This website was one of the few to report that the Egyptian military’s forced removal of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi and his entire government was undertaken with the firm secret backing of Saudi Arabia and several Gulf oil states, directly in defiance of Washington’s agenda. Now Saudi King Abdullah has confirmed this in an open declaration of support for Egypt’s military action against what the King called “terrorists.” It is the most open declaration to date that there is a huge and deepening rift between Washington and the Saudis of a scale perhaps unprecedented since the 1945 agreements between US President Roosevelt and then King Ibn Saud.
In his official August 16 statement, King Abdullah declared, “The people and government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stood and still stand today with our brothers in Egypt against terrorism, extremism and sedition, and against whoever is trying to interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs…” So much for Obama’s call for “dialogue” between the army and the Brotherhood.
The Saudi support for Army head and Defense Minister General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, was immediately backed by Jordan and the Emirates. It came after several days of violent protests by the Muslim Brotherhood supporters in several Egyptian cities and hundreds of deaths in clashes between the military and Brotherhood backers demanding Morsi’s return. NATO governments, led by Washington at the same time have tried to increase pressure on the provisional government to reinstate Morsi and the “democratically elected” government.
The US cancelled joint military exercises with Egypt and warned that the “traditional” military ties with the US were at risk should the military refuse to budge. Angela Merkel phoned with French President Hollande on August 16 and both called for an EU “review” of relations with Egypt. What is clear in both EU and Washington reactions to date is that they are hard-pressed to do anything. The EU is hardly eager to inflame Saudi leaders into another oil embargo as was done in the October 1973 Yom Kippur war. Now the open backing by Saudi King Abdullah for the military crackdown creates an entirely new dimension to the crisis.
Erdogan’s high-risk dilemma
Most notable in this unfolding power struggle that now has taken international dimensions is the fact that one of the lone Islamic voices to condemn the Egyptian July 3 military intervention is Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. His government threatened to suspend relations with Egypt over the crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters. According to informed Turkish reports privately told to this writer, Erdogan’s AKP Islamist party, which is believed to be a sister of the Muslim Brotherhood, won the last election with the help of an alleged $10 billion Saudi “campaign contribution.”
Erdogan’s failure to act as Washington’s military proxy two years ago in the planned removal of Syria’s Bashar al Assad regime and its replacement by a Muslim Brotherhood one, has caused him major internal problems, including massive protests and calls for his dismissal in recent months. His siding against clear Saudi wishes to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood threat across the Islamic world will isolate him from one of his largest if not the largest financial contributors.
With seething unrest across Turkey in protest over the latest sentencing of some 200 trade union leaders, retired Turkish generals and prominent journalists to exceedingly severe jail terms for allegations of “conspiracy” to create a coup against the Erdogan AKP rule, that Islamic “model” of Washington is rapidly becoming unstable.
The war in Syria, which now is openly being waged by affiliates of al Qaeda and de facto with US support, has been a major setback for the Washington Muslim Brotherhood strategy of regime change across the Islamic world. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the largest financial backer of the war against Syria’s Assad and sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, surprisingly abdicated his throne in favor of his more moderate son, Tamim, evidently not wanting to risk the wrath of his Saudi big neighbor. That Qatar regime change further isolates Turkey in the region.
Clear at this point, despite all, is that the US has no intentions of abandoning its backing for the Muslim Brotherhood, not in Egypt nor in Syria nor across the Islamic “arc of crisis” from Afghanistan to Morocco. The future of American Sole Superpower domination is irreversibly bound with the Greater Middle East Project as George W. Bush’s administration called the strategy in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq. What’s new for Washington planners is that the former compliant “vassal” states like Saudi Arabia or Egypt are refusing to follow Washington dictates and Washington evidently has yet to figure out a “Plan B” to such a situation.