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Cold War in the Islamic WorldSaudi Arabia, Iran and the Struggle for Supremacy$
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Dilip Hiro

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190944650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190944650.001.0001

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The Arab Spring—Reversed by a Saudi-Backed Counterrevolution

The Arab Spring—Reversed by a Saudi-Backed Counterrevolution

Chapter:
(p.241) 12 The Arab Spring—Reversed by a Saudi-Backed Counterrevolution
Source:
Cold War in the Islamic World
Author(s):

Dilip Hiro

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190944650.003.0012

Saudi King Abdullah played a central role in rolling back non-violent, popular movement for democracy and human rights that occurred in early 2011 in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen. The election of Muhammad Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, as president in Egypt’s first free and fair election in June 2012, went down badly in Riyadh. It welcomed the military coup against Morsi in July 2013. Abdullah helped to put together a package of $12 billion to shore up the military regime in Cairo. Iran described the popular demonstrations in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain as Islamic Awakening, and welcomed Morsi’s victory. But it failed to pin that label on the peaceful protests in Syria under President Bashar Assad, affiliated to the Alawi sub-sect in Shia Islam. In 2013 the Syrian civil war acquired an international dimension when the Assad regime used chemical weapons – described as a red line by US President Barack Obama. His failure to punish Assad for crossing this red line disappointed Abdullah. He ignored the fact that Obama-led tightening of economic sanctions against Iran by the US and the European Union were making Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani amenable to a compromise on the nuclear issue.

Keywords:   Arabs’ street demonstrations, Muhammad Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, Anti-Morsi coup, Abdullah backs counterrevolution, Bahsar Assad, Barack Obama, Chemical weapons, Hassan Rouhani

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