Skip to comments.Egypt Is Arena for Influence of Arab Rivals
Posted on 07/13/2013 7:03:11 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Three of the Persian Gulfs richest monarchies have pledged $12 billion in cash and loans to Egypt, a decision aimed not only at shoring up a shaky transitional government, but also at undermining their Islamist rivals and strengthening their allies across a newly turbulent Middle East.
The robust financial aid packages of $8 billion announced Tuesday by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and $4 billion announced on Wednesday by Kuwait, followed the Egyptian militarys killing on Monday of dozens of Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers protesting last weeks military ouster of Egypts Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi. The aid package underscored a continuing regional contest for influence between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, one that has accelerated since the Arab uprising upended the status quo and brought Islamists to power.
Qatar, in alliance with Turkey, has given strong financial and diplomatic support to the Muslim Brotherhood, but also to other Islamists operating on the battlefields of Syria and, before that, Libya. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, by comparison, have sought to restore the old, authoritarian order, fearful that Islamist movements and calls for democracy would destabilize their own nations.
The promise to provide so much assistance also highlighted the limits of American leverage: the United States provides Egypt $1.5 billion in annual aid, a small fraction of what the gulf states have promised. But the gulf intervention contrasted sharply with the Obama administrations uncertainty about how to respond to the military takeover, and more broadly, how to wield influence across an increasingly chaotic and fragmented Arab world where American interests are hard to define.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...