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AR   73.85        National Housing for Professio   14.39        El Ahli Investment and Develop   4.87        Egyptian Saudi Finance Bank   10.79        Ismailia National Food Industr   5.16        National Societe Generale Bank   25.52        Acrow Misr   19.16        Alexandria Mineral Oils Compan   63.63        Paper Middle East (Simo)   5.59        Egypt Aluminum   12.31        Giza General Contracting   13.12        Middle Egypt Flour Mills   5.82        Extracted Oils   0.6        Assiut Islamic Trading   4.56        Engineering Industries (ICON)   3.95        North Cairo Mills   15.3        Arab Pharmaceuticals   11.88        Grand Capital   5.38        El Ahram Co. For Printing And    10.68        Minapharm Pharmaceuticals   25.49        El Arabia Engineering Industri   13.52        El Nasr For Manufacturing Agri   9.71        Naeem portfolio and fund Manag   1.7        Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt -   6.76        Natural Gas & Mining Project (   68.26        Housing & Development Bank   13.95        East Delta Flour Mills   31.5        Orascom Development Holding (A   3.22        Memphis Pharmaceuticals   11.12        Abou Kir Fertilizers   134.23        Delta Insurance   5        Cairo Investment & Real Estate   12.18        Cairo Oils & Soap   12.98        Egyptian Arabian (cmar) Securi   0.36        Egyptian Real Estate Group Bea   15.56        Alexandria Containers and good   85.51        Upper Egypt Flour Mills   45.78        Development & Engineering Cons   9.94        Sinai Cement   15.18        Medical Union Pharmaceuticals   28.01        Torah Cement   24.2        Alexandria New Medical Center   46.55        Export Development Bank of Egy   5.04        Egyptian Company for Mobile Se   92.02        Middle & West Delta Flour Mill   32.7        El Kahera El Watania Investmen   4.18        Mansourah Poultry   12.41        Delta Sugar   11.04        Misr Beni Suef Cement   41.21        Egyptian Satellites (NileSat)   6.14        Cairo Educational Services   17.75        Lecico Egypt   7.55        Sharm Dreams Co. for Tourism I   5.3        General Silos & Storage   10.77        Al Moasher for Programming and   0.66        UTOPIA   5.28        Arab Ceramics (Aracemco)   25.4        Barbary Investment Group ( BIG   0.98        

News - MENA News

Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-03-19 06:52:46
Gunmen opened fire Wednesday at the Bardo museum in Tunisia's capital, killing at least 22 people, including 20 foreign tourists, in one of the worst attacks in this struggling North African democracy that depends heavily on tourism. "There are 22 dead including 20 South African, French, Polish and Italian tourists," interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told AFP, without providing further details on the identities of the victims. Men with assault rifles fired at tourists climbing from buses in front of the National Bardo Museum in central Tunis near the country's parliament, sending dozens sprinting for safety. Two gunmen were killed, but Prime Minister Habib Essid said a manhunt was on for at two or three others. The identity of the attackers wasn't clear. Twitter accounts associated with the extremist Islamic State group based in Syria and Iraq were described as overjoyed at the attack, urging Tunisians to "follow their brothers," according to Rita Katz of SITE, a U.S.-based organization that monitors militant groups. However, the European Union's foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini blamed Islamic State on Wednesday for the attack and said that "with the attack that has struck Tunis today, the Daesh terrorist organisation is once again targeting the countries and peoples of the Mediterranean region". More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-03-18 17:00:38
Gunmen in military uniforms stormed Wednesday Tunisia's national museum, killing 17 foreign tourists and two Tunisians in one of the worst militant attacks in a country that has largely escaped the region's "Arab Spring" turmoil. Visitors from Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain were among the dead in the noon assault on the Bardo museum near parliament in central Tunis, Prime Minister Habib Essid said. Security forces stormed the former palace around two hours later, killed two militants and freed other tourists held hostage inside, a government spokesman said. One policeman was killed in the police operation, Reuters reported. European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Islamic State militants, who have become particularly active in neighboring Libya, were behind the attack. "The EU is determined to mobilize all the tools it has to fully support Tunisia in the fight against terrorism," she added. Prime Minister Essid declared in a national address: "All Tunisians should be united after this attack which was aimed at destroying the Tunisian economy." Television footage showed dozens of people, including elderly foreigners and one man carrying a child, running for shelter in the compound, covered by security forces aiming rifles into the air. The attack on such a high-profile