By Husna Anjum (NVONews.Com)
After presidential election neighbours of Egypt, particularly Israel and the Gulf monarchies, are watching the developments in the country closely.
Israel has reason to be wary as the ruling Muslim Brotherhood––Mohammad Mursi’s party––has close links with the Hamas in Gaza. Besides, Brotherhood has a history of opposing the Zionist state. It is other thing that it has opted for pragmatism to contest election.
But the Sheikhs and Kings of Gulf are worried over the coming to power of Mursi. They were after all quite close and sympathetic towards the ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
Lakhs of Egyptians work in these oil-rich countries and send billions of dollars annually back to the country. Egypt is no big oil producing country, though Suez Canal contributes to its economy.
Thus the Gulf rulers are keeping a close watch on the Egyptian expats. Only last April a human rights activists lawyer from Egypt was arrested in Jeddah while he went to perform Umra in Saudi Arabia. This led to protest by Muslim Brotherhood. Riyadh angrily withdrew its ambassador from Cairo over this rally against Saudi Kingdom.
But experts are of the view that Mursi knows the economic condition of his country well and would not allow the revolutionary zeal of the Brotherhood to go overboard. So these expats, many of them Brotherhood sympathizers and even members, would remain well within their limits. So the Gulf Sheikhdoms need not remain so much alarmed of them.
Still the Gulf rulers fear, what is called the spread of revolutionary epidemic. Unlike Shia Iran, Egypt is essentially a Sunni dominated country. So the Egyptian migrants living in the Sunni dominated peninsular Arab may have much bigger impact on the local population than that of Iran. They may be a source of inspiration for these rich Arab nations.
Media reports suggest that the UAE have adopted a more restrictive policy regarding work permits for Egyptian nationals.
On the other hand Mursi will have to do a lot of tight rope walking on Syria. While Syria always supported the cause of Hamas the way the successive Syrian regimes of Hafez and Bashar al-Assad crushed Muslim Brotherhood in that country has been a matter of conern.
The new regime in Egypt may support the opposition in Syria but it may not go all out against it as many Gulf kingdoms, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar are doing. The Brotherhood in Egypt knows how precariously placed Syria is and how much Israel can fish in the troubled water. Any misadventure in Syria may jeopardize the casue of Hamas.