Fernandez: A Crisis in Competence (5)

Opponents of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi celebrate as they light flares and wave national flags and his picture with Arabic reads, “leave”, in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013.

The overthrow of Morsi in Egypt is bad news for the Muslim Brotherhood. But is it good news for anyone? Austin Bay notes that the Egyptian military is now obviously on top. But he is unsure whether it will revert to its old Nasserite ways or become more inclusive. David Goldman (Spengler) endorses Austin’s view that the army is back in the cards and adds that some Islamists will come up on top  to displace the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the Saudis despised.

The reason the Saudi-backed boys will get a seat at the table is simple. Only the kingdom has the money to save Egypt from imminent starvation. The Egyptian military can hardly turn to Obama. Spengler notes, “Obama is all talk and no money … the administration cannot squeeze meaningful sums out of Congress for Egyptian aid. The only prospective rescuer with deep enough pockets to keep Egypt from disintegrating is Saudi Arabia.”

He’s all turban and no camels. Spengler writes of the military:

There is only one reason the military might do a better job than the Muslim Brotherhood or the liberal opposition, and that is because Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states (besides tiny Qatar) might decide to provide funding for a military regime that suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Saudi regime rightly fears as a competitor to its medieval form of monarchy. That is why Saudi aid to Egypt has been insignificant, while tiny Qatar has committed $5 billion–nearly a fifth of its total foreign exchange reserves–to keep Egypt afloat during the past year.

Egypt needs about $20 billion a year in external subsidies; a smaller amount would forestall the worst effects of the economic crisis. With $630 billion in foreign exchange reserves, Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country with the resources to give Egypt help on the scale it requires. But the Saudis will not subsidize their own prospective executioners. The Muslim Brotherhood is a modern totalitarian political party; next to the Saudi royal family, it looks like a meritocracy. For ambitious Saudis not born into the ruling family, it offers an attractive alternative.

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See Also:

#1 — Egypt’s interim president praises protests and army in first comments after being sworn-in

#2 — Egyptians don’t want to be ruled by a pharaoh

#3 — Muslim Brotherhood leader arrested, Egyptian officials say

#4 — Depth of Discontent Threatens Muslim Brotherhood and Its Leader

#5 — Saudi king congratulates new Egyptian head of state

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