Egypt Leaning Toward Syrian Allies
A lawmaker said Cairo's widening rift with Saudi Arabia has pushed Egypt toward Syria and its allies, namely Iran and Russia, indicating a major change in the region's political equations.
A sign of growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Egypt appeared earlier this month, when the latter supported the Syrian government in the UN Security Council by voting for a Russian-drafted resolution on Syria. The Saudi UN envoy Abdullah Al-Moallami described this opposing stance "painful".
Days later, a Saudi official announced that the Saudi state-owned oil company Aramco had suspended its oil aid to Egypt.
The oil kingdom supports militants trying to overthrow the Syrian government and has spent huge amounts of petrodollars to arm them.
In recent weeks, reports have surfaced about Egypt's military presence in Syria.
Jalal Dehqani Firouzabadi, deputy chairman of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy, told ICANA on Tuesday that "Egypt and Saudi Arabia have a conflict of interests, which results from Riyadh's support for takfirism" and its role in the spread of terrorism in the region.
Takfiris regard followers of some Islamic sects who do not believe in an extreme interpretation of Islam as apostates punishable by death.
Breeding Ground for Takfirism
Takfirism is a main principle of Wahhabism, a radical faith preached and exported by Saudi clerics who have the blessing of the ruling Saudi authorities, and takfiri terrorists have many sympathizers inside the kingdom.
These terrorists constitute a major section of the insurgents involved in the nearly six-year-old war in Syria and other crises in the Middle East.
Firouzabadi censured Saudis' hawkish policies and the kingdom's role as the main sponsor of terrorist entities, including Al-Qaeda, Taliban and the self-styled Islamic State militant group.
"So far, Egypt has paid a heavy price in its fight against takfiri terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula", said Firouzabadi, adding that serious security threats posed to Egypt have made Egyptian officials to turn their backs on Saudis.
In recent years, Egypt's government has been in a fierce fight with extremist insurgent groups, including Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, one of the most active ones that changed its name to Wilayat Sinai and pledged allegiance to IS in November 2014.
Wilayat Sinai is believed to be waging a war to take control of the Sinai Peninsula and turn it into a region loyal to the IS, and to this end has carried out dozens of attacks that have killed hundreds of soldiers and police officers.