King Salman Egypt Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Dijual: Mesir

KAIRO – Kunjungan Raja Salman dari Arab Saudi ke Mesir yang dirampungkan minggu lalu menghasilkan 22 kesepakatan, termasuk kesepakatan minyak bernilai $22 miliar guna menopang perekonomian Mesir yang tengah sekarat. Namun bantuan yang melimpah ini tidak tersedia secara gratis: Mesir harus melepaskan dua pulau di Laut Merah yang berada di bawah kendalinya setelah diserahkan oleh Arab Saudi pada tahun 1950. Langkah ini mengungkap kebohongan pemimpin Mesir bahwa negara mereka masih menjadi kekuatan regional. Mesir bahkan tidak mampu menghadapi tantangan domestik akibat pesatnya pertumbuhan populasi yang bergantung pada subsidi yang tidak mampu dibiayai negara – situasi yang dengan sukses dieksploitasi oleh kelompok jihadis. Bagaimana Mesir bisa mencapai titik ini?     

Ketika Muhammad Ali mengalahkan Inggris pada 1807, Mesir menjadi negara Arab pertama yang mendapat kemerdekaan de facto. Namun cucu Ali, Ismail, menyia-nyiakan kemerdekaan itu dengan melakukan pemborosan, sehingga menciptakan ketergantungan pada bantuan asing yang masih berlangsung hingga saat ini.  

Pertama, Ismail dipaksa untuk menjual saham Mesir di Terusan Suez di tahun 1875 untuk menutupi defisit anggaran. Ketika hal ini terbukti tidak cukup untuk menghentikan kebocoran fiskal, kreditor dari Eropa menyusun komite untuk memastikan pembayaran. Pada tahun 1877, lebih dari 60% pendapatan Mesir digunakan untuk membayar utang ini, Inggris mengambil kendali Mesir untuk melindungi investasi mereka.    

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