A very Gulf coup

(From the latest issue of Turkish Review, Volume 3 Issue 5: http://www.turkishreview.org/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=223386)

When Hosni Mubarak handed over power to his military peers in Egypt two years ago in the face of over two weeks of determined protests, the shock and fear in the Gulf was profound. As much as the US and Israel, if not more so, Saudi Arabia in particular had long bet on the strong arm of Mubarak’s police state, with the military in the background, to maintain the ‘stability’ that kept dangerous democratic forces in check

Hosni Mubarak was “the spiritual father of the Middle East,” as one senior official in the United Arab Emirates had put it, a ruler who had been around so long that he was like a piece of the furniture.1 With Mubarak around, all was well in the world — despite the many reasons to wonder how long things could continue as they are in a region like the Gulf, where governance is the almost exclusive domain of dynasties who cleverly entrenched their rule through a complex web of political, economic and military ties to colonial and neocolonial powers.Much did come to pass. Bahrain was almost immediately engulfed in popular protests that involved at least half of the population of over 600,000 people, demanding political rights from a ruling family that continued to exercise power and privilege over Bahrainis, and breaking psychological control mechanisms that allowed the Al Khalifa family to lord it over them. Though sectarian divides among ruler and ruled gave the regime the opportunity to buttress its support among one section of the population, Sunni Bahrainis, the conflict refused to go away and simmered on as a low-key uprising in the villages and suburbs, largely away from media glare.Kuwait, the most advanced Gulf state in terms of political rights, leered dangerously toward crossing the Rubicon to become a real parliamentary democracy whose elected chamber controls the formation of governments, rather than tussling incessantly over the emir’s prerogative to do so. Protesters repeatedly clashed with police and opposition figure Musallam al-Barrak, leveraging his prestigious tribal background, emerged as a leader of the movement with his clarion call for limits on Emiri powers, “We will not let you” — which landed him with a five-year jail sentence this year.Oman managed to break up a protest movement that took off in the industrial town of Sohar, only to see labor strikes continue over the subsequent year as the state began a series of arrests and trial of activists and writers, most of whom Sultan Qaboos pardoned this year. And Qatar, while diverting attention from away from the Gulf with its championing of Arab Spring causes in distant pastures, chose to pursue charges of insulting the ruler against a popular young poet. The sentence against Mohammed Ibn al-Deeb al-Ajami, a colloquial Arabic bard followed heavily on YouTube, was commuted from life to 15 years in prison, while promised parliamentary elections were quietly dropped.The UAE became evidently unnerved about the potential for Islamists to lead calls for democratic reforms after their inspiration, the Muslim Brotherhood, emerged as the strongest force in Egypt following parliamentary elections in late 2011-early 2012 and won the presidency. The arrest and trial of 94 Islamists and government critics was dubbed by Human Rights Watch (HRW) a “low-point for the UAE’s worsening human rights record.”2 Sentences of seven to 15 years in prison were handed down to 69 of the accused in July of this year by the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. International media were prevented from attending most of the trials, while some local media found themselves harassed by security officials.

In Saudi Arabia, the king dashed back in February 2011 from a period of convalescence in the royals’ favorite hang-out — Morocco — to handle the revolt in Bahrain next door, then showered a package of financial incentives on a series of key constituencies including the religious establishment, security forces, military and bureaucracy. The Interior Ministry was then ruthless in challenging street protests in the restive Eastern Province where Shi’ites have long complained that they are treated like second-class citizens. Since then trouble has continued in the Eastern Province, relatives of detainees have protested in Riyadh and Buraida and the government has prosecuted and jailed a number of rights activists.

Deliverance finally came for the Gulf dynasties with the popular campaign that began in Egypt in April to force the Brotherhood’s President Mohammed Morsi to hold early elections. On the designated day of protest on June 30 large numbers of Egyptians took to the streets in Cairo and other cities, as the military council, led by Morsi-appointed Defense Minister Abdulfattah al-Sisi, delivered a public ultimatum of three days for the presidency to reach a settlement with opposition political forces and activists. Tensions between opposition groups and Islamists (and the police defending them) had brought the country to a standstill after Morsi used extra-constitutional powers in November 2012 to help ensure the passage of an Islamist-friendly constitution and ward off efforts by Mubarak-era judges to use high courts to challenge the Brotherhood-led order.

