Saudi Arabia and Egypt: Old and new

Saudi King Salman’s current visit to Egypt is very important at this particular time. Egypt has a significant status in the Arab world and Africa, and plays an important role in matters of war and peace.

Its geographic location, political history, demographic weight, moral significance, promising market and soft power all helped Egypt rise throughout various eras. Its army is a pillar of security and power-balance in the Middle East.

The vitality of the Egyptian people resulted in two revolutions in two years, changing the political regime from President Hosni Mubarak’s rule to that of the Muslim Brotherhood, and now popular republican governance. Saudi Arabia is well-aware of all these facts. Its social, commercial, cultural and economic ties with Egypt go back a long way.

Saudis are present in Egypt in Al-Azhar, and poetry and literature clubs. Egyptians are present in the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque in Saudi Arabia, and the coastal cities of the Red Sea. They have been there for centuries - an example is famous Egyptian poet Baha’ al-din Zuhair, who was born in Mecca.

Hospitality

These significant ties were reflected in the speech that King Abdulaziz, founder of Saudi Arabia, gave following his historic visit to Egypt in 1946, where the Egyptian people, king, politicians and intellectuals welcomed him with unprecedented hospitality.

Its geographic location, political history, demographic weight, moral significance, promising market and soft power all helped Egypt rise throughout various eras

Mshari al-Thaydi

Upon his return to Saudi Arabia, he told his people in a speech: “A statement is not enough to describe [the hospitality] I’ve been met with. My pride is that I felt that the Egyptian army is your army and that your army is Egypt’s, and that Egypt’s civilization is yours and that your civilization is Egypt’s. These two armies and civilizations [empower] Arabs.”

His son King Salman is walking the same good path, whose results are peace and security for Arabs, Muslims and the entire region, with all its religions and sects. Some hope to ruin bilateral ties by saying some Saudi policies do not harmonize with those of Egypt, but this is normal in politics.

They disagree over Syria, but big countries know how to manage good relations responsibly and wisely. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are the Arab people’s wings.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Apr. 06, 2016.
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Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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