By Mohammad Mazhari

Saudi Arabia playing immoral role in the region: Egyptian opposition leader

October 2, 2020 - 19:20

TEHRAN – A prominent Egyptian opposition leader describes some Persian Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as immoral, saying they have acted irresponsibly against the interests of Arab nations, including Egypt.

“This role was represented in the position of Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and some other Arab countries party to the Saudi-led coalition,” Ayman Nour, who ran against former President Hosni Mubarak in 2005, tells the Tehran Times.

The following is the text of the interview:

Q: What is the role of Persian Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in the developments in regional countries, particularly in Egypt?

A: The truth is that these countries played an immoral role after the revolution erupted in Egypt on January 25, 2011. This role was represented in the position of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and some other Arab countries which are party to the Saudi coalition.

“I believe that these regimes (the UAE and Bahrain that have signed normalization deals with Israel) will pay a heavy price for such a wrong move.”

This alliance aborted the Egyptian revolution since the first day and refused to help Egypt or provide any aid to the Egyptian nation as it caused economic and political conditions in Egypt to deteriorate. The UAE specifically played a major role in buying Egyptian media to support some of the parties representing the deep state and plotted the coup project against the elected government in 2012.

The Emirates supported the organized demonstrations in Egypt by the Tamarod movement, which led to the toppling of the government.

According to audio leaks that came out of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's office, they proposed millions of dollars to form a rebel group to lead the crisis that ended with the military coup against the legitimate government seven years ago.

Therefore, we believe that the UAE's role and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with all their intelligence services, had undeclared relations with Israel, and their policy in the region is very dangerous. They support suppressing the Egyptian people and moving against their will. 

Q: Why do some Persian Gulf states, including Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman, adopt relatively independent policies from the Saudi coalition?

A: Qatar, Kuwait, and the Sultanate of Oman took a respectable position since the beginning of the revolution in Egypt. They did not back the coup to abort the revolution from the start.

Qatar was one of the first countries that provided financial support to Egypt and its revolution and respected the will of the Egyptian people. Also, Qatar clearly welcomed the will of the Egyptian people to remove Hosni Mubarak and their struggle to establish a democratic system. 

Except the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, the position of Oman and Kuwait was moderate. They play a positive role in the region.

This is due to leadership attitudes in these countries, which is characterized by moderation, rationality, and objectivity, and non-interference in the affairs of others.

On the contrary, the approaches of the previous Saudi rulers toward the region were destructive, and now the current rulers are worse than their predecessors.

Moreover, in general, the unprincipled position that the Emirates and Saudi Arabia took in the region was against the Arab Spring in all its forms.

Q: What is the effect of the death of the Emir of Kuwait on the developments in the Persian Gulf and the Arab world in large?

A: There is no doubt that Kuwait's Emir was a moderate person, popular in all (Persian) Gulf countries. He was a reasonable leader, and this may have appeared clearly in the management of armed conflicts in the (Persian) Gulf region. The region will be affected by the absence of the Emir of Kuwait, who always sought reconciliation.

This man had a lot of experience, and I know him. I met him in 1971 when he was the minister of foreign affairs, sitting for 6 hours discussing the Iraqi condition at that time. I saw that the man was keen to listen and understand, and he had a great ability to find political solutions to the crisis that followed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

I wish Kuwait to follow the same path that its late Emir founded, which is the path of reconciliation, moderation, rationality, and permanent support for the Palestinian cause.

We have always seen strong stances by Kuwait's leadership and its parliament, which represents the Kuwaiti nation.

Q: How do you assess the Emirati and Bahraini normalization deals with Israel?

A: I think that normalization of ties with Israel was secret as they (Bahrain and Emirates) had warm relations in recent years, and what we are now witnessing is overt (declaration of)  normalization of ties with Israel. It had been prepared in recent years behind closed rooms. 

It is a crime practiced in public. We are against the normalization of relations with Israel, and we will continue to oppose normalization. Likewise, the people will remain against this measure until the return of the Arab lands. I believe that these regimes will pay a heavy price for such a wrong move, regardless of the support they get from the Zionist lobbies in the world and from the current U.S. administration.
 Still, I think it is these regimes that have lost their people, history, and dignity.

Q: Do you think that Kuwait will also enter a normalization deal with Israel?

A: I do not wish this, even if it remains a possibility, but I do not wish it because the nature of the Kuwaiti position has always been different in support of the Palestinian cause. I believe that the Kuwaiti parliament, which has a good record in this direction, prevents normalization with Israel. I hope that Kuwait will endure, and I believe God wanted to save the former Emir of Kuwait from being involved in establishing relations with Israel. I hope that the new Emir will continue this path, specifically in the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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