The Takeaway: Enterprise As Traditional: US-Egypt alliance finds its heart

Sizzling Take: Fahmy: ‘Constructive engagement’ higher than utilizing ‘help as a weapon’

 

Half steps. The Biden administration is planning to ship $170 million in navy help to Egypt that Congress has conditioned on enhancements in Cairo’s human rights file. That’s solely barely greater than half the $300 million Congress had appropriated. The compromise, Elizabeth Hagedorn reviews, has not appeased activists and a few Democrats who wished Washington to take a harder strategy on conditioning help.

Fahmy: US help a win-win. “Constructive engagement is a greater strategy than making an attempt to make use of help as a weapon or the withholding of entry to services,” former Egyptian International Minister Nabil Fahmy tells Al-Monitor, “particularly as a result of the overwhelming majority in each international locations aspire for a centrist average political heart of gravity and peace within the Center East.”

And it’s a two-way road, not an act of charity, says Fahmy, who served as Egypt’s ambassador to the US from 1999-2008 and is the writer of “Egypt’s Diplomacy in Struggle, Peace and Transition.”

“Egypt has benefited from US help in reforming its financial insurance policies and strengthening its markets, in addition to within the sustained enhancement of its strategic navy capacities,” provides Fahmy, founding dean of the College of World Affairs and Public Coverage on the American College in Cairo. “The help has additionally served US pursuits as a catalyst for enlargement of market forces, in addition to making certain safety and navy cooperation together with invaluable entry to services and real-time flyovers” by US navy plane that use Egyptian airspace on missions within the area.

As well as, Fahmy factors out, “Egypt was the trailblazer for Arab Israeli peace efforts and introduced an indispensable Arab element to the US-led worldwide coalition drive that liberated Kuwait in 1991.”

Whom do you name? Little question human rights have been and can proceed to be a scratchy speaking level within the multifaceted US-Egyptian dialogue. However the story doesn’t finish there. The Biden administration had Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the “don’t name checklist” till hostilities erupted between Israel and Hamas in Might. Then, as soon as once more, an Egyptian president discovered himself on the White Home’s velocity dial. US President Joe Biden expressed “honest gratitude” for Sisi’s brokering the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. And Israel, for its half, confirmed its dedication to deepening already sturdy safety ties with Egypt when Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Sisi in Egypt this week — the primary such go to by an Israeli premier in over a decade (see under).

A broad agenda. In some methods, US-Egyptian ties are a return to a prior-era business-as-usual, with pressure on human rights and recognition of Egypt’s pivotal position in regional affairs. Congress is dug in on circumstances on help, and regardless of Sisi’s announcement of a nationwide human rights technique, the main target in Washington will likely be on deeds and never phrases. That stated, Egypt will proceed to be a go-to regional accomplice of the US. International Minister Sameh Shoukry advised Bloomberg TV the US has a significant position within the area, which Egypt helps. Along with Gaza, the Biden administration has praised the “strengthening of regional financial and safety ties between Egypt, Iraq and Jordan,” and Cairo as a key accomplice in supporting stability in Libya.

 

From our regional correspondents:

 

1. Bennett-Sisi summit spurs reward, silence in Israel

 

Talking of resurgent Egyptian affect, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday in what marked the primary official go to by an Israeli premier to Egypt in additional than a decade. Throughout their summit within the Pink Sea resort city of Sharm al-Sheikh, the pair reportedly mentioned tensions in Gaza, relations with the Palestinian Authority, Iran’s conduct and safety cooperation. Mazal Mualem writes that the response to the assembly in Israel underscored the divides within the nation’s fragile coalition authorities. Left-wing ministers had been among the many first to congratulate Bennett, however right-leaning members of his authorities, together with Justice Minister Gideon Saar, had been conspicuously silent.

Ben Caspit reviews that the Sept. 13 summit set the stage for “a last-ditch mediation try” between Israel and Hamas that might additional cement Egypt’s position as a powerbroker. The assembly got here a day after Bennett’s international minister, Yair Lapid, unveiled his imaginative and prescient for financial prosperity within the impoverished Gaza Strip. The plans for the Hamas-run enclave are noteworthy given Bennett’s hawkish positions on Gaza whereas within the Knesset. Now “within the scorching seat, Bennett is studying firsthand the infinite complexity of the standoff with Gaza,” Caspit writes.

