The Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie was detained early Tuesday, Aug. 20, in a Cairo hideout near Nasr City, where one of the protest camps was broken up last week. Most of the Brotherhood’s leadership are now in custody or have fled the country, some of them to the Gaza Strip. The Badie arrest marks the collapse of his movement’s resistance to Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s takeover of rule from president Mohamed Morsi. Protest rallies scheduled for Monday in Cairo and other Egyptian towns were cancelled after the army was deployed at key sites. After a week of violent clashes, life began returning to normal in Egypt’s cities. Badie’s arrest was aired non-stop through Tuesday night by Egyptian state television. Next week, he and other leading Brotherhood members go on trial on charges of inciting violence and causing the deaths of hundreds of civilians, soldiers and police officers.
DEBKAfile reported earlier on the deep Saudi involvement in lobbying the West on behalf of Egypt’s military rulers and in negotiations for Moscow’s support.
Monday, Aug. 19, communiqués from Riyadh made it clear that if the Obama administration withholds military or economic assistance from Egypt, Saudi Arabia would replace those amounts. Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal set out on a tour of European capitals – according to DEBKAfile’s Gulf sources, with a tough message: Call off your campaign against Gen. El-Sisi and your pressure to restore Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, or else your economic ties with Saudi Arabia will be affected – or even severed. The Saudi minister knows that, with the exception of Germany, no European government can afford to forego those ties.
The Saudi campaign had its first success in Paris, where in a joint French-Saudi statement, President Francois Hollande, backing off from French denunciations of the military crackdown on the Brotherhood, appealed for Egypt’s “roadmap” (authored by Gen. El-Sisi) to be given a chance.