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Opinion: Egypt is being targeted | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A handout picture released by the Egyptian presidency on June 20, 2014 shows Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (L) meeting with Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz (R), at Cairo airport on June 20, 2014. (AFP Photo)

It has become abundantly clear in recent days that Egypt is being targeted, and on a number of different levels. What is also clear is that since the passing of Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz and the assumption to the throne of his successor, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Saudi–Egyptian relations have also been the target of a deliberate media campaign seeking to sour these relations.

At the moment in Egypt numerous terrorist operations are attacking the country’s armed forces, its backbone and the only force in the country that was able to stand up to the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan to seize control of the Egyptian state for its own ends. What is happening in Egypt right now, in terms of the terrorist attacks, is an attempt to both convince the world that Egypt is in a state of complete chaos, and an attempt to stymie progress in the country by showing that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is failing to bring order. Moreover, and this is even more dangerous, there is an ongoing attempt to provoke the Egyptian army into escalating its response to the attacks—which will no doubt raise tensions on the domestic front, and draw in the usual condemnations from the international community.

Another point of attack—and one which proves that Egypt is very much currently in somebody’s crosshairs—began right after the death of King Abdullah. This particular media campaign wants you to believe that the position taken by Saudi Arabia toward Egypt will now shift drastically, that there will even be rapprochement between the Kingdom and the Brotherhood, along with other outright lies. The truth here is that Saudi–Egyptian relations are not personal in nature, but have since the time of the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz Al Saud, may God bless him, been based on mutual interests between one nation and another, also completely taking into account Egypt’s revered status in the Arab consciousness. This is completely in line with King Salman’s outlook, and this is confirmed by all those who have heard him speak on the subject.

For me, an even better illustration of the nature of Saudi–Egyptian relations can be shown by the famous story about Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna, who asked King Abdulaziz if he could open a branch for the group inside the Kingdom. The King’s immortal response was of course to refuse this request with the eloquently curt: “We are all Muslim brothers.”

So, we can see once again that Saudi–Egyptian relations are not personal, and therefore not subject to any of the points of weakness which such relationships suffer from; moreover, they cannot be weakened by a mere newspaper column or television program. For years, decades even, there have been ruthless attempts to damage this relationship; but all have totally failed, unable to have any effect, whether negative or positive, on this strong, unshakable bond. What has become clear over decades is that the Kingdom’s Royal House is unique in terms of its political outlook. Moreover, its relationship with Egypt is not driven by even one molecule of emotion; it has always been one of mutual interests, with regional security and stability always at the top of the agenda. Here it is perhaps pertinent to remember the relationship between two late, great leaders of the Arab world: King Faisal Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and president Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, may God bless them both.

So, then, there is a clear, organized and deliberate military, security, political and media campaign under way right now against Egypt, with one of its aims being to shake the relationship between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. But whoever is behind this scheme is simply dreaming; for the changes that have recently been made in Egypt can never be unmade again, as the true catalyst here was the Egyptian people themselves, not an external force or direction. It is enough to remember that Washington itself did not bless the latest political change in Egypt but could do nothing in response because the entire Egyptian population, and the Kingdom and the UAE, stood firmly behind it.

Egypt is not just for the Egyptians; it is for all Arabs—though only for the rational among them; the fools can stay away.