The strategy paper says that in future the Emiratis should select their partners in Egypt with more care.
In a reference to the current campaign in the Egyptian media against the new Saudi ruler, King Salman, and his son Mohammed - which has seen the kingdom attacked for its role in Syria and allegedly over-bearing control of Egypt - the document says they will have to stop the war of words because it hurts Emirati interests.
The paper spells out in blunt terms Emirati ambitions to control Egypt.
This aim is inherent in a section recommending three conditions for continuing the bailout of Sisi's government.
Those conditions are: removing the petrol subsidy over the next three years by respectively cutting it by 30 percent, 30 percent and then 40 percent annually; demanding that the Emirates should set the strategy for the price of the Egyptian pound in comparison with the US dollar,which would be tantamount to controlling Egypt’s monetary policy; and cutting bureaucracy. Each of these are domestic policies.
The document further reveals the extent to which Sisi has let down his paymasters. One analyst who has been studying the deteriorating relationship between the two countries said:
“The criticism indicates that they are not happy with Sisi and that he is not serving their purpose. The main idea the Emiratis have is that MBZ [
First, the Emiratis think the media war that has broken out between Egypt and the Saudi kingdom is hurting Abu Dhabi’s interests.
Last month the Egyptian newspaper al-Youm al-Sabea reported a row between the chairman of the state owned al-Ahram media group Ahmed el-Sayed al-Naggar and the Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Ahmad Qattan, which ended with al-Ahram claiming that “even a building in central Cairo” is older than the kingdom.
A pro-government TV anchor, Ibrahim Eissa, accused Saudi Arabia of funding terrorist groups in Syria, called on Sisi to stop being “a captive to Riyadh,” and urged Egypt to be liberated from the relationship of gratitude to Saudi Arabia.
Second, the Emiratis are unhappy about Sisi’s broken promises to send ground troops for the Saudi-led campaign against the Houthis in Yemen, a war in which the UAE was forced to commit troops.
Sisi used the expression in Egyptian Arabic “masafah as-sikkah,” meaning it would take him the time it needs to cross a road to come to the aid of the Gulf states if they needed military aid.
So far, no Egyptian troops have materialised on the ground in Yemen.
Third, they complain that Sisi is not listening to them when they ask for economic and administrative reform or when they demand that good governance be used as the basis of a stable state.
“From Abu Dhabi’s point of view, Sisi has not performed. He does not have a strategy for economic reform. Services are very bad. So from the Emirati perspective Sisi is not doing what he is told to do,”
Relations with Riyadh
Sisi’s relations with Riyadh also worsened after he discovered that a rival Egyptian army general has been in the kingdom for the past two weeks holding private talks.
Sources close to the kingdom reveal that Egyptian military intelligence asked the Saudis why Sami Anan, a former chief of staff, was there.
They were told Anan was there on a private visit and in an individual capacity and there was nothing the government in Riyadh could do to stop it.
Anan was second only to Mohammed Hussein Tantawi when Mubarak was ousted in 2011. He was sacked by Mohamed Morsi when the latter became president in 2012.
According to the informed Saudi sources, Anan is one of three names being considered to replace Sisi.
The others are Ahmed Shafiq, a former general who is at present in exile in Abu Dhabi, and Murad Muwafi, a former head of the General Intelligence Directorate, who like Anan was sacked by Morsi. Both Shafiq and Muwafi are regarded as close to the Emirates.
In his conversations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, King Salman has made no secret of his wish to keep the military in charge of Egypt.
However, that calculation has changed in the past three months to the extent that Salman no longer regards Sisi as a stable leader of Egypt.
They think Sisi’s term as leader has expired, so they are examining who within the military could take over, as well as reaching out to all sections of the Egyptian political opposition, most of whom are in exile.
Anan, regarded as a calm but wily leader who is naturally risk averse, is a leading candidate for Saudi favour.
He has a strong claim to represent the Egyptian military, although those very credentials render him suspect to Egyptian opposition forces, who recall his time in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which ruled Egypt from Mubarak’s overthrow to Morsi’s election and oversaw the country while the blood of protesters was being spilled in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
“If they are looking for a military figure, Anan is the best option. But someone accepted by the military is not going to be accepted by the majority. That is where Anan’s problem would be,” said one member of the Egyptian political opposition.