Three days after issuing his ultimatum, Sisi took to state television again to announce that a new government would be formed by an interim president, Supreme Constitutional Court head Adly Mansour, and the controversial constitution suspended. Tamarrud (the “Rebel” movement that began organizing against Morsi in April) shifted in the days before the June 30 protest into calls from many public figures associated with it for Morsi’s ouster, as political figures who more or less hijacked the grassroots movement called on former members of Mubarak’s defunct National Democratic Party with “clean hands” to join the campaign to save Egypt from the Brotherhood.

The army’s move was more than just the removal of Morsi or coordinated action against the Brotherhood, whose protest sit-ins were broken up in Cairo on Aug. 14 killing nearly 700 people, it appeared to be an attempt to dismantle much of what the uprising of Jan. 25, 2011, was all about. For the first time since the revolt, Interior Ministry police returned to the streets in full force in many areas, the interior minister announced that units charged with investigating political activists and religious extremism — key elements of Mubarak’s police state — were to be reactivated, and some anti-Morsi protesters carried policemen on their shoulders at Tahrir Square, declaring them heroes. The charges against Morsi and others included organizing their jailbreaks in January 2011 in coordination with Hamas, the Brotherhood ally that runs Gaza, though it had been received wisdom that the Interior Ministry opened prisons deliberately in order to destabilize the country — which it subsequently helped to do by refusing to police the country as before. State media glorified both military and security forces as if the last three years had not happened. Following the Aug. 14 attack, the Interior Ministry declared that no more protests would be tolerated, even at Tahrir Square, and officials repeatedly cited Jan. 28, the turning point during the 2011 uprising when protesters fought police, as kind of day of shame that had now been washed away. In other words, the ancien regime was visibly back.

This was a major victory for the two Gulf countries most troubled by the post-Mubarak order and the rise to power of political Islam, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and they made no secret of their pleasure and desire to support the new order — to a degree that suggested they may have had prior knowledge about what appeared to be well-laid plans for the military to oust the elected president. Within days Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE had pledged a total of $12 billion for Egypt’s economy, and the UAE foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed was in Cairo to meet Sisi and Mansour; they stood silent as the military-security regime gunned down dozens of Islamists in the first weeks of the coup, and when international criticism threatened to isolate the regime after the Aug. 14 carnage, they issued statements of support. The message from King Abdullah in particular had the air of Egypt having returned to the semi-vassal status that critics saw in Mubarak’s final years. “I call on the honest men of Egypt and the Arab and Muslim nations […] to stand as one man and with one heart in the face of attempts to destabilize a country that is at the forefront of Arab and Muslim history,” he said.3 Sisi could only have prosecuted the coup of July 3 — and the heavy hand that followed — with the assurance of Gulf aid, and Gulf cheerleading from the sidelines likely encouraged the regime to ignore mediation efforts that EU officials were leading up to the last minute before the storming of the Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda sit-ins.4 “[Sisi] never would have taken this step [without Gulf money], they are all after their interests and made their calculations,” senior Brotherhood figure Gamal Heshmat told me at the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in, two days before it was crushed.

Immediately following the coup, Dubai’s police chief Dhahi Khalfan announced on Twitter that he would no longer tweet since his mission was accomplished — he had dedicated the last year to sending thousands of anti-Brotherhood messages on the social media platform — though he was back in August defending Cairo against the international outrage over its eradicateur approach to Islamist rejection. Ahmed Shafiq, the failed ancien regime candidate in the election Morsi won last year, boasted in private that he was managing events from his base in Abu Dhabi — probably a self-serving exaggeration — but a well-connected UAE tweeter reported early on June 30 from a “source” that Egypt’s military already estimated that 3 million people were already on the streets — an indication of the kind of cross-region collaboration going on (and of the numbers propaganda that would follow later in following days to justify the coup). Shafiq also predicted confidently in one media report that the Brotherhood’s reign would end by the time the week was out.5

Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s king was the first to welcome the new order after Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV gave full coverage to the Tamarrud protests. Sisi is close to Saudi Arabia, where he served as military attaché, and Mansour was a legal consultant to the Saudi Ministry of Trade from 1983 to 1990 — indeed, Israeli Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter described him as “Mubarak’s man in Saudi Arabia.”6 Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist and government official in the entourage of Prince Turki al-Faisal, shifted from a period of anti-Shi’ite then pro-Salafi Wahhabi tweets to tweets in favor of the Brotherhood as the military brought its government down. Given his role as a front for Al Saud survival policy, Khashoggi’s sudden shift to pro-Brotherhood messaging was suggestive of Saudi mischievousness and close Saudi involvement in the Egyptian events.

