by Amal Saleh for Al Yom 7
“The Brotherhood is a gamble the U.S. lost. The fact that Washington drew back from using the term ‘coup’ affirms its commitment to maintain its relationship with Cairo. The strengthening of relations with Russia is an ‘urgent need’ and not against America.” Dr. Aly El-Samman
Dr. Aly El-Samman, head of the International Union for Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue and Peace Education, affirmed that the United States is poised to refrain completely from supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. Washington is no longer willing to bet on a losing horse, for the Egyptians have sent the White House a clear message telling it to stop meddling in our internal affairs.
In an interview with Al Yom 7, El-Samman said, “The visit of the Russian foreign and defense ministers to Egypt is of great importance, as it makes it clear to Washington that Egypt will not remain dependent upon the whims of the United States. The diversification of sources of weaponry is not a sign of hostility to the United States, for the Cold War is over.”
El-Samman added that America’s abandonment of its hard-line tone towards Egypt, and the fact that it has stopped using the term “coup” in reference to the revolution of June 30, all reveal that Washington is being careful not to alienate Egypt. It is likely that the United States will resume the suspended aid, especially considering the Americans did not announce any aid cuts, but rather suspended it temporarily. The Brotherhood is a gamble the U.S. lost. The fact that Washington drew back from using the term ‘coup’ affirms its commitment to maintain its relationship with Cairo. The strengthening of relations with Russia is an ‘urgent need’ and not against America.
Q: Does this mean that Egypt is seeking a strategic alternative to replace the United States?
A: I do not think that one alliance could replace another, or that Cairo or Moscow are thinking this way. It’s not a new alliance. There were strong relations with Russia in the past that declined. Now it is in the interest of both countries to have move closer. The rapprochement between Egypt and Russia sends a message to the United States. But this rapprochement is not meant to end the relations between the Washington and Cairo. It is simply a message that Egypt is master of its own will.
Q: Do you see a link between the recent visit to Cairo by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the visit by the high-level Russian delegation?
A: Not really, especially considering that the strong rhetoric the Americans were using in reference to Egypt softened considerably during Kerry’s visit.
Dr. Samman offered the view that the United States realized that the Muslim Brotherhood were just a brief chapter in Egyptian politics, and that the Egyptian people decided to close that chapter and move on. Washington didn’t want to push its luck, because losing Egypt would disturb of the balance of U.S. relations in the region. Samman added: “I believe that Washington is watching the scene closely, but the Americans are quite aware that relations with Egypt, however shaken, are important.”
Q: Is Washington trying to put pressure on Egypt economically, for example by stopping the aid?
A: Washington has two options at the moment, either to look after its interests and establish steady and well-balanced relations with Egypt, or continue betting on the Brotherhood.
Q: But what if the situation didn’t change? Could Russian weaponry completely replace American arms?
A: It is in Egypt’s best interest to maintain relations with both countries. It is also normal, even commendable, to diversify one’s sources of strategic weapons. It makes no sense to leave our destiny at the mercy of one country.
Translated from Al Yom 7