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Egyptian historic breakthrough with Russia, not a strategic shift yet

By       Message Nicola Nasser     Permalink
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These are the bedrocks of Egypt's strategic alliance with the US and because they were and are still safe in good hands under both the removed president Morsi and the prospective president al-Sisi, it will be premature to conclude that the revived Egyptian -- Russians relations indicate any strategic departure therefrom.

 

Preserving or discarding these Egyptian commitments is the litmus test to judge whether Egypt's revival of its Russian ties is a strategic maneuver or a strategic departure.

 

Other indicators include the financial and political sponsorship of al-Sisi's government by none other than the very close Arab allies of the US, like Jordan and in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, who had already together pledged twenty billion dollars in aid to al-Sisi and reportedly are funding his armaments deal with Russia.

 

Saudi Al Arabia satellite TV station on this February 13 quoted Abdallah Schleifer, a professor emeritus of journalism at the American University in Cairo, as sarcastically questioning President Barak Obama's performance: "What an extraordinary accomplishment President Obama will take with him when he retires from office -- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which provided (late Egyptian president) Anwar Sadat with both moral and financial backing to break with the Russians in the early 1970s and turn towards the United States -- may now finance an Egyptian arms deal with the Russians," Schleifer said.

Al-Sisi's supposed "Nasserist" and "pan-Arab" orientation could not be consistent, for example, with inviting the defense ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Bahrain, Morocco, and their Jordanian counterpart Prime Minister Abdullah al-Nsour to attend the 40th anniversary celebrations of the 1973 October War. Syria was Egypt's partner in that war and Jamal Abdul Nasser's major "pan-Arab" ally, but it was not represented. The countries which were represented were seriously against Abdul Nasser's Egypt and its pan-Arab ideology, but more importantly they were and still are strategic allies of his US-led enemies and peace partners of Israel.

US Aid Counterproductive

US whistleblowers warning of an Egyptian strategic shift are abundant as part of blasting Obama for his foreign policy blunders. For example, US foreign policy scholars Tom Nichols and John R. Schindler, quoted on this February 13 by The Tower.org staff, who agree that they rarely agree on anything, are agreeing now that Obama's administration is undermining "nearly seven decades" of bipartisan American efforts aimed at "limiting Moscow's influence" in the Middle East.

But Nael Shama , writing on Middle East Institute website on last December 16, said: " It can be argued that Egypt's flirtation with Russia does not mean a shift in the country's foreign policy away from the United States as much as an attempt to induce the United States to shift its Egypt policy back to where it was before " in order to pressure the United States and to arouse concern among American politicians about the prospect of losing Egypt, encouraging them to amend unfavorable policies."

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*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Palestine. He is based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

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