Saudi government officials were on message, saying in private that Sisi took Riyadh by surprise with the coup and denying any role. But it is unlikely that Sisi would have undertaken Morsi’s ouster without assurances of Saudi support. Saudi daily Okaz ran an editorial on June 30 with a knowing prediction of military rule for up to a year “to evade civil war,” and Abdulrahman al-Rashed, manager of Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, wrote in Asharq al-Awsat two weeks before the coup: “The real danger to Morsi and his government comes from neither the opposition nor the West, but from ordinary Egyptians […] rather than cooperation, the first post-revolution presidency attacked the institutions of state that should be independent like the judiciary, media and army. The result is not hard for us to imagine.”7 Mohammed al-Ahmari, a Saudi intellectual who runs a think tank in Doha, told me that discussions involving the United States and Saudi Arabia over how to handle the Brotherhood government had been going on for some time. “Some months ago the State Department circulated a blueprint for Gulf states to help take the Muslim Brotherhood out of government. They were asking certain Saudis what they thought about it. I think the State Department was not convinced itself at that time.”

Saudi Arabia’s early bet on how to ruin the revolutionary order, or turn it to its advantage, was backing for the Salafi groups that emerged as a surprisingly strong force, taking second place after the Brotherhood after the first post-Mubarak parliamentary vote. Prince Turki al-Faisal, former head of Saudi external intelligence services and a grandson of founder Ibn Saud who may entertain dreams of becoming king, set up a research unit out of the Saudi Embassy in Egypt, whose real aim was to promoted Salafism as a counterweight to the Brotherhood. One early success came in the form of Salafi victories in Cairo University student union elections, and in 2011 it was first noted that Salafis were bussing in supporters to rallies in Cairo with paraphernalia bearing the logos of a Saudi telecoms operator. The leading Salafi party, Nour, stood with the army in the coup against the Brotherhood government and in subsequent days prevented former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohammed ElBaradei becoming the junta’s prime minister, positions that can only have pleased Riyadh.

When the Muslim fasting month began a week after the removal of Morsi, the Saudi king took a swipe at the Brotherhood and its followers in his Ramadan message, warning that “abuse of religion for political aims” would not be tolerated. The message, published in state media, reflected continuing Saudi concern — only partially eased by the Brotherhood’s fall — over the potential challenge to their rule from political Islam, with its demands for political participation through parliamentary elections. The Morsi presidency was a double threat because it was Islamist rule brought about via the ballot box, challenging not only Al Saud’s absolute power but its Islamic claims to legitimacy. As Saudi activist Hamza al-Hassan wrote: “The breaking of the Brotherhood has given comfort to Al Saud — there won’t be a revolution against them now, the Islamists inside the country won’t be able to repeat the Egypt experience.”8 Prince al-Waleed bin Talal fired popular Kuwait preacher Tareq al-Suwaidan, who managed his Al-Resalah religious TV channel, after Suwaidan made clear his sympathies for the Egyptian Brotherhood.

While Saudi Islamists showed their displeasure at the turn of events in Egypt on social media, so too did clerics in more of the traditional Wahhabi mold, like Mohammed al-Arifi, one of the most influential religious scholars in the country with a huge following on Twitter. Arifi was subsequently banned from travel and detained by the interior ministry for several days in an apparent crackdown on the voices of political Islam in the Gulf — beyond the case of the UAE — that included Saudi preacher Mohsen al-Awaji and a court case in Kuwait to close Brotherhood charity Al-Islah. Arifi visited Cairo last year and gave a gleeful sermon at Al-Azhar in joy over the advent of Islamist government, and he was in Cairo to do the same again in June, touting “jihad” in Syria. He stood out among those seen as “government clerics” in his support for Morsi on his Twitter feed. Saudi authorities have turned a blind eye to some Saudis travelling to Syria to engage in jihad, but under the radar and without fanfare or official sanction. This might appear to contradict Saudi policy against Assad, but in fact reflects the desire to have others do the fighting for them and save Al Saud the threat of angry jihadis returning to fight them.

