Sauds Side With Egyptian Millitary

Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has issued a statement about what’s going on in Egypt:

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz announced on Friday that the kingdom supports Egypt in its fight “against terrorism.”

King Abdullah said Egypt’s stability is being targeted by “haters,” warning that anyone interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs is “igniting sedition.” King Abdullah added that Egypt is able to cross to safety.

The Egyptian presidency hailed King Abdullah’s support, saying Egypt will “never” forget his “historic stance.”

Both Jordan and the UAE also praised King Abdullah’s support for the Egyptian government.

Saleh al-Qallab, a Jordanian political analyst, told Al Arabiya that Saudi Arabia will not leave the Egyptian military alone. “The situation in Egypt is very critical and Saudi Arabia has put itself on the right side of history,” he said.

Qallab added that King Abdullah had to “take a historical step and side with the correct form of Islam.”

as quoted in Al Arabiya The equations being presented are pretty straightforward. Egypt = Egypt’s military government. Terrorists = Muslim Brotherhood. Some have also said that the king is criticizing Western support for the Muslim Brotherhood, tepid as it may be.

There’s some basis for the king’s position. Egyptian authorities have arrested Mohammed al-Zawahri, the brother of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri,

More here:

Mohammed al-Zawahri’s group espouses a hard-line ideology but was not clandestine prior to Egypt’s July 3 coup. He was allied with ousted President Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist, whose supporters are now taking to the streets to protest the killings of its supporters in a security crackdown last week.

The official declined to give further details. He spoke anonymously as he was not authorized to talk to the press.

Authorities said earlier that al-Zawahri had commanded insurgents in Sinai Peninsula.

The news reports have some lacunae. For example, there’s no word on whether Mohammed al-Zawahri was fleeing Cairo or moving towards it. Or whether he’s as violent as his brother.

There really hasn’t been enough coverage of what’s been going on in the Sinai where there have been multiple armed attacks by Morsi supporters against the Egyptian military, somewhat cutting against the image of peaceful protest by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Quick Takes
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. There really hasn’t been enough coverage of what’s been going on in the Sinai where there have been multiple armed attacks by Morsi supporters against the Egyptian military, somewhat cutting against the image of peaceful protest by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

    The MB was peaceful up until the Egyptian Army began killing hundreds of unarmed people. Following that I’d consider them morally permitted to use violence against the military to defend themselves.

    The MB deserves to be condemned for attacking religious minority civilians. Their attacks on the military, however, are completely justified.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Terrorist activity in the Sinai goes back a lot farther than July 3. Violent actions by Morsi supporters against those who oppose them go back much farther than that as well and weren’t limited to attacks on Coptic Christian churches. For example, back on December 4 of last year Morsi supporters attacked an anti-Morsi demonstration. 10 people were killed.

  3. walt moffett says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Might want to read Egypt’s Morsi dispatches army to Sinai after suspected Islamists snatch soldiers from McClatchy. The Sinai problem is bit more complicated than self defense.

    Otherwise, not surprizing to see the Saudi’s step up, they see groups like the MB as threats.

  4. Matt Bernius says:

    @walt moffett:

    Otherwise, not surprizing to see the Saudi’s step up, they see groups like the MB as threats.

    Right. The House of Saud will do just about anything within its power to minimize the MB and other populist Islamist groups from getting a foothold in their country. It’s one of the reasons that they have become so effective at exporting their revolutionary class to other hot spots.

  5. David in KC says:

    At this point I am pretty much resigned to the fact that the entire are is going to continue to be one big Charlie Foxtrot. Mainly because we have royally screwed up the area. Just going as far back as WWII, we have installed and supported totalitarian regimes and are now surprised that there are now extremists on both sides of every conflict in the region? You want to “solve” the issues in the area? Find a viable replacement for fossil fuels and get the heck out. At that point, we provide humanitarian aid when needed, and help nurture democratic advances when they arise. But as long as we have a national security interest in the area, we are always going to be stuck between a rock and a rock every time something blows up.

  6. Pinky says:

    The Saudis like things stable. They like governments killing their own people, not killing neighbors. The Saudis are old money. They have no love for Israel, but as long as there are internal combustion engines, can’t we all just get along?

