Friday, August 23, 2013

Saudis give Egypt ‘blank cheque’: Saudi Arabia and several conservative Gulf Emirates have pledged to support Egypt’s interim authorities as they continue their crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood

    Friday, August 23, 2013   No comments

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates – with the notable exception of Qatar – remain unfazed by last week’s bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, events that left around 1,000 people dead and many more wounded.

These conservative monarchies have voiced their support for the country’s army since it deposed the democratically-elected Islamist leader on July 3 and are maintaining their promise of financial support for the interim authorities despite severe international misgivings, especially in the West.

The European Union and the United States are pondering cutting off their financial aid to Egypt. But the Authorities in Cairo have the luxury of a blank cheque from the Saudis who say they are prepared to make up the shortfall of any drop in Western cash.

This promise follows a commitment, made well before the brutal crackdown on pro-Morsi sit-in camps across Egypt, by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to give the interim authorities in Cairo two billion dollars.

Not having to rely on Western support gives the Egyptian authorities far more leeway in continuing its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

“If General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi [head of the Egyptian army] has a sense of impunity in his dealings with the Brotherhood, this is all down to the blank cheque given him by the Saudis and the Gulf Emirates [ with the exception of Qatar]," Karim Sader, a political scientist and consultant on the Gulf states, told FRANCE 24. “It could wholly substitute any aid withdrawn or frozen by the EU.”

Last week, Saudi King Abdullah voiced his personal support for Egypt’s interim authorities in its battle against “terrorism and foreign influences”.

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