Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Daily Star weighs in on Saudi Arabia

Ahmet from Tunisia sent me this:  "Asad, this editorial is the apotheosis of such phenomena; it reads like : " the entire of Egypt should grovel and apologize to the House of Saud : " It was a mob mentality that drove Egyptians to take the law into their own hands, and the country and its people may come to regret those actions.  Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians earn their livelihood in Saudi Arabia, while the country is the biggest donator to Egypt of all the Gulf states. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of Saudis visit Egypt every year, spending billions of dollars.  But instead of the new regime in Egypt developing ties, its recent actions led Riyadh to close its embassy and consulates in Egypt, stranding those destined to join the Egyptian workforce in the kingdom.  Given the united front the Gulf countries like to present, this development does not bode well for Egypt’s relations with the rest of the GCC region.  Egypt’s economy is already suffering in its post-revolution era, with foreign currency reserves steadily dwindling and unemployment figures rising. Alienating such a key donor at a time like this is exactly the kind of thing a sound government should seek to avoid.  An effective government would pour its attention and resources into shoring up the country’s shaky finances, and ensuring its citizens have jobs to keep food on their tables. But Egypt’s political class has in recent months proved to be less concerned with the interests of the people, and more troubled by what women should and should not be allowed to do, wear or say.  Following the crack in ties with Riyadh, Egypt’s leaders are suddenly trying to find all kinds of excuses, which they are likely to find will not fly. After a state as friendly as Saudi Arabia shoots Egypt such a warning, it will be no surprise if other states struggle to maintain any trust in their ties or in diplomacy with the country.  If this belligerent tendency is not checked immediately, Egypt may end up with no friends at a time when it is most in need of some, especially those that its their interests at heart.  The behavior of the unrestrained mobs over the past few days is a testament to the immaturity and self-destruction that runs through much of the Egypt’s actions in the post-revolutionary era."