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Daily News Analysis

Saudi-Egypt: A bridge too far

Crescent International

Will the Saudis achieve their political and military objectives by building a bridge across the Red Sea to link-up with Egypt? If the bridge between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain is any guide, it will merely mean more Saudis satiating their carnal desires, this time going West. As far as the Saudis creating an anti-Iran alliance is concerned, which is what the bridge is reality meant for, it will be a non-starter. The Saudis will not survive.

Saturday April 09, 2016, 10:49 DST

There is no shortage of brain-haired ideas the Arabian dictators—clowns and tyrants—can throw up. The latest proposal, revived during Saudi King Salman’s visit to Egypt, is a bridge across the Red Sea.

The demented Saudi King Salman announced during his meeting with the Egyptian military dictator General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on April 8 plans to build a bridge over the Red Sea to Egypt. The idea is not new; it has been floated many times before without getting past the planning stages but given the desperation of the Najdi Bedouins and their tenuous hold on power, it has been revived again. The Bedouins are taking no chances.

Egypt under Sisi has been coy about getting too deeply involved in Saudi-led adventures, especially in Yemen where Saudi forces have demonstrably failed to achieve their military or political objectives despite more than a year of relentless bombing and destruction. Similarly, he is unlikely to show much enthusiasm for the Saudis’ anti-Iran campaign.

The Saudis had financed Sisi’s military coup against the first-ever democratically elected government led by President Mohamed Morsi.

The Saudis and their Arabian allies have also pumped billions of dollars into the bottomless pit called Egypt, without much success. While Sisi agreed to join the Saudi-led military alliance announced on December 15, 2015 by Mohammad bin Salman, the kingdom’s defence minister and son of the current king, many countries were taken by surprise.

The military alliance of 34 countries was another brain-haired idea announced without even consulting most of the countries that were supposed to be included in it. The gasps of disbelief heard in various capitals were loud and clear but the shameless Saudis felt no embarrassment.

Let us, however, return to the idea of the bridge. What precisely would it achieve provided it gets off the planning stage? There is a precedent: the Saudi-built 15-km causeway to Bahrain. The immoral Saudis drive across the causeway every Thursday evening to patronize the drinking holes and brothels in the island State.

Would the bridge to Egypt—if it ever gets built—serve any different purpose? Most Saudis are absolutely venal characters; they are capable of indulging in every immoral act imaginable and even some that are unimaginable.

Revival of the bridge idea to Egypt comes in the wake of the loss of Beirut as a watering hole for the Saudis. Lebanon is currently gripped by turmoil and the vulgar Saudis are too afraid to venture there anymore, at least in large numbers, hence the Egyptian option.

The aged Salman waxed eloquent about the bridge idea. “This historic step to connect the two continents, Africa and Asia, is a qualitative transformation that will increase trade between the two continents to unprecedented levels,” he said.

Sisi, grinning from ear to ear, could not contain himself. Only minutes earlier, he had presented the king with the ceremonial Nile Collar, a prestigious award, suggested naming the structure the “King Salman bin Abdel Aziz Bridge”. He knows how to massage the oversized ego of the Najdi Bedouins that are short on successes.

If it ever gets built, besides the Saudis going to Egypt to satiate their carnal desires, for the poor Egyptians it may prove a less expensive way to trek across the Red Sea into the desert kingdom for work.

Unlike the Saudis that will receive a warm embrace on the Egyptian side because of the money they will spend in dirt-poor Egypt, the Egyptian masses will be treated with the Saudis’ customary rudeness and brutality.

Dictators and other assorted tyrants can talk in grandiose terms but for their oppressed masses, these bring little comfort. The Saudi-Egyptian bridge idea is not likely to be any different. Nor is it likely to strengthen the Saudis’ hand vis-à-vis their rivalry with Islamic Iran.

The Saudis’ shelf life is expiring. Even a dunce like Sisi knows that.


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