Since the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the brutal military crackdown on the Islamic movement that has led to more than 1,000 deaths, regional actors in the Middle East have been positioning themselves behind the opposing sides. There has been a divide among U.S. allies, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait coming out in strong support of the military rule in Egypt, and Qatar remaining a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Morsi government.
“Saudi Arabia has emerged very publicly,” Phyllis Bennis, a Middle East analyst who directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, told Trend Lines. “The Saudis tend to play a quiet role diplomatically, throwing money around but not talking about it very much, so this more public role is a very different position for them.”
Both Bennis and Adel Iskandar, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Communication, Culture and Technology Master of Arts Program, noted that by emerging as the most prominent backer of the Egyptian military, Saudi Arabia is likely distancing itself from the United States.