target is a blow for the small North African country that relies heavily on European tourism and has largely avoided major militant violence since its 2011 uprising to oust autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. Tunisia's uprising inspired "Arab Spring" revolts in neighboring Libya and in Egypt, Syria and Yemen. But its adoption of a new constitution and staging of largely peaceful elections had won widespread praise and stood in stark contrast to the chaos that has plagued those countries. Authorities did not immediately identify the gunmen. But several Islamist militant groups have emerged in Tunisia since the uprising and authorities estimate about 3,000 Tunisians have also joined fighters in Iraq and Syria -- raising fears they could return and mount attacks at home. "Two terrorists disguised in military clothes got into the parliament building, then the museum where they attacked tourists. Nineteen people were killed including 17 foreign tourists. Twenty-two tourists are wounded," the prime minister said. ARAB SPRING REVOLTS "Two militants opened fire on the tourists as they were getting off the buses before fleeing into the museum," one Bardo employee told Reuters at the scene. An official at the Italian foreign ministry in Rome said two Italians had been wounded in the attack. About another 100 Italians were in the area and had been taken to safety by Tunisian police, authorities added. The museum is known for its collection of ancient Tunisian artifacts and mosaics and other treasures from classical Rome and Greece. There were no immediate reports the attackers had copied Islamic State militants in Iraq by targeting exhibits seen by hardliners as idolatrous. Islamic State affiliates are gaining a foothold in neighboring Libya where two rival governments are battling for control. A senior Tunisian militant was killed while fighting for Islamic State in the Libyan city of Sirte over the past week, authorities said. Wednesday's assault was the worst attack involving foreigners in Tunisia since an al Qaeda suicide bombing on a synagogue killed 21 people on the tourist island of Djerba in 2002. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-03-18 10:18:46
Saudi's Savola Group has obtained all necessary approvals for the sale of its packaging unit and its subsidiaries to Takween Advanced Industries, it said on Tuesday. Savola will book a capital gain in the first quarter of 2015 of 265 million riyals ($70.7 million) from the sale of Savola Packaging Co, according to the bourse filing. Takween in December agreed to buy the packaging unit of the region's largest food firm for 910 million riyals ($242.5 million), which included assuming the unit's debt. It signed a 1.3 billion riyal loan last week to help finance the acquisition and to provide working capital. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-03-18 10:14:13
Abu Dhabi-based First Gulf Bank said on Wednesday its board will discuss revising foreign share ownership in the lender. A bank statement posted on the bourse website did not give details of the possible changes to foreign ownership but said the board meeting will be held on December30. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-03-17 08:23:45
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's march towards becoming the longest-serving leader of Israel could be halted on Tuesday in an election that has exposed public fatigue with his stress on national security rather than socio-economic problems. Surging rhetoric against Iran and the Palestinians has done little to close Netanyahu's lag behind center-left opponent Isaac Herzog in opinion polls. Should Herzog narrowly win the ballot as predicted, he would be the likely first pick to form the next government. That would not rule out the coalition-building task reverting to Netanyahu, if Herzog fails to win enough support in a rightist-dominated parliament. Much will depend on which candidate the smaller, centrist parties choose to crown, and the leaning of a joint list uniting Israel's four Arab parties, which is expected to come in third. Dubbed "King Bibi" by Time magazine just three years ago, Netanyahu, 65, has cast the threat to his reign as a foreign-orchestrated bid to install an Israeli leader who might yield to Palestinian statehood or nuclear diplomacy with Iran. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-03-16 08:30:14
Western powers are hoping for concessions from Tehran that could help clinch a political agreement in nuclear talks this week after the United States and European powers voiced a willingness to compromise on suspending U.N. sanctions, officials said. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had been due to meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, later on Sunday to try to break the logjam ahead of a crucial round of talks between Iran and six major powers. But a senior U.S. State Department official later said that meeting would be delayed until Monday due to extensive U.S.