I am worried about Egypt; really worried. The solution to its problems, though, is simple: talk to Turkey and Sudan and stay away from Israel, Saudi Arabi and the UAE.
Egypt was late in trying to handle the issue of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam upstream on the River Nile but the military option is too costly. Instead, Egypt must look for Israel’s role in Ethiopia. Threatening military action is evidence of political and diplomatic failure, but it is not too late for Egypt to avoid the traps that have been set for it.
Indeed, dealing with both the Ethiopian and Libyan files should stem from Egypt’s own interests related to its national security. This requires it to distance itself from the UAE and Saudi agendas.
The country is facing pressure on its national security from the challenge of the Ethiopian Dam, which threatens Egypt’s food and water security, as well as the challenge of Libya. The latter threatens every aspect of life in its neighbour.
Talking to Turkey about the Libyan issue has become an urgent necessity for Cairo. Once Khalifa Haftar’s plan failed to take control of the capital, his Russian allies were quick to talk to the Turks. Egypt must talk to the serious actors.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s speech to the Egyptian army on the Libyan border was rough. He told the troops to prepare for missions beyond Egypt.
Getting the Egyptian army involved in Libya will only serve Israel’s interests and will strengthen Addis Ababa’s position on the Renaissance Dam crisis. Relying on the tribes in the east is no longer a viable option.
Egypt should review its foreign policies thoroughly, starting with a redefinition of its position on Israel and the Palestinian issue. No less than the Mubarak era should be a guide on that relationship.
As well as Turkey, it should involve Algeria in the Libya file, looking at the issue from all its sides and not from a narrow angle connected to the counter-revolution agenda of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Egypt has spoken and dealt with Hamas, even though it is a political Islam movement, because Cairo is looking at the situation in the Sinai Peninsula as one of national security which must be considered from an Egyptian perspective. Turkey’s presence in Libya is uncomfortable for Cairo, but accepting it and opening a dialogue is a thousand times better than the useless military option.
I am worried about Egypt, because it is lost and resorting to the illusions of the 1960s. I want it to be strong and a leader of the Arab nation. There is a dangerous chain surrounding it, but the solution is simple: talk to Turkey and Sudan, and stay away from Israel and other allies who are using it for their own interests.
Translated from The New Khaleej, 21 June 2020.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.