    You can understand the Muslim world completely if you played D&D. There are the chaotic evil jihadis, the lawful evil oppressors, and the true neutral reformers. Most of what happens in the Middle East is the jockeying for power between the first two groups, both of whom want to lead the next caliphate. The last group in large part has fled to the West, where their kids are becoming westerners or jihadis.

  7. DC Loser says:

    Ho hum. Saudis back the Egyptian military? The sky is blue.

    Which is why the Egyptian Army told us to take a hike. They have Saudi money backing them. Our piddly aid to them is squat compared to what the Saudis are going to give them.

  8. Dave Schuler says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    People seem to forget that Osama bin Laden was a Saudi remittance man.

  9. @Dave Schuler:

    Terrorist activity in the Sinai goes back a lot farther than July 3.

    Yes, but that is primarily Bedouin tribesmen who don’t support the central government, rather than MB supporters. So when the Egyptian military describes the current operation as a crackdown on the MB, they’re either being facile because they’re not actually attacking the MB, but want to blame them for unrelated militants, or they’re being facile by portraying the current operations as a continuation of previous ones when they’re entirely different in character.

  10. John Burgess says:

    @Matt Bernius: Actually, the Saudis are arresting those urging youths to go fight jihad in Egypt or Syria:

    Firebrand imam arrested after Eid sermon

  11. Matt Bernius says:

    @John Burgess:
    Interesting. This was your section of the world for a while when you were at State (?), correct?

    Does this represent a recent change in Saudi policy? Or did I have things wrong?

  12. Dave Schuler says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    John’s connections with the Middle East, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular, are broad and deep going back about a century (not just John personally but close associates). He’s fluent in Arabic and was assigned to the KSA for quite a while when he worked at State.

  13. John Burgess says:

    @Matt Bernius: Saudi policy has actually been against extremism, at least since the late 1930s, when it went to war against its own Ikhwan. It is tolerant of ultra-conservative interpretations of Islam and didn’t have a major problem with the MB in particular until around 2005 or so. Just what the MB did to lose their support, I’m not sure.

    Several years ago, the Saudi government pulled all the writing of Ibn Taymiyyah from all schools and public libraries, though they didn’t make bookstores pull them. Ibn Taymiyyah’s work largely inform the MB’s theories of politics.

  14. Tyrell says:

    Too bad General Allenby isn’t still around. He would have things under control.

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I am genuinely baffled by one aspect of this whole mess. (Well, actually, several, but this one is the most prominent right now.)

    When Muslims kill Jews, or at least try to, then it’s treated as no big deal. It’s routine.

    When Muslims kill Christians, it’s usually ignored. It’s simply not news.

    When Muslims kill Muslims, it’s occasionally news. Especially if the US can be tied to the side doing the killing.

    When non-Muslims kill Muslims, that usually makes big news.

    To apply it to Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was killing Muslims before and during their reign, and no one really said much. But when the military deposed them and the two factions started seriously fighting, then people started standing up for the Brotherhood. Even when th Brotherhood was killing poilce and military and terrorizing the Coptic Christians, that didn’t make much news or change many minds.

    WTF? I seriously don’t get it. The Egyptian mess shouldn’t be a partisan issue here in the US — hell, I can make compelling arguments for why liberals should be delighted at any misfortune to befall the Brotherhood. (Here’s a hint: look into their official policies and laws regarding women and gays.) But for some reason, those don’t seem to matter.

    Or, to use a rather trite phrase, this isn’t a matter of right and left, but Right and Wrong. The Brotherhood is clearly on the Wrong side. But it seems that since it’s conservatives who were first to speak out on it, they reflexively took the opposite side, and after the fact came up with rationalizations to justify their defense of the indefensible.

    Personally, if anyone who’s argued that “the Brotherhood won a fair election, so we should support them” who would like to reconsider and change their position, I pledge not to use that as a cudgel in future discussions.

  16. Matt Bernius says:

    @John Burgess:
    Thanks for that information. I have questions but they’ll have to wait for another day.