When President Obama called Saudi King Abdullah to discuss events in Egypt last night, he must have gotten a don’t-go-wobbly earful. The Saudi Press Agency, according to Stratfor.com, is reporting today that the king “affirmed the importance of Egypt’s stability, safety and security.” And, as the SPA put it, “the events in Egypt are accompanied by chaos, looting, intimidation of innocents, exploitation of freedom and expression as well as attempts to ignite chaos to achieve suspicious goals which are unapproved by either Saudi Arabia or the United States.” Abdullah would not look kindly on Mohammed ElBaradei as the next Egyptian president, of course. Far from cutting off the head of the snake, as IAEA inspector, ElBaradei was seen as overly accomodating and protective of Iran and its nuclear efforts. The king views Egypt as “integral” to the Arab and Islamic nations, as SPA explains, and thus within his sphere of influence. A rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood, with or without ElBaradei, would pose a threat to this. Since the Saudi monarchy has been the go-to authority for nearly all matters Islamic and Arabic (Iraq was a glaring exception to this rule) for both Democrat and Republican administrations, I suspect we won’t see any immediate suspension of U.S. military aid to Egypt as is recommended by the Working Group on Egypt.
by Nina Shea