-Iranian consultations earlier on Sunday between nuclear and Foreign Ministry officials. Kerry has urged Iran to take decisions now to enable them to clinch a political framework agreement for a nuclear deal with Tehran that would lift sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program ahead of an end-March deadline. The parties have set a June 30 deadline to finalize an accord. "Serious gaps still remain," Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted by Iran's ISNA student news agency as saying. "We have had progress in the recent talks and during this round of talks we will see whether more progress can be achieved." "We hope to narrow the gaps on important disputes," he added. Kerry told CBS news on Saturday he hoped "in the next days" it would be possible to reach an interim political deal with Iran if Tehran can show that its nuclear power program is for peaceful purposes only. It is not yet clear when the talks between Iran and the six powers will begin in Lausanne. Reuters reported last week that the United States and five other powers and Iran have begun talking about a possible draft resolution to endorse any future deal and address the lifting of U.N. sanctions. The U.N. penalties could be eased quickly in the event of an agreement, Western officials said. Officials close to the talks said this was a major new concession on the part of the United States, which had long insisted that U.N. sanctions would remain in place for years to come after a nuclear deal was signed, while unilateral U.S. and European measures might be lifted more swiftly. "This was a quite a shift in the U.S. position and we hope the Iranians will follow with concessions on their end," a Western official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "So far the concessions have been mostly one-sided, though there has been some limited progress recently." NEW POSITION Iranian officials have privately welcomed the new position on U.N. sanctions in the talks on the part of the United States and France. Diplomats say the other members of six power group back the idea of a swift suspension of U.N. nuclear sanctions if there is a deal, though they caution that many U.N. restrictions would stay in place. "Iran knows that it will not happen overnight, but the fact that it is being discussed at the (six powers') capitals and having a resolution is a sign of their willingness to resolve the issue," a senior Iranian official told Reuters. Iran, which rejects Western allegations it wants an atomic weapons capability, wants the U.N., EU and US sanctions lifted all at once. A nuclear accord that ends the decade-long standoff with Iran is seen as crucial to reducing tensions in the region. Officials on both sides of the talks said it will be very difficult to get a political agreement this week. Iranian officials say that a signed agreement this week is unlikely, though they do not rule out some kind of verbal understanding. Some eight U.N. resolutions dating back as far as 2006, four of them imposing sanctions, demand that Iran freeze uranium enrichment and other sensitive atomic work. They also bar the country from buying and selling atomic technology and anything linked to ballistic missiles. There is also a U.N. arms embargo. In his CBS interview, Kerry also redoubled his criticism of Republicans, who said that seeking U.N. Security Council resolutions that endorse any deal and lift U.N. sanctions before seeking approval of Republican-led Congress would be wrong. He said a letter from 47 Republicans to Iran's leadership warning that any deal with President Barack Obama bypassing the Senate would not be binding and could be rescinded later was an unprecedented intrusion on executive authority. Kerry voiced the hope that the letter would not undermine the negotiations in Lausanne. The State Department said on Friday that any lifting of U.N. sanctions would not impact unilateral U.S. sanctions or limit Washington's ability to take action on its own against Iran in the future. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-03-15 07:56:36
Iraqi Kurdish authorities said on Saturday they had evidence that Islamic State had used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against their peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq in January. The Security Council of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region said in a statement to Reuters that the peshmerga had taken soil and clothing samples after an Islamic State car bombing attempt on Jan. 23. It said laboratory analysis showed "the samples contained levels of chlorine that suggested the substance was used in weaponized form." The Kurdish allegation could not be independently confirmed. Chlorine is a choking agent whose use as a chemical weapon dates back to World War One. It is banned under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits all use of toxic agents on the battlefield. Peter Sawczak, spokesman for the Dutch-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said: “We have not had a request from Iraq to investigate claims of use of chemical weapons in Iraq, and the OPCW cannot immediately verify the claims.” More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-03-14 08:02:09
