Fake pyramid image raised by Saudi media flagged by academic

Fake pyramid image raised by Saudi media flagged by academic
Saudi media have published a fake image of the kingdom's flag 'projected' on the pyramids - a move supposedly made for a visit by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
3 min read
27 November, 2018
Egyptian authorities often light up the Great pyramid to mourn tragic events [Twitter]
Saudi media have published a fake image of the country's flag projected onto Egypt's pyramids - cited by local newspapers as a supposed sycophantic gesture to visiting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya on Tuesday reported that Egyptian authorities carried out the "unique welcoming gesture" for Prince Mohammed, who arrived in Cairo on Monday.

Local daily El-Fagr also reported the move, calling it a "welcoming sign" for the royal, with Saudi commentators insisting that Cairo had made the obsequious salute to the royal.

The move comes at a critical times for the crown prince who is under international scrutiny following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents who have been linked to Prince Mohammed.

Disappointing though it may have been for Saudi media and supporters of Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, British academic HA Hellyer revealed on Tuesday that the image was fake.

"I just checked whether or not this is true with Egyptian sources - it's fake," the senior research fellow at the Atlantic Council and the Royal United Services Institute in London said on Twitter.

"No such super-imposing on the pyramids in Giza of the Saudi flag. Thank goodness. Highly amusing to see pro/anti-MBS/Sisi accounts spread it around, though."

Egyptian authorities often light up the Great Pyramid of Giza with the flags of other countries following national tragedies. The other two pyramids in the complex are not given the same treatment, further proof that the image shared by Saudi media was fake.

But The New Arab's Arabic-language service has reported that Saudi flags have raised across the capital Cairo ahead of the visit, a regular homage to visiting royals and heads of state.

Prince Mohammed met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday, on his first foreign tour since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The crown prince has been widely condemned since the murder of Khashoggi sparked global outcry, while his visit to Cairo has also been opposed by Egyptian activists and journalists living outside the country.

After an overnight stay in Cairo, the crown prince is due to travel to Tunisia where protests against the visit have been organised by student bodies for Tuesday.

Around 100 people joined an initial demonstration on Monday in the capital Tunis, with larger protests expected following calls from journalists' union, NGOs and civil society groups.

Unconfirmed media reports have stated that Prince Mohammed will also head to Algeria and Mauritania before attending the G20 summit in Argentina from Friday to Saturday.

Human Rights Watch has called on Argentina to charge Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince with war crimes and human rights violations ahead of the summit in Buenos Aires.

UPDATE: An Egyptian official in the ministry of antiquities has confirmed that the image is fake and warned media outlets to verify information before publication as not to "confuse public opinion".