The silent Middle Eastern revolution that not many talk about: Nation after nation turning away from the US, in favor of Russia. After Hillary Clinton’s Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood crusade on the secular governments in Egypt, Libya, Syria and other nations, a silent revolution has been happening, in slow motion.
As the lesson being that those who oppose the US’ neo-con movement, probably will receive “humanitarian bombing” and civil war on their soil, the negative buzz about the US is somewhat quenched.
But not behind doors, not in the restaurants, not in the family gatherings. No one dares speak too loudly, though most seem to agree. The current situation in Libya is more than sufficient threat as to what will happen to your nation if you disagree with the US-EU “push for democracy”.
Egypt, now next, as Egypt is steadily growing closer to Russia. But hush, so we don’t get another “Arab spring” or “Western democracy coming”- civil war.
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In August 2017, American and Egyptian forces resumed Operation Bright Star after an eight-year hiatus due to both the Arab Spring and the former President Barack Obama’s ire at Egyptian human-rights abuses, writes Anna Borshchevskaya at National Interest.
That Operation is a biennial military exercise intended to showcase both the political alliance between Washington and Cairo and their two military’s tight relations. The most recent operation capped a new honeymoon in U.S.-Egypt ties that began with President Trump’s election and continued with a state visit in Washington and the release of long-imprisoned American aid worker Aya Hijazi.
But, will warm U.S.-Egypt ties persist? And, if they sour against the backdrop of Congressional human-rights sanctions and simple neglect, could Russia be poised to flip Egypt? While perhaps unimaginable to diplomats who, for a generation, have taken Egypt’s Western orientation for granted, the answer is unfortunately yes.
Throughout the Cold War, Egypt was a prize, too important to cast aside. For instance, President Eisenhower stood up not only to Israel but also North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies France and Great Britain after they invaded Egypt to reverse Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal. But Egypt nevertheless moved into the Soviet orbit, training Egyptian pilots in Russia and ultimately culminating in a Treaty of Friendship under Nasser’s successor Anwar Sadat. But deft American diplomacy managed to flip Egypt back into America’s camp where, especially after the Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt, it has remained a cornerstone of American regional security policy.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to dislodge American influence in the Middle East and raise Russia’s great power status, Cairo is increasingly in Moscow’s crosshairs. For example, Putin has agreed to resume Russian flights to Egypt that were suspended the same year after a terrorist attack downed a Russian charter flight killing over two hundred Russian tourists onboard. This move comes at the same time as the American Senate Appropriations Committee holds up $300 million in aid until Egypt compensates an American injured when the Egyptian military fired on a group of tourists near the Libyan border.
This matters because the Egyptian economy is heavily dependent on tourism and because Russia has been the single most significant source of tourists to Egypt for years. In 2010, for example, prior to the Arab Spring, tourism brought nearly $13 billion to the Egyptian economy. Also, official calculations do not capture the myriad indirect benefits, including cash tourists, spend on the streets, all of which has a significant positive impact on Egyptian households.
The return of Russian tourists also helps Egypt’s current leader, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, resist stringent International Monetary Fund demands for Egyptian reform. Additionally, for Moscow, economic partnerships have ulterior motives. For example, a May 23 agreement to establish an industrial trade zone in Port Said puts Russian political interests astride the Suez Canal.