Frustrated by guerrilla tactics from Islamic State militants, Iraqi forces paused for reinforcements on Friday in a major offensive to take back the city of Tikrit. The operation appeared to have stalled for the time being, two days after Iraqi security forces and their mainly Shi'ite militia allies pushed into Tikrit, the home city of executed ex-president Saddam Hussein. A source in the military command said Iraqi forces would not move forward until reinforcements reached Tikrit, of which Islamic State still holds around half. If government forces wrest full control, it will be the first time they have won back a city from Islamic State since it over-ran large areas of the country last year and declared an Islamic caliphate in territory it is holding in Iraq and Syria. From there it has spread fear across the region by beheading Arab and Western hostages and killing or kidnapping members of religious minorities like Yazidis and Christians. In Tikrit, the militants have deployed snipers and turned streets into a labyrinth of home-made bombs and booby-trapped buildings. Forces loyal to powerful Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and known as the 'Peace Brigades' appeared to be positioning themselves to join the government offensive. Up to 1,500 fighters had reached the sacred Shi'ite city of Samarra, south of Tikrit, a source in Sadr's provincial office told Reuters. The deployment came days after Sadr announced the "unfreezing" of his forces' participation in battles against the militants. He had suspended their actions after allegations of abuses committed by other Shi'ite militias during recent operations. One official said he was told that the Peace Brigade fighters intend to push north toward Tikrit on Saturday. Hadi al-Amiri, the head of the Shi'ite paramilitary Badr Organization and now one of the most powerful men in Iraq, said the outcome of the battle for Tikrit was in no doubt, but Iraqi forces needed time. "We are not in a hurry, but we have a plan and we are following it," Amiri told state television from the frontline. "Even if the battle drags on for two, three or four days that is okay. We will celebrate the liberation of Tikrit from the enemy.”   IRANIAN ROLE A victory in Tikrit would give Iraqi forces momentum for the next stage of the campaign to retake Mosul, the largest city under control of Islamic State. But the involvement of Iran, which backs some of the Shi'ite militia at the forefront of the campaign and is also playing a direct role, is a source of unease for some Sunnis in Iraq and across the wider region. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani has been spotted on the battlefield overseeing the Tikrit offensive. The foreign minister of Sunni Saudi Arabia, Saud al-Faisal, last week said the battle for Tikrit showed how Iran was "taking over" Iraq. Islamic State fighters overran the city last June during a lightning offensive that was halted just outside Baghdad. They have since used the complex of palaces built in Tikrit under the late Saddam as their headquarters. The insurgents were still in control of the presidential complex and at least three other districts in the center of Tikrit on Friday. Iraqi special forces attacked a medical college in southern Tikrit at dawn, but the militants managed to fend them off, killing three soldiers, according to the military command source. A further six people were killed when a Humvee vehicle packed with explosives rammed into an outpost of the Iraqi forces to the west of the city. More than 20,000 Iraqi troops and Shi'ite militias, supported by local Sunni tribes are taking part in the offensive, which began 11 days ago. OFFENSIVE AROUND KIRKUK Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani said in an audio-recording published on Thursday that its fighters remained "steadfast" and were growing in strength, dismissing its enemies claims of gains in Tikrit as "fake". Adnani warned followers of the danger posed by Shi'ites, using a derogatory term to refer to them: "The rejectionists have entered a new phase in their war against the Sunni people: they have begun to think of taking and controlling the Sunni areas," he said. "They have come to take your homes and belongings, kill your men and rape and enslave your women." Even if the militants are routed from the city, they still hold a vast area straddling the Syrian border where they are likely to regroup, and Iraqi forces have previously struggled to hold ground they have retaken from the extremist group. Islamic State is on the back foot in the north, where Shi'ite militia and Kurdish forces known as peshmerga went on the offensive around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Friday. The peshmerga began attacking IS positions near Kirkuk on Monday and have retaken territory and a number of villages to the southwest. Kurdish commanders said they had faced relatively weak resistance, but were being held up by homemade bombs. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-03-11 08:21:58
