Gulf Countries Threaten to Retaliate Against Egypt
OnIslam Arabic reported yesterday that the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Dar reported that Gulf countries have told the Egyptian Military Supreme Council that it must prevent Egyptian courts from holding Mubarak accountable for his crimes, and that if they fail to do so, they will retaliate by, among other things, expelling Egyptian workers and withdrawing Gulf investments from Egypt. The plausibility of such reports should not be dismissed outright. A democratic revolution in Egypt that holds corrupt politicians, including Mubarak, accountable to the law, is precisely the last thing that rulers of the Gulf wish to see. Unlike Iran, they cannot vilify Egypt on sectarian grounds. Accordingly, they reasonably perceive the success of the Egyptian Revolution as a direct threat to their own regimes, perhaps even more threatening than the Iranian Revolution of 1979 or Abd al-Nasir’s regime in the 60s. Nevertheless, it would be a great mistake for Egyptians to heed such threats. There are alternative sources of capital in the world, and a democratic Egypt would recognize that the talents of its people are its greatest resource. Some of the most talented Egyptians are in the Gulf, and their return could have a positive impact on Egypt’s development provided the right economic reforms are made. With a democratic government, the chances of implementing such reforms are greater than they have ever been in the past. Finally, and if the worst case scenario took place, the Egyptian government is not helpless: it could freeze their assets in Egypt until such time as they came to their senses.