The fact that this all makes the Muslim Brotherhood look bad is a plus for Bandar and the Saudis.

    The irony is that Bandar is doing a better job of looking out for American interests than Obama, Biden, Kerry or the congressional republican neocons.

    Maybe Obama should replace Kerry with Bandar.

    • neshobanakni

      Hear, hear!

  • Jim__L

    Could VM publish an infographic of the region noting the alliances and factions in this fight?

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