The Egyptian Coup, Brought to You By Saudi Arabia

On Saturday, a Saudi blogger with more than a million followers on Twitter @Mujtahidd, who wages his own war with the Saudi ruling family, published a controversial tweet that might cast light on how the coup happened in Egypt. The photo of a document that the activist and blogger Mujtahid Bin Hareth Bin Hammaamm published on Twitter says that the Ministry of Finance of Bahrain transferred almost $1 billion to the Authority of the Egyptian Armed Forces. According to the financial document the transfer was made on July 10, 2013. Mujtahid argues, however, that this is only a small part of what could have been paid to General El-Sisi for the coup that overthrew Mohamed Morsi's administration and drove the Muslim Brotherhood underground — a development which I covered yesterday.


There is clear evidence that Abdel El-Sisi was in contact with the Saudi ruling family. In February 2013 Egyptian Defence Attache to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Colonel Mohammed Abul-Fotouh met with Crown Prince Salman Al Saud and conveyed to him the "greetings" of the Minister of Defense Genral El-Sisi. It is largely believed that this meeting was exactly when a deal between the Saudi ruling family and Egyptian army finalized.

According to the blogger, General El-Sisi had two major concerns: First, he feared that the coup could affect the country's economy, and this is where financial aid was at hand. Second, Abdel El-Sisi knew that international reaction to the deposition of a democratically elected president could be highly negative. King Abdullah assured him that he would do everything in his power to convince Europe and the United States not to criticize the Egyptian army too harshly. And indeed, this plan worked: None of the Western governments recognized the crisis in Egypt as a coup. Moreover, the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said that under the law the United States is not obliged to make a formal determination of whether a coup had taken place.

But General El-Sisi apparently didn't have doubts about the success of the coup and its aftermath, and this is what he should have thought over better. Mujtahid has argued that King Abdullah is concerned with growing legitimacy and support for pro-Morsi demonstrations, and the hardships that General El-Sisi faces in marketing the new regime. As of now, the inability of the army to deal with these problems means only two things: Either Morsi's reinstatement is going to happen in a matter of days and the West will have to back this decision, or the openly pro-violence Saudi ruling family will make another donation to secure a loyal government in Egypt. 

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Yuri Barmin

Yury holds an MPhil in International Relations from Cambridge University and currently works as a political analyst. Yury's interests include politics of the Middle East and Russia.

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