Arifi’s position reflects a key phenomenon about the “Arab Spring” movement: historic transformations in the shape of not only Islamist ideology but that of Wahhabi Salafism (al-Wahhabiyya) too. Saudi Arabia has patronized and promoted al-Wahhabiyya for so long precisely because of its depoliticized, quietist nature — yet before our eyes, and despite Saudi manipulations throughout the region in its promotion of Salafi ideology, practice and activism, Salafism is becoming politicized in ways that could present challenges to Al Saud monopoly, challenges from within the bosom of the Saudi-Wahhabi state.

Saudi Arabia has witnessed breakaway movements from state-sanctioned Wahhabism before — the puritanical Ikhwan jihadists of 1928-9, who returned to haunt them with the Mecca mosque siege in 1979; the so-called Sahwa clerics who become active in the 1980s and ’90s, whose interest in democratic politics creates affinities with the Brotherhood; and the al-Qaeda trend that borrows from all three (Wahhabism, Sahwa, Brotherhood). While Salafis have formed political blocs or parties that take part in elections in Kuwait and Bahrain, the advent of Salafi parties that win substantial shares of the vote in a country like Egypt carries the seeds of potential problems in the Salafi heartland. It could encourage more of the state-backed class of Wahhabi religious scholars to warm to ideas of electoral representation and a stronger role in governance.

There have been other signs of shift. Saleh al-Luhaidan, veteran member of the senior clerics council and former Shariah courts head, earned the ire of the authorities for initially coming out in support of the revolt against Gaddafi’s regime in Libya. While Luhaidan backtracked under pressure as the state mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh issued a blanket denunciation of street protest against rulers, Sahwa cleric Salman al-Odah went on to champion the uprisings in social media and print, making public calls on the Saudi government this year to reform on Twitter or face potential consequences, and signing a petition in 2011 that explicitly called for an “elected Shura with absolute authority to pass laws and monitor the executive”. While Odah is free to tweet, we know he is a worry for the state because his weekly show was taken off MBC TV in 2011, while he has been prevented from travelling (abroad he could form more of a threat as a kind of Khomeini-in-waiting) and his book “As’ilat al-Thawra” (questions from the revolution) was banned (though in vain since hundreds of thousands of copies were downloaded by Saudis from the Internet).

The contrast between the Brotherhood’s Islamist project and the Islamic model of Saudi Arabia is stark. Salafism seeks to perpetuate, or recreate, the pre-colonial Sharia state. In such a system, the class of religious scholars oversee Shariah courts, leaving the ruler to take care of the day-to-day business of running the state and sovereign issues of foreign policy in particular. The Saudi-Wahhabi state claims to replicate this classic Islamic model from era of the Prophet and the caliphs in its purported modern-day Islamic Utopia.

The clerics are spoiled in Saudi Arabia. As well as the judiciary, they dominate education policy, of course the mosques, and boast their own coercive apparatus, the “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” a squad of religious policemen who act effectively as another arm of the Interior Ministry. The aim is to deaden them to the allure of participatory politics. Thus it is clear why Saudi Arabia had an interest in ruining the Brotherhood’s year in power, an endeavor made easier with the group’s political naivety and incompetence.

In terms of transformations, Saudi Arabia offers the potential for a critical shift in modern Islamist/Islamic politics. A defining feature of Sunni Islam is the role of advisor to temporal rulers that the ulama assume, yet, strikingly similar to the example of Shi’ite ulama taking the sovereign reins of state into their hands in Iran since 1979, Sunni clerics in Saudi Arabia play around the boundaries of the relationship between the caliph and the priestly class, throwing up possibilities of the cleric claiming more of a direct role in the running of the state itself. While political Islam has been a movement of laymen (Hassan al-Banna was a teacher), in the Saudi context, because of the kingdom’s nature as an imagined Shariah state, it has involved a striking preponderance of clerics.

It was not, therefore, a surprise to hear Abdullah al-Hamed, the Islamist human rights activist, jailed earlier this year, once tell me that Saudi princes were denouncing the pro-democracy movement as a call for a “Khomeini-style state.” Saudi propaganda has for long essentially posited to its Western backers that with democracy the land of the dynasty would morph into a Islamic/Islamist state, run by Sunni clerics wielding the wider authority and legitimacy derived from controlling the pilgrim cities of Mecca and Medina.

