Egypt's Sisi under fire over 'unfit' Qatar remarks

Egypt's Sisi mocked online after telling Qatar to 'mind its own business'
3 min read
23 Jul, 2017
Egypt's president has come under fire for "unfit" remarks he made seemingly towards the Gulf state of Qatar during an inauguration of a military base.
The speech comes as Cairo continues to struggle to keep finances stable [Getty]

Egypt's president has come under fire for "unfit" remarks he made seemingly towards the Gulf state of Qatar during an inauguration of a military base.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned unnamed Arab states during the speech on Saturday to not interfere in domestic Egyptian affairs, warning them to "mind their own business".

"You want to interfere in Egypt? Egypt has million people who eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in a single day that's a whole year's worth in some countries," Sisi said in a thinly veiled reference to Doha.

"When we do a housing project in Egypt, we make a million flats in two or three years. I am sorry but that is the whole population of some countries. Why do you want to interfere in Egypt? could you pay our bills?"

"Could you pay Egypt $100 billion every year? No you couldn't, so you better mind your own business in your own country," Sisi added at the inauguration of the base, which Egypt says is the largest in the Middle East.

Egypt has long accused Qatar and Doha-based media outlets of interfering in Egyptian domestic affairs by supporting the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, which came to power following the 2011 popular uprising.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke off relations with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting "terrorism" and leaving Doha economically and politically isolated.

Qatar categorically denies the charges and says it is being targeted for its independent foreign policy.

Sisi's remarks have sparked criticism and mockery.

"Sisi is blaming Qatar for interfering in internal affairs while at the same time he is demanding, along with the blocking countries, that Qatar scales back its relations with Iran," political figure Hazem Abdel Azim wrote on Twitter.

A former Egyptian diplomat told The New Arab that the president's comments were suitable for the streets of Cairo's working-class districts not an address to the nation.

"Unfortunately, Sisi uses the logic of a foreman, he thinks everything is about money while he forgets the value of the Egyptian state," the diplomat said.

On social media, many users mocked Sisi by saying that his government has failed to provide for Egyptian with food and basic services.

The speech comes as Cairo continues to struggle to keep the finances stable with the economy nose diving after Sisi's 2013 overthrow of Egypt's first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi.

Egypt is looking at an IMF bailout to fund projects in the country but it has been the country's poorest who have paid the heaviest cost for austerity measures rolled out by Cairo to help curb government spending.

Prices have rocketed on basic commodities as Egypt looks at cutting subsidies which have provided a safety net for the country's poorest.