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The Egyptian Auction

News that the affluent Gulf monarchies Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait are set to pay out a combined sum of $12 billion to Egypt post Morsi makes the US's $1.5 billion offering look miniscule.

The highest bid currently goes to Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, which has offered $5 billion; the UAE have promised $3 billion with the latest to jump on the bandwagon Kuwait, who today announced its $4 billion package.

Not only will their generous offerings help boost foreign reserves in Egypt, which have dropped by 60% since 2011, such a large sum indicates the trio are keen to have their say vis a vis Egypt's political makeup of the future.

This certainly does not quash rumours that they had their part to play in the overthrow of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Though Kuwait are traditionally less opposed to Islamists, Saudi Arabia squeezed public funding to the Morsi government and on Friday of last week, King Abdullah of the Kingdom called army chief al-Sissi to assert his support for the transitional government.

The UAE is well known for their hostile attitude towards the Brotherhood. Earlier this month 70 people were detained, some for 15 years, for their attempts to bring down Emirati rulers in what prosecutors at the UAE Supreme Court cast as a Brotherhood funded coup.

Proof that although the UAE have been so quick to support the ouster of Egypt's Islamist president (it is said the financial offer made within hours of the announcement of Morsi's overthrow) the same cannot be said of events closer to home.

There has also been a public war of words between the head of the Dubai police, Dhahi Khalfan, and the Muslim Brotherhood; the former claiming that the Islamist party are the cause of all the problems in the region, insisting they are linked to Al Qaida and likening them to the mafia.

Some feared Morsi's broader plan was to seize power across the region and that a democratic, Islamist government posed a direct threat to the Gulf's western facing, monarchical rule.

After he fled Egypt in 2011, the UAE hosted Ahmed Shafiq, former Prime Minister under now incarcerated Hosni Mubarak, and Omar Suleiman, former spy chief, who was in charge of squashing Islamists under the dictator's thirty year rule.

If this is symbolic of the Emirate's political leanings, then on the other side of the regional contest, so is Qatar's decision to host Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an important figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, who is in and out of the gas-rich state.

Qatar's links to the Brotherhood does not stop here. They are also home to Middle East news giant Al Jazeera, from which 22 journalists have just resigned on the grounds that their coverage is biased towards the Islamist group. During Morsi's time as President, Qatar's financial package to Egypt stood at $8 billion.

Three times as much as Turkey, whose contribution to Morsi and his government reached $2 billion worth of loans. Turkey was one of the noted countries which condemned the military coup in Egypt last week, whilst the majority of Western countries continue to sit on the fence. So whilst the pledge of a healthy financial package may help the regional players carve out their roles in the future of Egypt, in as much as Egypt needs foreign assistance it needs above all else political stability – without which there can be no production. Regional players bidding for their own slice of Egypt will hardly help towards this end.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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