Saudi Arabia’s other fear from the Brotherhood, shared by the UAE, is its openness to rapprochement with Iran. Morsi’s decision early on in his presidency to attend an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Tehran set off warning bells in Riyadh that its worst fears were about to be realized. For every two steps forward with Iran, Morsi always appeared to take one back as he tried to balance conflicting interests — during the Iran trip he conspicuously avoided a one-on-one meeting with then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. When his government made moves to allow Iranian tourists to begin visiting Egypt, Salafis were on cue as tools of Saudi policy with violent protests around the Iranian ambassador’s house, fearing they claimed a wave of Shi’ite proselytism in Egypt. Ironically, for all his efforts to build ties with Tehran, Morsi’s presidency will be remembered for the murder of five Egyptian Shi’ites in a village outside Cairo just weeks before he was turfed from office — a tragic statement of the Brotherhood’s spectacular over-reach in trying to build one alliance with the leading font of anti-Western rejection in the region and another with an Egyptian Salafi movement linked to Riyadh.

Most intriguing in the ouster of Morsi has been the response of Qatar. Widely reviled in Egypt as the Svengali behind the Brotherhood, Qatar was engaged in a stunning changing of the guard at almost the same time as the Brotherhood was going down. Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani voluntarily handed power to his son and designated heir Sheikh Tamim several days before June 30 in a move that became public in the weeks preceding, while the Tamarrud campaign was under way, but which had clearly been in the works for at least a few months. It is hard to avoid the sense that there is a connection between the two. Qatari power has receded in the face of a rearguard action by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their ancien regime allies in Egypt, removing not only the Brotherhood government in Egypt, but also downgrading Qatar’s role in the Syrian uprising after Western governments concluded that careless funding and arming of rebels had contributed to the strength of jihadist groups. The disaffection rose to the level of hugely popular comedian Bassem Youssef running a TV skit in March against Qatari godfathering of the Brotherhood government, in which operatic singers changed the words of a classic Arab nationalist song by Abdulhalim Hafez to say “Qatari Habibi” (my dear Qatar). One Egyptian working in Doha said that at that point Egyptians feared the Qataris might throw them out in a fury of revenge, or at least those of them who were not clearly Islamist in orientation.

Qatar has also irritated its neighbors with its closer ties to Iran. Sharing a major gas field with the Islamic republic, Qatar’s rulers have been keenly aware since Sheikh Hamad came to power in 2005 of the need to keep on good terms with Tehran. In 2007 the emir even invited Ahmadinejad to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Doha, informing his peers only at the last minute. At the time, in the wake of Hezbullah’s 2006 war with Israel in Lebanon, Doha facilitated a loose alliance of Islamist forces crossing Sunni and Shi’ite lines, encompassing Iran, Syria, Hezbullah, Hamas and the government in Turkey, much to the fury of Saudi Arabia and Egypt under Mubarak. While those days have gone, Qatar has still used Al Jazeera to help demonize Hezbullah for its support of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad against Syrian rebels, while Iran remains on better terms with Doha and Muscat than other Gulf states.

Many interpreted the signs from Qatar as indicating a shift in policy. The truth is, Qatar seems more to have decided on a time out after an intense period of controversial political engagement since January 2011 that has exposed the leadership of what remains, despite cliché, a very small country with a very small population — no matter how wealthy — to the dangers of reprisals and coup efforts by a range of parties disgruntled, indeed infuriated, by its Arab Spring policies. The desire to acquiesce, if not cheer, the new order was evident in the congratulations Qatar immediately offered to Egypt after Sisi announced the appointment of an interim president on July 3. The tone was defensive, almost apologetic. “Qatar’s policy was always with the Egyptian people and its choices in realizing democracy and social justice […] Qatar will continue to respect the will of the Egyptian Arab Republic and the Egyptian people with all its constituents,” it said, praising Egypt’s military for “defending Egypt and its national interests.” In Tamim’s accession speech a week before, he appeared to indicate a new focus on Qatar’s internal problems of development and economic management at a pace Qataris are more comfortable with, offering an interesting usage of the word “arrogance” to suggest Qatar should be humble in how it manages its vast resources and newly-acquired influence. Tamim has been a regular visitor to Riyadh in recent months, suggesting a desire to place relations with Saudi Arabia on a sounder footing, while Riyadh was his first destination when he began trips abroad in August.

