August 16, 2013
Facing condemnation at every hand from the West, Egypt’s military rulers received a powerful shot in the arm from Riyadh Friday, Aug. 16, with an unprecedented public assurance from Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz that the kingdom supports Egypt in the fight “against terrorism” – the military rulers’ term for Muslim Brotherhood resistance. In a statement broadcast by official Al-Ekhbariya TV, Abdullah said Egypt’s stability is being targeted by “haters” and warned that anyone that interferes in Egypt’s internal affairs seeks to “waken sedition.”
debkafile and DEBKA Weekly have been reporting since last week that Saudi Arabia and the UAR stand firmly behind Egypt’s military strongman Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.
debkafile reports a weak response to Brotherhood’s call for millions to rally Friday to join in the protest in support of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and against the government crackdown two days ago which left more than 600 dead. No more than tens of thousands of supporters took to the streets across the country Friday. By the early hours of the evening, 50 people were reported killed in clashes across the country – in Cairo, Fayoum, Damietta and Ismailia – including a number of security personnel. The figure is expected to rise. An officer was killed at one of the checkpoints thrown up to block the demonstrators’ access to Tahrir Square.
The relatively low turnout points to the Muslim Brotherhood’s hard core having decided that avoiding further deadly clashes with the Egyptian military is the better part of valor.