 

2. Egypt to unveil COVID vaccine manufacturing unit

 

Egypt is gearing as much as open what it says would be the area’s largest coronavirus vaccine manufacturing manufacturing unit, an announcement that comes amid a laggardly tempo of inoculations within the North African nation. Since launching its COVID-19 vaccination marketing campaign in January, Egypt has administered about 10.4 million doses — sufficient to completely vaccinate simply over 5% of the inhabitants. As Rasha Mahmoud reviews, Egyptian well being officers hope that by ramping up native vaccine manufacturing, they will stop a fourth wave at dwelling whereas additionally exporting vaccines to neighboring African international locations. In cooperation with Chinese language biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac, the Egyptian manufacturing unit outdoors Cairo is anticipated to provide 80 million doses over the subsequent six months.

 

3. Saudi Arabia mulls Taliban ties

 

The final time the Taliban was in energy, Saudi Arabia was one among simply three international locations to acknowledge the Islamist authorities. This time round, the dominion is searching for to broaden its affect in Afghanistan to counter that of Iran’s. In an indication of renewed curiosity, the dominion despatched former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal to fulfill with Taliban officers days earlier than the group introduced its interim authorities. Sabena Siddiqui examines Riyadh’s position in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover and whether or not it will possibly compete for affect with regional rivals Iran and Qatar.

 

4. HTS promotes ‘ethical police’ in Idlib

 

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has achieved away with its repressive safety squad, Al-Falah, which was fashioned in Might 2020 to forestall women and men from mixing in public and impose fines for music and smoking within the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.  However as a substitute, the Syrian jihadi group has unveiled a brand new “ethical police,” which Mohammed Hardan writes is supposed to appease the extra excessive wing of HTS. As one researcher put it, ending the work of Al-Falah and creating the ethical police could possibly be little greater than a reputation change.

Plus, Hardan breaks down what to make of HTS chief Abu Mohammed al-Golani’s latest interview by which he promised to not abandon Syria’s international fighters.

 

5. Palestinian corruption attracts contemporary scrutiny

 

Human rights teams are condemning the PA’s ongoing trials of activists whom Ramallah prosecutors have charged with defamation, gathering illegally and inciting sectarian strife, Ahmed Melhem writes from the West Financial institution. The group was detained in August after protesting the demise in custody of PA critic Nizar Banat. Palestinian officers, in the meantime, have sought to calm the scenario.

The trials come as a coalition of Palestinian NGOs is condemning corruption within the West Financial institution, releasing a 10-point manifesto final week that requires a “extra sincere governance construction” and inclusive nationwide dialogue. “The requires reform seem to have had some success,” Daoud Kuttab writes. President Mahmoud Abbas, now in his twelfth yr in workplace, met on Thursday with civil society leaders who handed him a listing of calls for.

 

One Extra Factor: Assyrian Church of the East will get new patriarch

 

The Assyrian Church of the East inaugurated a brand new patriarch within the northern Iraqi metropolis of Erbil on Monday. Mar Awa Royel is the primary American-born bishop of the traditional church and solely the ninth patriarch since 1780. He’ll now be based mostly in Iraq, the place the Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac inhabitants has dwindled from about 1.5 million in 2003 to under 200,000 at present. Hearken to the brand new patriarch communicate with Joe Snell in regards to the position he serves inside the bigger Assyrian group, among the challenges going through Iraqi Christians and the talk over whether or not to maneuver the patriarchal seat outdoors of Iraq.

 

ICYMI: Al-Monitor declares new podcast with Gilles Kepel

 

Famend French scholar Gilles Kepel, one among Europe’s main Center East consultants, discusses his new ebook, “The Pandemic and the Prophet,” on this week’s “On the Center East” podcast (hyperlink right here). And there’s extra: Gilles additionally previews a brand new Al-Monitor podcast, “Studying the Center East with Gilles Kepel.” Each month Gilles will interview authors from throughout the area. His first visitor in two weeks will likely be Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany, whose ebook “The Republic of False Truths” is newly translated into English (see under).

 

What We’re Studying: The Republic of False Truths

 

Alaa Al Aswany’s “The Republic of False Truths” is a fictionalized account of Egypt’s Arab Spring rebellion, which overthrew longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Aswany, who participated within the Tahrir Sq. protests and civil disobedience, depicts the 18-day rebellion via the eyes of a pious navy basic, an out-of-work actor and a younger instructor.

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