Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

The relationship between Egypt and Saudi Arabia has been one of the most important bilateral relationships in the Middle East for decades. Recently, however, a rare media spat between the two nations has put the relationship to the test. The spat developed after two prominent Saudi commentators close to the monarchy criticized the development failures in Egypt and the dominant role of the military in the country’s economy.

In response, Abdel Razek Tawfiq, the editor-in-chief of the Egyptian state-owned newspaper Al Gomhuria, wrote an editorial defending Egypt from the insults. He claimed that the “mean, the scoundrels and the nouveau-riche have no right to insult their masters,” drawing on derogatory stereotypes and claims of historical superiority.

Despite this media spat, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is trying to play down the situation and strengthen the relationship between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. During a recent visit to a food plant, Sisi said: “If we can’t say something good, we should remain silent…We only write to improve and strengthen relations, not the opposite.” He went on to emphasize the importance of the support that Saudi Arabia has provided to Egypt over the years, and that this should not be forgotten.

The financial support from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states has been crucial for Egypt, especially during the acute financial crisis of the past year. In December, Egypt secured a $3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which entailed structural economic reforms and the expectation of new financing and rollovers of debt from the Gulf.

Despite this support, there are concerns about the future of the relationship between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as the ability of the Egyptian government to implement the structural reforms required by the IMF. As Ali Shihabi, another well-known Saudi commentator, recently tweeted: “Egypt is a black hole that will never close unless the government is able to make material structural reforms.”

It is clear that the relationship between Egypt and Saudi Arabia is going through a difficult period, but both nations are trying to find a way to overcome the challenges and strengthen their relationship. The close historical and cultural ties between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as the importance of their relationship to the stability and security of the Middle East, make it imperative that they find a way to work together.

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