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Egypt: a turning point in foreign policy
Material posted: Publication date: 28-03-2014

Developments over the past year in Egypt, influenced its geopolitical position. In the country's internal socio-political situation has already stabilized. But not all of the questions in determining the political course found the answers. It is obvious that Cairo has intensified its regional and global activities. He is looking for new partners and at the same time trying to maintain a balance in relations with them. Will this new leadership of Egypt?

Post-revolutionary "political revolution": the choice of Cairo

As you move away from the euphoria of the "Arab spring" middle East countries are making changes in foreign policy. Now, everyone recognizes the following truth: none of the Arab States of the region is in a situation in which they were before the process. Internal socio-economic, cultural, political and military environment is significantly different from the one that was just a few years ago. Changed the modes. There has been a serious upgrade in relation to Arab countries non-Arab States in the region and the geopolitical forces of the world.

More specifically, in the present time, the Arab-Muslim States in the Middle East is largely intensively experiencing a changing period in its history. Such influential countries in the region like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, etc., are looking for ways to harmonize the traditions of statehood and modernity. This process actualizes the task of the harmonization of domestic and foreign policy course. Undoubtedly, in this situation the concern of major countries of the Middle East was the revision of foreign policy priorities. In this series the experts ' attention is drawn to the fact, what direction will choose Egypt.

First of all it should be noted that such regional countries as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, etc., haven't updated in the full sense of the word in its foreign policy. Now important is that this process has begun, and global geopolitical forces are expressing an attitude to this. This is evident in several respects. First, the West, Russia and China again revise its economic and military ties with the major States of the region. Secondly, the increased diplomatic activity. Thirdly, the struggle between major powers for influence in the region has entered a new phase.

One of the main features of this new phase is the expansion of the field of struggle and coverage of Eastern Europe (Ukraine), the Caucasus and Central Asia. In other words, the outcome of the confrontation between the West, Russia and China in Ukraine will affect the Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian and Iraqi issues. In this respect the foreign policy of powerful States in the Middle East, along with the regional level, we have to consider in the plane the geopolitical processes on the global level.

Through the prism of such reasonings the attention of specialists attracted by Cairo's foreign policy last two years. The question is considered in three aspects: first, in the aspect of the new Egyptian regime in the international arena, and secondly, in terms of new shades of the Cairo regional policy, thirdly, to achieve complementarity of internal socio-political and economic realities and new foreign policy priorities. Now analysts and experts analyze the diplomatic moves of the new government in Egypt, formed as a result of the military coup of field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

This revealed a subtlety. His first visit as Minister of defence and military industry of al-Sisi made in Russia. President Vladimir Putin received him at his Novo-Ogarevo residence. This is evidence of the high appraisal given to the Egyptian field Marshal. Experts believe that such a step, Putin strengthened the position of Egypt in the international arena. At the same time it became a major support for the candidacy of al-Sisi for President.

According to Russian analysts, this visit, along with the above, reflects another context related to global geopolitics. Egypt wants to see Russia as one of its main partners in foreign policy (see: Irina Mokhova. New orientation of foreign policy of Egypt / Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 3, 2014).

American policy and the regional context

But there is another factor that cannot be left aside. We mean that U.S.-Egyptian relations have traditionally been strong (see, eg.: Gökhan Telatar. Değerler ve Çıkarlar Ikileminde ABD'nin "Arap Baharı"na Yönelik Politikası / "Uluslararası Hukuk ve Politika", 2012, Vol. 8, No. 29, pp. 55-86). In fact, Russian experts also note this point. On the one hand, in their opinion, the experience of recent years proves that there is a need for presence of Russia in the middle East. They believe that relations with Moscow will increase the independence of regional States.

On the other hand, "for its objective options Russia can not become a force capable of balancing the U.S. influence" (see: Andrey Baykov, Igor Istomin. Unexpected, Russia's partners in the middle East / "International processes", 2013, No. 2). So interest is the question of the place that takes the new leadership of Egypt in the rivalry between Washington and Moscow. At the same time we should not forget about geopolitical issues, forcing Cairo to turn to the Kremlin.

The fact that Washington initially didn't supported the military uprising against Muhammad Mursi. The Obama administration feared a repetition of the Iraqi and Syrian experience. She didn't want to appear before the anti-democratic Muslims. Only after it became clear who is stronger in Egypt, the White House has changed its attitude toward al-Sisi.

Despite this, the US is insulated team al-Sisi from several international forums. Official Cairo feared the adoption in the UN security Council decisions aimed against him. Therefore, his appeal to Russia to understand you. Now the Kremlin is engaged in military cooperation with al-Sisi and simultaneously rises to his defense in the international arena. The main factor, which is a threat to Moscow, according to Russian analysts, is radical Islam (see: previous source). In this case, the new Egyptian authorities can be a strategic partner of Russia.

The above-mentioned points indicate that Egypt is interested in strengthening relations with Russia the new content. Moscow also feels the need for this cooperation. But all this should not mean, if Cairo took US to the back. On the contrary, the government of Egypt should forge even closer ties with Washington to get rid of terrorism and internal strife. Another issue is the regional policy of Egypt.

It is unlikely that the official Cairo alone will be able to solve the current situation. He needs the financial support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. In addition, Riyadh has supported the new leadership of Egypt. If Qatar defends Mohamed Morsi, Saudi Arabia gives preference to al-Sisi. Currently, the official Cairo assesses this service Riyadh. Because in the short term, Egypt will not have opportunities to compete with Saudi Arabia, these countries and there are no obstacles in the way of cooperation. Egypt is economically weaker than the Saudis (see: Irina Mokhova. The decree. article).

Listed Arab countries have close ties with the US. It is obvious that, if Egypt wants to strengthen its position in the region, it needs to develop relations with American allies in the region. Now the official Cairo intensifies its activity in this direction, and time will tell whether it will be successful.

All this confirms that in the foreign policy of Egypt's new shades. On the one hand, given the content a more balanced relationship with major powers of the world, on the other, expanded cooperation with powerful countries in the region. Apparently, Cairo is paying attention and ensure that the forthcoming presidential elections were held in a calm atmosphere. There are forces that support the candidacy of al-Sisi. But in this case the Egyptians will have to find an answer to the following question: "is it possible to hold legitimate elections, the military overthrew the legitimate President?" More specifically, is there not here a contradiction? Do not put any political opponents that they to reproach, even if elections pass in calm atmosphere?

In Egypt, under the cries of "hurrah" Mohamed Morsi was elected President, but just one year later with the same sentiment supported al-Sisi. I wonder whose turn is it now? And isn't that often change and foreign policy?


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