Iraqi troops and militias drove Islamic State insurgents out of the town of al-Alam on Tuesday, clearing a final hurdle before a planned assault on Saddam Hussein's home city of Tikrit in their biggest offensive yet against the ultra-radical group. The power base of executed former president Saddam's clan, Tikrit is the focus of a counter-offensive against Islamic State by more than 20,000 troops and Shi'ite Muslim militias known as Hashid Shaabi, backed by local Sunni Muslim tribes. If Iraq's Shi'ite-led government is able to retake Tikrit it would be the first city clawed back from the Sunni insurgents and would give it momentum in the next, pivotal stage of the campaign - to recapture Mosul, the largest city in the north. A Reuters photographer saw dozens of families, who earlier fled al-Alam to escape Islamic State rule, return to the town, celebrating and slaughtering sheep for the victorious forces. "I announce officially that the town is under the total control of security forces, the Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) units and local tribal fighters," said local mayor Laith al-Jubouri. "We rejoice in this victory and we want al-Alam to be the launchpad for the liberation of Tikrit and Mosul," he told Reuters by telephone. Mosul in the far north is the largest city held by the ultra-radical Islamic State, who now rule a self-declared cross-border caliphate in Sunni regions of Syria and Iraq. But the ultra-radical group over the past few months has gradually lost ground in Iraq to the army, Shi'ite militias and Kurdish peshmerga forces, backed by air strikes carried out by a U.S.-led coalition of mainly Western and allied Arab states. The United States says Baghdad did not seek aerial backup from the coalition in the Tikrit campaign. Instead, support on the ground has come from neighboring Iran, Washington's longtime regional rival, which backs the Shi'ite militias and has sent an elite Revolutionary Guard commander to oversee part of the battle. READY FOR TIKRIT The Iraqi army and militias now control the two towns to the north and south of Tikrit along the Tigris river and appear ready to move on the city itself. Security officials said the assault could start as early as Wednesday, although the 10-day campaign has so far been marked by gradual and steady advances rather than rapid attacks. Security officials said Islamic State fighters blew up a bridge over the Tigris on Tuesday, aiming to hinder any advance. Both al-Dour and al-Alam lie on the east bank of the river, opposite Tikrit. But the army has a large military base on the same western side from which it could send forces into Tikrit. Hundreds of Shi'ite army recruits who abandoned the Speicher military base last June were shot dead in one of the biggest mass killings carried out by Islamic State fighters. There have been fears that the Shi'ite-dominated security forces and militia would seek revenge on local Sunni residents for the Speicher killings. In the nearby village of Albu Ajil, local officials said houses had been set on fire by the militia. Some houses were also set alight in al-Alam, but local tribal fighters said they belonged to security force members and government workers and were burnt by the retreating insurgents. A local official said security forces and militias had regained control over the Ajil oilfield northeast of al-Alam, but other sources said the situation was still unclear. Black smoke columns could still be seen rising from the area and Jubouri, the al-Alam mayor, said Islamic State fighters set ablaze at least 10 wells in the oilfield. He could not confirm it was completely under the control of security forces. An Interior Ministry source said two of the ministry's armored vehicles were hit by Islamic State missiles or rockets north of al-Alam, and heavy clashes were taking place. He did not give details of casualties. The Reuters photographer inside al-Alam saw two destroyed Islamic State vehicles, which had been targeted by army helicopters on Tuesday, with charred bodies still inside. Islamic State has sent reinforcements to Tikrit from other parts of its "caliphate" further north, where it came under attack on Monday from Kurdish forces around the oil-rich-city of Kirkuk. A Kurdish commander said his forces would press on with their offensive and had captured another village on Tuesday. They had stopped in an area called Kwas, but would resume in coming days, Major General Omar Hassan said. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-03-10 09:40:17
Under its new monarch, Saudi Arabia appears to be moving to improve relations with Turkey and Qatar and soften its stance against the Muslim Brotherhood with the aim of weakening Iran. The shift could lead to pressure on its ally Egypt to reconcile with them as well. The pressure, however, threatens to open frictions within the alliance between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two of the Middle East's strongest Sunni countries. Under the late Saudi King Abdullah, who died in January, the two nations increased their cooperation against militants, the Brotherhood and the influence of Shiite Iran in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi — so far — has appeared to resist any reconciliation with Turkey and Qatar, the two top regional backers of el-Sissi's No. 1 nemesis, the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Sisi rose to the presidency after, as army chief, he led the military's 