Security and Egyptian-American military cooperation

7/8/2015, Al Bawaba

Speaking during an Egyptian-American Dialogue session Sunday morning, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that military cooperation between Egypt and the US is a mainstay of cooperation and essential for the security for both countries. The Egyptian foreign minister explained that Egypt is examining US regional power, which is also what the US is doing towards Egypt. He stated that reinforcing economic relations would be possible through a new approach based on mutual interests, not on the imposition of conditions.

Minister Shoukry added that the American-Egyptian Dialogue will address the Palestinian issue, terrorism, ISIS, and Iran’s nuclear deal.

The US magazine Newsweek revealed that the UK government is selling weapons “secretly” to Egypt. During the first three months of 2015, UK arms sales to Egypt exceeded 48.8 million pounds sterling, or 590 million Egyptian pounds. It is known that British Prime Minister David Cameron is in favor of strengthening ties with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Over the past few months Egyptian-US relations, including Cairo’s rapport with the White House, have been fraught with problems. This is because the US president and his top aides keep US support to the Muslim Brotherhood at the top of their agenda. Financial aid from Qatar and military aid from Turkey are further complicating the matter.

The only US official who voiced support of Egypt was former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who sided with Egypt and President El Sisi. Hagel is an experienced statesman who knows the Egyptian president personally from when he was working for Egyptian Military Intelligence and studying in USA. Hagel once read a paper written by El Sisi when he was a student at the Institute of American Studies and liked it. From that time on, their relationship remained solid. Hagel had a different point of view from that of President Obama concerning the handling of the US-Egyptian relationship. He thought the various aspects of the relationship needed reevaluation.

During President Carter’s time and throughout the Camp David talks, the US maintained close ties with President Sadat. This was a phase full of admiration and clarity. There was a time when President Sadat was about to discontinue the talks in protest against Menachem Begin’s instance on keeping the Israeli settlements in Sinai. The Egyptian president made it very clear from the start that he would not surrender a single inch of Egyptian land. Carter spent an entire night trying to convince Moshe Dayan and Ezer Weizman to get Begin to agree to Sadat’s point of view. Eventually, Begin acquiesced, which ultimately lead to the success of the Camp David negotiations.

Carter and Sadat’s historic period was a bright point in the history of the two nations and the two presidents. We must not forget the Suez war of 1956, when President Eisenhower intervened firmly to bring about the withdrawal of the French, British, and Israeli troops from Egypt. This reminds us that the history of Egyptian-US relations is an excellent one, except for the period in which the Americans sided with the Muslim Brotherhood, thus impeding bilateral ties.

Translated from Al Bawaba 

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