The Conflict in Egypt: A Proxy for Competing Ideologies in the Middle East

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 Unidentified anti-Muslim Brotherhood/Morsi protesters in Tahrir Square shout slogans calling for Morsi's resignation on June 30, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt.
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As the U.S. struggles to find a way forward in Egypt, the country’s conflict has become a proxy war for competing ideologies in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have pledged $12 billion to Egypt's interim, military-backed government. On Monday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also promised to fill a funding gap, should the U.S. and the European Union cut off aid.

The U.S. and E.U. aid already pales in comparison to what the Gulf States have pledged—the U.S. gives the Egyptian military $1.3 billion per year, while the E.U. gives $6.6 billion.

On the other side of the equation are Qatar and Turkey, who have lent their support to the Muslim Brotherhood. Before the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, Qatar pledged a total of $8 billion in aid to Egypt, and Turkey described the Egyptian military's crackdown on the Brotherhood as a "clear massacre."

Robin Wright, distinguished scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and the U.S. Institute of Peace, says the growing political divide in Egypt reflects a broader trend throughout the Middle East. Wright is the author of "Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World," and she explains why, in many Arab Spring countries, political compromise has grown rare while the citizenry becomes increasingly polarized.