2013 ouster of Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader elected Egypt's president a year earlier. Since the ouster, al-Sisi has led a fierce crackdown on Islamists, crushing the Brotherhood and branding it a terrorist organization, while Egyptian media have depicted Turkey and Qatar as trying to destabilize Egypt by backing the group. The new Saudi king, Salman, who rose to throne after his half-brother Abdullah's Jan. 23 death, appears to view the greater threat as Iran or extremist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. Turkey and Qatar both could give a boost to a front against those opponents. "The new government, the new king, may feel that the old ways simply are not working," said Brian Downing, a Washington-based political analyst. Both al-Sisi and Turkish President Receb Tayyip Erdogan were in Saudi Arabia last week, each meeting separately with Salman and not with each other. Afterward, Erdogan told reporters that "Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — this trio — are the most important countries of the region. We all have duties to carry out for the peace, calm and welfare of the region." Salman and al-Sisi discussed the issue of Egypt's relations with Qatar and Turkey, according to Egyptian officials familiar with the talks. Al-Sisi told his host that the two's policies continue to spread violence and terror in the region. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. "I want to tell our brothers in Saudi Arabia who are listening to us: Imagine someone is trying to destroy a nation of 90 million people. What do you think is people's reaction?" al-Sisi said, visibly angry as he spoke before the visit to the Saudi-owned channel Al-Arabiya. He was alluding to the Brotherhood and its foreign backers. As part of their growing alliance, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations have given Egypt billions of dollars to prop up its crippled economy. Still, there have been divergences between Egypt and Saudi Arabia — most particularly over Syria. Saudi Arabia seeks the removal of Iranian-backed Syrian President Bashar Assad. That is one reason for its closing ranks with Qatar and Turkey, which both back factions fighting Assad. Al-Sisi, meanwhile, consistently has avoided saying whether Egypt objects to Assad remaining in power. Earlier this year, he had a very public reconciliation with Qatar, but then ties cooled once more. The Saudi government traditionally divulges little about its plans, leaving media commentators close to its leaders the job of explaining its rationale. The state-linked Saudi newspaper Okaz, for example, declared last week that Saudi-Egyptian relations have "entered a new turning point." It said the kingdom is trying to "achieve closer viewpoints between its sister Egypt and other countries in the region for the good and benefit of all." Mohammed al-Zulfa, a former member of Saudi Arabia's advisory Shura Council, told one Saudi paper that the kingdom wants better Arab-Turkish ties in large part because "a convergence of views (with Turkey) could reduce Iranian expansionism." But the price of any improvement with Turkey and Qatar would likely be an easing of the crackdown on the Brotherhood. King Abdullah took a hard line against the group, following Cairo's footsteps and branding the 87-year-old Islamist group a "terrorist" organization. Soon after Abdullah's death, hints of a new approach appeared. Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the Saudi newspaper Al-Jazira that the kingdom has "no problem with the Muslim Brotherhood," only with certain members whose loyalties lie with the Brotherhood's supreme leader. One telling column in the Al-Hayat newspaper, owned by a Saudi royal, warned that Egypt should not expect a "blank check" or ignore Riyadh's interests. Egyptians cannot tell the Saudis not to forge closer ties with Turkey just because Ankara supports the Brotherhood, columnist Khaled al-Dekheil wrote. "For Saudi Arabia to continue keeping Turkey at a distance, as some in Egypt would like, will not serve regional balances at this time," al-Dekheil wrote. In unusually harsh criticism of Egypt in the perennially cautious Saudi media, he wrote that Cairo blew the Brotherhood issue out of proportion because of a lack of a "political and intellectual project" that Egyptians can rally around. Al-Sisi vehemently rejected any suggestion that relations with the Saudis have suffered since Abdullah's death. In a Feb. 22 address to the nation, al-Sisi sought to reassure Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies of Cairo's respect and gratitude for the financial backing. His comments appeared designed for damage control after the release of audio tapes in which al-Sisi and members of his inner circle purportedly mock the Gulf Arab nations and suggest Egypt is milking them for every dollar. On one key point which he and the new Saudi leadership agree on, he warned that the entire region would be hurt if Egypt staggers. "The instability of Egypt or its plunge into chaos ... will mean the fall of the entire Arab region and will threaten the Europeans themselves for many years to come," al-Sisi said. More»