JNN 04 May 2012 Cairo : Saudi Arabia has closed its embassy in Cairo and recalled its ambassador to Egypt after protest rallies were held in front of the embassy and Saudi consulates in Suez and Alaxanderia.
While a Saudi official cited threats to Saudi citizen’s safety and health as the reason for closing diplomatic missions, observers believe the decision comes as a result of Riyadh’s fear of Egypt’s popular uprising.
What has enraged Egyptians is the arrest in Saudi Arabia of Egyptian lawyer and rights activist Ahmed Mohammed Al-Gizawi on charges of possessing illegal drugs. Al-Gizawi who was on an Umrah pilgrimage trip was arrested at Jeddah airport.
As a lawyer, he has defended several Egyptians imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. But more significantly, he has criticized the Saudi monarch and that seems to be the reason behind his arrest.
The news of Al-Gizawi’s arrest prompted popular protests in Egypt, which led to the closure of the Saudi embassy as well as its consulates in Suez and Alexandria.
On Friday around 1,000 protesters demonstrated outside the mission, demanding the release of Gezawi and other Egyptians held in Saudi jails, witnesses said.
“Oh Saudi ambassador, we will respond to every lash with a hundred!” they chanted, some of them showing their anger by removing their shoes and waving them at the building – a gesture deeply insulting in Islamic culture.
Egypt’s foreign ministry bemoaned “irresponsible actions” by protesters at the embassy and said they were at odds with “deeply rooted Egyptian-Saudi ties”.
Activists in Cairo, including Gezawi’s wife, said early in the week that the lawyer was detained when he arrived for pilgrimage after being sentenced in absentia to a year in prison and 20 lashes for insulting King Abdullah.
The Saudi embassy on Tuesday denied that version of events and said he had been arrested for possession of more than 21,000 pills of the anxiety drug Xanax, which is banned in Saudi Arabia.
But there is another factor here that should be held into account. Saudi rulers are foes to Egypt’s popular revolution and support movements that oppose the January 25 Revolution.
According to Dr Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri Abyaneh, who holds a PhD in strategic management, the Al-e Saud regime has been feeling insecure since the Egyptian uprising started.
“Al-e Saud, like the Zionists, do not feel safe to be among Egyptian people,” he told IQNA. “That is why it has closed its Cairo embassy. Despite investing billions of dollars in publicity campaign, Saudi Arabia, which represents Wahabi rule, is despised by Muslim nations for giving asylum to hated figures of the Arab world like Ben Ali and Tareq Al-Hashemi and supporting criminals like Hosni Mubarak and Al-e Khalifa regime.”
He said the slogan of ‘Death to Al-e Saud’ is being heard in Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen today, which indicates isolation of Saudi Arabia among Muslim nations.
Ghadiri Abyaneh went on to say that by closing its embassy and consulates, Saudi Arabia apparently intends to stop issuing Hajj visas for Egyptian Muslims , which is the fundamental right of all the Muslims of the World , which shows that the Holy Sanctuaries (Makkah and Medina) should not be under Al-e Saud control but should be administered by Muslim nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).