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A sure way for Egypt to turn around

Reader comment on item: The West Lacks a Plan
in response to reader comment: Read through the future

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Aug 18, 2015 at 17:21

Hi, Mark. You asked a direct question or two, such as,

"How could you say that investment banks cannot see or forecast through the future?"

I didn't say that explicitly, but it is a valid statement. Nobody can predict the future; and nearly the entire investment community proved to be massively wrong in 2008 -- just seven years ago. You went on...

"Do you truely live on earth or have a minimal undestanding of how invstment banks works."

Yes and no. Going forward...

In terms of Egypt being desprate, do you see lately notice the visits by the crown prince to Egypt before and during the enaguration of the new Suze Canal?

Yes, I did notice. The visit was dismissed by commentators as an effort on the part of the Saudis to shore up flagging Egyptian support for them. The Saudi king is pro-Muslim-Brotherhood; and of course Sisi sees the MB as his most dangerous enemy. He would probably have little to do with the Saudis on that count alone; but he is, as you've correctly quoted me, desperate for the Saudi financial assistence that has been propping him up the past two years. What you are saying here, then, actually builds my case. You continued...

Do not you unerstand that Egypt is one of the major stability pillare to the GCC and the middle east in genral

Of course I do! I even implied as much in my post. The Saudis need Egypt, the most populous Arab country, on their side in order to give them "street cred" in the Arab world. Specifically, I said,

"The fact that the Egyptian leaders have been going begging to Saudi King Salman, repaying the favor by supporting him in Yemen, tells me that Egypt is desperate."

The Saudis are giving Sisi and Egypt desperately-needed financial and diplomatic support; and in return, the Egyptians are giving political and military backing to the Saudis in Yemen. When the House of Saud embarked on their intervention against the Houthis, they were counting on promised help from Pakistan. When Pakistan proved to be a bruised reed to lean on, and Turkey proved to be equally useless as an ally, they put their total reliance on Egypt.

Now, let me ask you if you are fully appraised of what's going on. The MB in Yemen is supporting the invading Saudis, as this article attests. This is not an automatic "given" in Yemeni politics. Yemeni history, in fact, includes a protracted recent war in which the Saudis were backing the Zaidis (from whom the Houthis are drawn) and Egypt was backing the opposing Republicans; so the Egyptians are not "natural" partners of their royal neighbors. Moreover, as I have already mentioned, the MB continue to be bitter enemies of al-Sisi. How, then, are they supporting the same side in Yemen? Clearly, both the Saudis and the Egyptians are in a very uncomfortable alliance between each other -- an alliance brought about by... need I repeat it to bring home the point? ...desperation.

The desperation is, on Egypt's part, due to their financial mess as much as by the very dangerous Islamist insurgency bedeviling it. Remember that the "Arab Spring" in Egypt, which put the MB in power in 2011, was due in large part by a sharp rise in the price of bread. Sisi appears to have been trying to address the economic problems, with massive Saudi and Kuwaiti help. The quickly-built new Suez Canal channel is testimony to this. That might increase transit revenues from the canal; but I suspect the dramatic drop in tourism revenue has not seriously reversed itself yet because of the unrest above and below the surface there. Just yesterday, a German tourist to Bangkok said,

:HOLGER SIEGLE: We were thinking about not going to Egypt, not going to Morocco, Tunisia, or Syria or whatever, but we were not thinking about not going to Bangkok. And our honeymoon and our vacation will go on, but with a very unsafe feeling.
-- http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2015/s4295233.htm

That doesn't sound like a vote of confidence for Egypt as a tourist destination. Apart from the security problems Egypt is having, the Nile water issue continues to loom over the country like a dementor in Harry Potter. I shouldn't need to elaborate on that.

You go on, talking about what a "hot" prospect the Egyptian economy is. Do you want to invest in a promising economy? Here's a list of this year's top performers. Egypt didn't make the list. China tops the list; but that is no guaranty of future gain in China: They are a risky country to invest in; and yes, my family is deeply invested in them. I visited China in 2011, and can attest to the fact that they have a pretty decent business climate there; but still, I will tell you they are a high-risk place to invest. I don't need to tell you, on the other hand, what Egypt looked like in 2011; and between China and Egypt, I would put my money in China any day.

I wish Egypt the best; and I will tell you what the absolutely best thing for the Egyptians to do is: Get rid of their hatred for the Jews, and start partnering with Israel in earnest. The minute they do that, my outlook of the place will sharply turn around.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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