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Arab Leaders Happy To See Morsi Deposed

Beirut — Arab leaders from Saudi Arabia to Syria rushed yesterday to congratulate Egypt for deposing its elected Muslim Brotherhood president, signaling a rare moment of unity in the divided and still overwhelmingly undemocratic region.

The enthusiastic response to the Egyptian military’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi underscored the extent to which the Islamist leader had failed to win allies abroad, much as he had at home, alienating Egypt’s traditional friends and foes alike with an often erratic foreign policy.

It also served as a reminder that most Middle Eastern leaders remain unelected, despite the upheavals since 2011 that have spawned new democracies in three of the Arab world’s 26 countries. In many of those nations where autocrats still rule, the Muslim Brotherhood poses the most potent challenge.

The region’s traditional Sunni Muslim monarchies made no attempt to hide their relief at Morsi’s ouster.

Saudi Arabia, which historically had close relations with Egypt but not with Morsi, hailed the “wisdom and moderation” of the Egyptian military for acting to remove him.

By doing so, the army “managed to save Egypt at this critical moment from a dark tunnel,” said a statement by King Abdullah.

Jordan lavished praise on the Egyptian people, saying that their “resolve has left the whole world amazed,” according to Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. Young Egyptians in particular had brought “intellectual and moral credit to the Arab nation,” he said.

The United Arab Emirates, embroiled in a dispute with Morsi over its own crackdown against the Brotherhood, noted “with satisfaction” the developments in Egypt, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Even Qatar, which had alienated its neighbors by cultivating ties with the Brotherhood regionwide, also offered warm congratulations to Egypt’s army, signaling a break with the past on the part of its new emir, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who inherited power from his father last week.

The acclamations put Sunni powers on a par with the leader they are trying to topple, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who gloated at the Brotherhood’s failures in an interview Wednesday. “The Muslim Brotherhood’s experiment fell quickly because it is wrong, and what is built on a wrong principle will definitely fall,” said Assad, who has cast his country’s civil war as a battle between secularists and Islamists.