/ For the Register
Published: Nov. 22, 2013 Updated: Dec. 2, 2013 9:28 a.m.
JEFF KOTERBA / KING FEATURES
Source: Bloomberg News
As the United States reduces its footprint in the Middle East, Russia is taking advantage of the power vacuum America's retreat is creating. Egypt, whose defection to the West in 1972 was essential to creating the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, may be transferring its loyalties to the Kremlin.
On July 3, Egyptian military leaders removed Muslim Brotherhood cadres from government positions. This included the removal of President Mohamed Morsi. Confusing liberal democracy with Alexis de Tocqueville's “tyranny of the majority,” the
decided to punish the generals and canceled a joint military exercise with the
Egyptian army. Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an Egyptian
newspaper, immediately offered to discuss Russian joint military exercises. United States
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in
on Nov. 14 – the first Russian defense minister to visit the country since
1971. Shoigu offered to sell MIG-29 fighter jets, attack helicopters, anti-tank
missiles and low-range air-defense missiles. The package is worth $2 billion;
supposedly, Cairo Egypt is looking
for loans from Saudi Arabia
to pay for the purchase. Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy proclaimed, “We
want to give a new impetus to our relations and return them to the same high
level that used to exist with the Russia Soviet Union.”
The new Russian defense relationship might never materialize.
may not be able to afford the weapons package, Russian weaponry would not
integrate smoothly with Egypt's
American supplied forces and
aid might always be resumed. U.S.
But the Russians are pulling out all the stops: the defense minister's arrival was preceded by a port call in
by the Russian warship Varyag. This could presage the offering of port
facilities to the Russian navy as a part of any rapprochement. Israel National
News is reporting that Putin himself is expected in Alexandria later this month to announce
a $15 billion arms deal. Egypt
While we no longer face the zero-sum game of the Cold War, it is bad policy to encourage an American ally of forty years into the arms of a country that opposes
U.S. policies in the world and is a major ally
Bashar al-Assad. There is an old saying in the Middle East: you cannot make war
without Syria Egypt and you cannot
make peace without .
Current American policy is allowing Syria to gain control over both
countries – and the ability to make war or peace. Russia
James J. Coyle is the director of Global Education at
and chair of
the Eurasian committee of the Pacific Council on International Policy. Chapman