Egypt's media attacks Saudi Arabia in rare public row

Egypt's media attacks Saudi Arabia in rare public row

Some of Egypt's biggest media stars have lashed out at Saudi Arabia, as tensions between the two countries over regional conflicts come out in public.
2 min read
12 October, 2016
Saudi has long been frustrated over Cairo's reluctance to fully back Riyadh's regional ambitions [Getty]

Egyptian media have lashed out at Saudi Arabia after tensions over regional conflicts including Syria and Yemen erupted into the open.

The discord came to the surface when Egypt voted in favour of a Russian-drafted UN Security Council resolution on Syria strongly opposed by Riyadh.

That was followed by Cairo's announcement of Saudi oil giant Aramco's surprise decision to halt the expected delivery of 700,000 tonnes of petroleum products to Egypt this month.

One of Egypt's best-known television personalities, Ahmad Moussa, strongly promoted the Arabic-language hashtag #EgyptWillNotKneel on his evening talk show on Tuesday.

"We will stand up to anyone who tries to conspire against us. We will stand up to anyone who tries to make us submit to their will. We will stand up to anyone who tries to twist our arm," Moussa said.

"May you rest in peace King Faisal, oh how you were a good leader. He was put under pressure in 1973 when Egypt under Sadat went to war and won. And what did his highness do? He stopped providing the West with oil."


Egypt has been cautious in Syria, saying Assad should be part of efforts
to find a political solution [Getty]

Editor-in-Chief of pro-regime tabloid Youm7, Khaled Salah, said that Egyptians should boycott performing the Hajj and Umra pilgrimages for a year, arguing that it would save the country 6 billion Egyptian pounds.

Analysts said the row - which threatens to distance Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi from one of his main backers - reflects longstanding disagreements on crucial regional issues.

Sisi has relied on Saudi support since the then army chief overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, with Riyadh since providing billions of dollars in aid and credit.

A source in the Egyptian ministry of petroleum told The New Arab that government officials have said the cut in oil shipments was a clearly "politically motivated" and that it could last until the end of the year.

The Wednesday issue of Egyptian daily al-Watan ran a story headlined: "Saudi Arabia is paying the price for embracing terrorism and violent armed groups."

It attacked the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia's King Salman's and accused the kingdom of supporting former al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen.

Talk show host Wael al-Ibrashi echoed similar accusations of Saudi Arabia backing hardline Sunni groups in Syria.

"Why have we backed the Russian project? Because importantly it distinguishes the moderate rebels from the terrorists," Ibrashi said.