First Tunisia…Now Egypt…
Is Saudi next?
The wave sweeping the Islamic world may or may not result in less repressive regimes in the Middle East. One hopes the demonstrators would have learned from Iran’s mistake. Indeed, Iran’s religious dictatorship is every bit as nasty as the worst of the Middle Eastern dictatorships.
Saudi Arabia slammed protesters in Egypt as “infiltrators” who seek to destabilize their country Saturday while an Iranian official called on Egypt to “abide by the rightful demands of the nation” and avoid violent reactions.
Saudi King Abdullah called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and “was reassured” about the situation in Egypt, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.
“During the call, the king said, ‘Egypt is a country of Arabism and Islam. No Arab and Muslim human being can bear that some infiltrators, in the name of freedom of expression, have infiltrated into the brotherly people of Egypt, to destabilize its security and stability and they have been exploited to spew out their hatred in destruction, intimidation, burning, looting and inciting a malicious sedition,'” the news agency said.
Saudi Arabia “strongly condemns” the protest, it said.
Mubarak assured the Saudi king “that the situation is stable” and that the protests “are merely attempts of groups who do not want stability and security for the people of Egypt, but rather they seek to achieve strange and suspicious objectives.”
Mubarak added that Egypt will “deter anyone who tries to exploit the freedom of (the) Egyptian people and will not allow anyone to lure those groups or use them to achieve suspicious and strange agendas,” the news agency said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Mubarak and “affirmed his solidarity with Egypt and and his commitment to is its security and stability,” according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.
In the wake of protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, and Yemen, analysts say other Arab governments in the region are wary of demonstrations spreading to their countries.
In Iran, meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Egyptian authorities should respect the demonstrators.
“Iran expects Egyptian officials to listen to the voice of their Muslim people, respond to their rightful demands and refrain from exerting violence by security forces and police against an Islamic wave of awareness that has spread through the country in form of a popular movement,”the state-run Press TV quoted Mehmanparast as saying.