Yet it is apparent from Qatari media, both domestic and international, that that is about as far things will go for now. Al Jazeera Arabic has continued to give airtime to Brotherhood supporters, settling back into the oppositional role that it played so well for over a decade. Promotional clips in-between shows of Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and pro-Morsi protesters have made it clear where the channel has pinned its colors as the coup in Egypt progresses. “Al Jazeera has become even more pro-Brotherhood,” a well-placed source who works with Al Jazeera Arabic said. In the first weeks following the coup, newspapers ran many more commentaries criticizing than praising the changes in Egypt, and Al Jazeera emerged as the leading media outlet opposed to the military regime as the crisis continued, running grainy footage of protests defying the post-Aug. 14 curfews reminiscent of its coverage of Syria’s bloody revolt. Rumors touted in anti-Islamist Egyptian media that Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the pro-Brotherhood Egyptian cleric, had been expelled from his Doha residence proved untrue. Qatar’s new Foreign Minister Khalid Al Attiya was in Egypt in early August in an attempt to mediate in the post-coup stand-off between the Brotherhood and the interim military-installed government, after the US State Department and resident advisors such as Palestinian Arab nationalist Azmi Bishara pressed the new emir to use Qatar’s good office with the Brotherhood to get involved and rebuild ties with Egypt.9

The whole point of keeping a figure like Qaradawi in Qatar all these years was to help create a body of religious scholars independent of the Wahhabi tradition — well-established in Qatar — and thus contribute to maintaining Qatar’s independence from its traditionally overbearing neighbor. Qatar’s indigenous class of religious scholars is Wahhabi in outlook, but Qaradawi and his followers functioned as a moderating influence on the population and the clerics. This desire to maintain independence from Saudi Arabia was a central characteristic of Sheikh Hamad’s rule and is intimately linked in Qatari minds to their country’s successes since 1995. For that reason alone, Qatar is unlikely to ditch Qaradawi or even the Brotherhood itself in a hurry — that would be to acknowledge that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi were “right” and Doha was “wrong.” Qaradawi was seen as a personal spiritual guide to Sheikh Hamad, who advised him to arm Syrian rebels and worry about the consequences later; he even gives his name to a government institution called the Al-Qaradawi Center for Islamic Moderation and Renewal.

The Gulf has become a key element in maintaining the duality of Islamist/secular, Brotherhood/“deep state” that is preventing Egypt’s long march for rights and dignity from reaching its destination. One country backs the Islamists, others back the entrenched military-security system and the crony capitalist class of elites that rely on them as their bet against them. If the array of Egyptians who are neither Brotherhood nor ancien regime supporters can form effective alliances in a way that proved impossible during the post-Mubarak elections held so far, then they will have dealt a blow to the central dynamic that Gulf states — all Gulf states — are betting on to prevent the forces of change from the west of the Arab world gathering momentum once again.

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1. “Analysis: Gulf Arab rulers tense over Egypt’s policy shifts,” Reuters, April 27, 2011, accessed Aug. 15, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/27/us-saudi-egypt-mubarak-idUSTRE73Q4GH20110427.

2.“UAE: Unfair Trial, Unjust Sentences,” Human Rights Watch, July 3, 2013, accessed Aug. 15, 2013, http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/07/03/uae-unfair-trial-unjust-sentences.

3. “Saudi king backs Egypt’s military,” AlJazeera.com, Aug. 17, 2013.

4. “West warned Egypt’s Sisi to the end: don’t do it,” Reuters, Aug. 14, 2013.

5. “Muslim Brotherhood’s reign in Egypt will end within a week: Ex-PM Shafiq,” Reuters, June 30, 2013, accessed Aug. 15, 2013, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContentP/1/75429/Egypt/Muslim-Brotherhoods-reign-in-Egypt-will-end-within.aspx.

6. “Egypt’s Mansour: A career bureaucrat and political unknown,” Israel Hayom, July 4, 2013.

7. Abdulrahman al-Rashed, Asharq al-Awsat, June 20, 2013.

8. Twitter comment, June 3, 2013.

9. From Egyptian political scientist Hassan Nafaa, an Al Jazeera guest in Doha.

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