Arab leaders stuck to their previous positions in either condemning or
supporting Wednesday’s crackdown by the Egyptian army against Muslim Brotherhood
Turkey, Iran and Qatar, which identify with the Muslim
Brotherhood and its Islamist agenda, condemned the violent dispersal of the
protests, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE continued to back the
The Turkish government, led by the Islamist AK Party, has been
criticizing the military since the coup that toppled former president Mohamed
Morsi, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing the West of
hypocrisy for not supporting democracy equally in all places.
matter of fact, if Western countries do not act sincerely on this issue… I
believe that democracy will start to be questioned throughout the world,” said
Erdogan as quoted by the Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News
Erdogan’s government was active diplomatically, calling foreign
leaders and seeking an urgent UN Security Council meeting.
Council of the United Nations should convene quickly to discuss the situation in
Egypt,” Erdogan said. “This is a very serious massacre... against the Egyptian
people who were only protesting peacefully.”
He went on to blame the
world for its “silence” in response to the crackdown, according to the
According to the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman
, Erdogan compared
the Egyptians’ situation to that of the Palestinians.
“I am telling the
Western countries: You’ve kept quiet on Palestine, on Gaza, and are keeping
quiet on Egypt. After this moment, how are you going to be able to talk about
democracy or human rights? How are you going to talk about humanistic values
while people are killed in front of your eyes?” he said.
President Hassan Rouhani called on Egyptian authorities on Thursday not to
suppress the masses.
“The great people of Egypt are a great and
freedom-seeking people. Do not suppress them. The way of the people is the way
of democracy and Islam. Everyone in the world should respect the wishes of the
Egyptian people,” Rouhani told parliament.
Iranian legislators also
denounced the violence, according to the website of Iranian Press
Tehran, which historically has had poor relations with Cairo, had a
warm relationship with Morsi’s government, and viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as
part of the “Islamic awakening” in the region.
Former Iranian president
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the first visit by an Iranian president since the 1979
Islamic Revolution early this year and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi
said that relations were “gradually improving.”
The major stumbling block
in the relationship between the two countries was Morsi’s strong support for the
Sunni-dominated Syrian rebels that are fighting the Iranian-backed regime of
President Bashar Assad. However, following the fall of Morsi, there was a report
in the Lebanese daily As-Safir that Iran and Hezbollah were seeking closer
relations with the Brotherhood.
Qatar, a strong supporter of the Muslim
Brotherhood, also condemned the recent violence and urged Egyptians to return to
dialogue in order to deal with the crisis.
A Qatari Foreign Ministry
official, quoted by the state news agency QNA, said Egyptian authorities should
“refrain from the security option in dealing with peaceful protests, and
preserve the lives of Egyptians at protest sites.”
“Qatar believes that
the safest and guaranteed way to resolve the crisis is a peaceful way based on
dialogue between parties that have to live together in a pluralist social and
political system,” the official said.
Excluding Qatar, the other Arab
Gulf states remained largely resistant to change and fearful of revolutionary
movements that could pose a risk to their rule. They see revolutionary Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood as
The United Arab Emirates expressed support for the Egyptian
Days after the army ousted Morsi last month, the
UAE offered $3 billion in support for Egypt’s economy.
reaffirms its understanding of the sovereign measures taken by the Egyptian
government after having exercised maximum self-control,” the UAE Foreign
Ministry said in a statement released by state news agency WAM late on
“What is regretful is that political extremist groups have
insisted on the rhetoric of violence, incitement, disruption of public
interests,” it continued.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait – relieved to
see the weakening of the Muslim Brotherhood, viewed as a threat to their own
monarchies – have promised $12 billion in aid to Egypt’s new authorities in
order to help overcome imminent fuel and wheat shortages.
Saudi-backed, Londonbased Arab daily Asharq al- Awsat recently ran an article by
Abdul Rahman al-Rashed reveling in the military’s victory over the Brotherhood.
In the piece titled “The Muslim Brotherhood’s second defeat,” Rashed wrote that
many people were surprised at how quickly the army was able to disperse the
“It took security forces less than one day to dispel the
pro-Morsi protesters from the Rabaa al-Adawiya and Ennahda Squares. Were the
Brotherhood’s threats and determination worthy of the lost confrontation?”
Rashed blamed the Brotherhood for refusing offers mediated by various countries
and preferring a confrontation.
Some of the Egyptian media, which have
been backing the army, have been reporting that the Muslim Brotherhood is
targeting Christians and that armed protesters were torturing, killing and
raping people inside their camps.