Mohammad Pervez Bilgrami
Egypt’s bloody coup on July 3, 2013 resulted in devastation not only for Egypt but also for the entire Sunni Muslim world of the greater Middle East. It has further reverberated the tectonic plates in the region politically from Tunisia to Turkey and from Syria to Saudi Arabia, one of the most volatile regions in the world.
Such a colossal ongoing internal squabble in the Sunni Muslim land, mostly against the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its affiliates was never witnessed before. The ideology of Muslim Brotherhood is facing enormous challenge in the region where the decades long monarchies and autocratic regimes are doing their best to maintain the status-quo.
In Egypt, the birth place of Muslim Brotherhood, the reinstitution of the military dictatorship following the bloody coup has been followed by a Junta government declaration that the MB is a "terrorist" organization, even though over 50% of the Egyptian people support it.
The MB‘s Palestinian offshoot, Hamas, is under fierce attack by the US- Israel, as well as Egypt and the Gulf States. Incidentally, the MB is considered a "terrorist" organization by Russia as well---one small area where Putin and Obama agree.
Iraq’s civil strife subsequent to the US invasion opened a Shia-Sunni conflict but that has remained within the borders of Iraq. Later the Syrian revolution has made the situation worse as the Sunnis and the Shias of the region got divided on sectarian lines.
The Sunni world was further divided by the Saudi Arabian and the United Arab Emirate (UAE) backing and bankrolling of the bloody coup in Egypt and helping the coup-regime to continue with its unabated crime against humanity. The coup regime in Cairo is not only committing horrendous crimes against the Egyptians , they are committing a bigger crime by suffocating an already besieged population of Gaza and are also ill-treating the Syrian refugees marred by atrocities of Bashar Al-Assad.
It is highly paradoxical that the Saudi king Abdullah and Syrian Dictator Bashar Al-Assad were amongst the first world leaders to congratulate the Egyptian Army for overthrowing President Mohamed Morsi.
Another major North-African Sunni Muslim country, Algeria, ruled by its ailing despot Abdelaziz Boutfilka, vehemently opposes the suspended Arab League seat of Syria to be allotted to Syrian opposition. Boutefilka, despite being sick, has decided to run for another five-year term this May. Bouteflika had won the 2009 Presidential election with 90.24% of the vote, on a turnout of 74%.
Be that it may, from the outside things do not look much troublesome , but fierce hiccups are the rule, rather than the exception, when it comes to the relations within the larger Sunni world.
Suffice it to say here that Muslim Brotherhood’s only real support has come from Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and who is paying a steep price for it, because the coup backing Western powers, and to some extent the Gulf monarchies, are doing everything they can to create a regime change in Ankara.
The stage has set in where on one side Saudi Arabia along with other monarchies and despots are leading the pro status quo block and Turkey under Erdogan is still vying for the inevitable natural change in the region. Ballot boxes have already shown from Tunisia to Egypt that people want MB or AK Party style Islamic leaning governments to run their respective countries.
The status quo forces led by Saudi Arabia have sidelined Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan, who even after huge pressure, has continued to call the July, 3 power grab by Egypt’s Military a coup.
The MB has also been supported by the deep pockets of Qatar, and its 33-year-old emir Sheikh Tamim al- Thani was replaced in what is called the ‘Palace coup’ last year, and has continued the policy of his father, Hamad al-Thani, with the mild support to Muslim Brotherhood. The tiny Gulf State of Qatar is facing a heavy onslaught by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain to toe their line of status quo. They are threatening Qatar with dire consequences.
This support has always been a bone of contention between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours, especially the Saudis. But the Saudis have recently unleashed a ton of verbal abuse and threats against Doha for continuing its support for the MB.
While each enemy of the MB has its own reasons, the problem in the Gulf is mostly about money. The MB is a truly populist organization that, at least from the Morsi model in Egypt ( the traditional home of the MB), wants democracy within an Islamic framework, (a little like Erdogan's AK Party in Turkey), and wants better income distribution within Muslim states.
That is an odious proposition to the dictators and ruling elites throughout the ME, but is particularly frightening to the fattened sheep of the Gulf whose power wealth and prerequisites were handed down to them by the Western colonial powers before they had left, as a sweetheart deal for future ball playing with the Western Oil companies.
These super rich oil Sheikhs, (with the exception of the one in Qatar) are not about to hand over their wealth to the unwashed Arab masses, any more than Euro Royalty wanted to do it in the 19th century. To them the MB are a bunch of Jacobins.
Erdogan’s Turkey is the only bastion left for the unified Sunni world, where pro change leaders and people can revolve around. If global and regional pro-status-quo powers are able to remove Erdogan from power, the desired change will be installed for another 2-3 decades. Moreover, Turkey seems to be the only country that can mend ties between the greater schism between Shias and Sunnis.
On the other hand, this purge against Islamist forces in the Sunni Muslim world has put the Palestinians on the brink of annihilation. The Head of the dysfunctional Palestinian Authority, Mahmood Abbas, may or may not face the same fate as Yasser Arafat did. Palestinian People will keep facing the same atrocities at the hands of apartheid regime of Israel as they have been facing pre & post Oslo accord.
Now, the declaration of Egypt’s coup leader, Al-Sisi, to stand for Presidential election did not come as a surprise. The world is silently watching the manufacturing of a brutal dictator in twenty first century through the investments and funding of Gulf Monarchies, and with state of the art technology of the major powers of US-EU & Russia.
Thus, it remains to be seen when and how the inevitable change as predicted in the Sunni Muslim world will be achieved and how much more bloodshed it still needs before it is materialised and the evil forces of the status quo are doomed, giving the distressed humanity a chance to flourish democratically on the ruins of the most oppressive system of governance. Obviously, there are very clear signs of emergence of a true Arab Spring; how long will the monarchs and despots of the Middle East region keep their eyes closed from the spreading light of human liberty? Earlier they accept the harsh realities of the emergent situation in favour of democracy, it will be better for them as well as for the citizenry; of course for the humanity at large.Last Mod: 07 Nisan 2014, 14:29