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The solution to the Gulf crisis begins with Egypt

Image of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on 5 April 2017 [Jim Mattis/Flickr]
Image of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on 5 April 2017 [Jim Mattis/Flickr]

When three Gulf States decided to withdraw their ambassadors from Doha in March 2014, I wrote that the problem for those countries was not Qatar but Egypt. Some countries, with all their might, bet on the success of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s coup in Egypt and offered all their political and media resources for his support.

But the coup, along with other ventures in other countries in which those countries participated, has become a burden that drains those resources, with no gains on the horizon. These countries have decided to blame their failure on the state of Qatar on the one hand, and the Islamists on the other. It is a composite illusion. The inevitable failure of this adventure did not need Qatar or Al Jazeera. Qatar did not invent modern media and Islamists did not invent democracy and the people’s desire for freedom. At the time, I said, it was likely that the coup regime would collapse, and drag the Gulf states supporting it with it to the bottom.

Read: The end of one revolution and the start of another

It seems that this scenario is being realised more than expected. The involvement of the Saudi-UAE alliance in Egypt is the main cause of its problems and the basis for its loses in other regions. It was Al-Sisi’s Egypt that stood against the Gulf states in Syria and Yemen. It also sided with Iran and supported its allies in Iraq. Sisi’s regime gains from the support of the Gulf states, and gains from supporting their enemies and blackmailing them. Egypt is not only a burden on the Gulf states, but has become one of their biggest causes of failure in Yemen, Libya, Syria and Iraq.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) is welcomed by President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (R) at the Cairo International Airport in Cairo, Egypt on June 19, 2017. ( Egyptian Presidency - Handout - Anadolu Agency )

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) is welcomed by President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (R) at the Cairo International Airport in Cairo, Egypt on June 19, 2017. ( Egyptian Presidency – Handout – Anadolu Agency )

However, both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have increased the burden by introducing themselves at this stage as the main fighters of political Islam in the world, the greatest enemies of democracy and the rights of people to self-determination, and the biggest opponents to Iran’s influence in the region. These steps got countries into problematic alliances, as is the case in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and Palestine.

The UAE has intervened with considerable funds to support a presidential candidate in the recent Somali elections, but their candidate was defeated by a rival who has received no financial or political support from abroad. Not only that, but these countries also want to become the vanguard of normalisation with Israel, and the first servants of Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-Islam policy. Each of these steps creates burdens that have destroyed much stronger countries before.

These fictional steps combine the ideas of Kemal Ataturk concerning the eradication of Islam from the public arena, the illusions of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in spreading his global revolution and his green book in the East and the West, and George Bush’s dreams of imposing American hegemony by force. There are differences between these ideas though. Ataturk was a military hero who achieved victories that restored Turkey’s dignity and pride. However, the fate of his project was failure, as Turkey is now ruled by a party that Ataturk could not have imagined its mere existence, let alone its victory and dominance. The failure of the Gaddafi project does not require any evidence. Moreover, countries involved in these overlapping adventures do not have the intellectual potential of Ataturk or his military capabilities, and their armies cannot even defend their borders. This has led them to outsource. These countries speak with great power, while they do not have the potential of marginal states such as Pakistan or Algeria. Thus, they’re leading themselves towards destruction.

Read more: The US has set the stage for a new Gulf War

But the most dangerous adventure and the most expensive one is the adventure of these countries in Egypt. The Egyptian coup drained enormous financial resources, and is still calling for more. The desperate attempt to seize the funds of Qatar in order to mobilise them to support this failed project will not help, because the on-going aggression on Qatar threatens the legitimacy of these countries and will open the same doors that they seek to close. They wanted to silence the voice of Qatar in order to preserve their fragile internal situation. However, with this chaotic adventure, it has given a chance to the press all over the world to dig and probe problematic situations in these countries. The longer the crisis lasts, the more digging the press will be doing.

Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stage a rally to mark the second anniversary of the violent breakup of major protest camps in Cairo (Cem Özdel - Anadolu Agency)

Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stage a rally to mark the second anniversary of the violent breakup of major protest camps in Cairo, Egypt (Cem Özdel – Anadolu Agency)

Therefore, it is in the interest of these countries, first of all, to put an end to this fabricated crisis as soon as possible. Perhaps the biggest problem in such cases is that whoever takes the path of silencing all the voices, except the voice of satisfaction, is like someone who has made himself blind, because he only allows false paid praise, while becoming deaf to the voice of advisors. Thus, there is no one to alert him to the downfall he’s running towards. Rather, all hypocrites surrounding him will be pushing him downhill. The campaign against Qatar began with lies, and it is fed every day with new lies, trying to deceive the people. This is also the case in Egypt, which is full of calamities. The coup there was based on Gulf-funded lies, which drowned the country through hypocrite media. If the situation continues as it is, the result will be overall collapse, and it will not be only Egypt that is swept into the bottom.

Therefore, the solution to the current Gulf crisis must begin with an awakening that is Egypt-centred and begins with realising how dangerous it is to ignite the flames of civil war in Egypt or to divide its people into groups where one is belittled, as was the case in the days of Pharaoh of Egypt. The solution lies in putting forward an initiative for civil peace in Egypt, calling for dialogue supervised by international bodies with Gulf support, in order to reach a solution and a compromise, to get the country out of the crisis. It is known that the coup of July 2013 built its legitimacy on the idea of a “map of the future” which involves the participation of all segments of Egyptian society in a dialogue that ends with free and fair democratic elections and guarantees freedom of information and the rights of the Egyptian people. But the coup organisers denied people all these promises. Instead, they shed blood, muzzled people and spread lies and corruption. And for some Gulf states to continue to base their legitimacy on the support of this situation is like building on the edge of a cliff.

Because the dispute over Egypt and fear of the consequences of its regime’s collapse on the Gulf states that linked their fate to it is at the heart of the current Gulf crisis, the agreement of these countries on proposals to avoid Egypt’s collapse and war and to ensure its stability through the consent of its people is the fundamental solution to this crisis. These countries must engage into a quiet dialogue, resulting in a proposal to get Egypt out of its crisis, through the consent of its people, the lifting of grievances and healing. Then, the Gulf states together can support stability in Egypt, not war which inevitably will bring losses to the Egyptian people.

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 8 July 2017.

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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