Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: The GCC, Egypt, and the Brotherhood Media Machine | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE (R), shaking hands with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L), at the aAl-Mushrif Palace, Abu Dhabi, on January 18, 2015. (EPA/OFFICE OF EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT )

During this critical stage there are many who are angered by any closeness or cooperation between Egypt and the Gulf states. There are also those who stand by the Muslim Brotherhood and its “accessories after the fact,” the “revolutionary set” among Egypt’s youth. They would all do well to follow closely the Brotherhood’s media campaign against Egypt that seeks to mislead people around the world regarding the real events happening in the country.

Those behind this campaign are currently doing all they can to destabilize the relationship between Egypt and the Gulf states, and to fan the flames of sectarianism in the region, whether via alleged leaked recordings or through outright, brazen lies. The most recent example of this came last week when it was said that Saudi Arabia, along with the “bulk” of the Gulf states, had abandoned Egypt on its mission to implement the political road map drafted following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi in 2013.

However, Saudi Arabia has through the latest comments offered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and the Kingdom’s own ambassador to Egypt, reiterated its support for Cairo in the most unequivocal way. Despite this, however, the Brotherhood’s seductive media machine continues to wage its smear campaign against Egypt.

During this time when Egypt is fighting a war against terror—on two fronts, no less: in Libya to its east, and in Sinai in the west (along with everything in between)—it is incumbent upon us who care about Egypt to tread carefully, for one misstep here or there could inadvertently aid the Brotherhood’s agenda, giving this or that story or rumor or piece of disinformation more weight than it actually deserves, and leading those with less than discerning minds to fall prey to this pro-Brotherhood propaganda.

As I have said before in this newspaper, from the Gulf point of view the relationship with Cairo is based on mutual interests that benefit, first, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the other Gulf states—before benefiting the rest of the Arab states. The current region-wide war against terror as well as efforts to protect stability and promote peace in the region, and develop the region’s economies, are all goals shared by Egypt and most countries in the Gulf. But such goals will never be fulfilled if this international Qutbist organization, with its dream of reestablishing the Caliphate, held power anywhere in the region. When it did, in Egypt, it was unceremoniously booted out by the Egyptian people after only a year in power, in front of the whole world to see.

This is the truth. What, then, can change it?

At this point it is worth pausing briefly to consider what was published yesterday in this very newspaper regarding the statements made by the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani. A source with knowledge of the situation told Asharq Al-Awsat that the first statement—which castigated Egypt for accusations made by its Arab League delegate that Qatar supported extremist groups in the region—had been issued “unilaterally” and did “not represent the full view” of the GCC’s members. The source, who requested anonymity, added that the statement was likely issued “in haste,” and reiterated the GCC’s full support for Egypt and its people.

Of course upon the release of the first statement the Brotherhood’s media machine went into full overdrive. But the statement was quickly retracted by the GCC, which issued an additional one that was more in line with its well-known supportive stance toward Cairo.

Regardless of the truth of what actually happened here, in the end the furor surrounding this incident simply turned out to be yet another opportunity for the Gulf countries to deepen and strengthen their relationship with Egypt, with the efforts of those seeking to destabilize the relationship falling by the wayside yet again.

What these would-be saboteurs can’t seem to understand is that the alliance between the Gulf and Egypt is not a matter of choice; it is an unshakable necessity.