Egypt: to get square with islamists
Rapid and decisive action of Russia in Syria rocked the entire Middle East. Countries of the region are tired of the American game with the Islamists, one after another declare its support for Russian air strikes and timidly offer their help. Now concerted action with Russia discusses Egypt.
The country dropped out of the arena of the Middle East with the Arab Spring and narrowly escaped the fate of Libya, Syria and Iraq. Pogroms of Muslim brothers, suicide bombings and barbaric penalty of Egyptian Coptic Christians - Egypt has a score to settle with the Islamists. Now the country of the Pharaohs again is gaining strength and is ready to help Russia to put an end to the orgy under the black banner of the Caliphate. A special role in the rapprochement with Russia plays Egyptian President Marshal Abdel Fattah al Sissi.
Egypt has long been fighting with militants of ISIS. Aviation and Special Forces strikes against terrorist bases in Lebanon and the Sinai Peninsula. In fact, Egypt - the only country that does not allow the Islamists to join forces and create a united front from the Maghreb to Iraq.
Egypt - the largest Sunni Middle Eastern country, so it’s even indirect participation in the coalition with Russian, Iran and Syria knocks the trump card Islamists ideologues - now it is not a religious conflict Sunnis and Shiites, but civilizational struggle of adequate secular regimes against gloomy Islamic fundamentalism.
Egypt and Syria have agreed to restore diplomatic ties just two years ago. Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi severed all ties with the Assad. Morsi severed ties with the Syrian regime in 2013, closing the country's embassy in Cairo and withdrawing the Egyptian envoy in Damascus.
Now two countries will also work on cooperating together on confronting Islamist extremism, specifically the threat posed by the Islamic State group. "The Egyptian people support the struggle of the Syrian people, materially and morally, and Egypt, its nation, leadership ... and army, will not abandon the Syrian people until it achieves its rights and dignity," Morsi said in 2013.
After the decisive actions of Russia in Syria the rapprochement between the two countries is quietly taking place, and according to an Egyptian diplomatic source quoted by al-Arabi, security ties between the two countries were never severed. Military-political economic state of the axis Moscow - Damascus - Cairo will continue.
Professor Lawrence Rubin, a Middle East expert from The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, confirms this thesis : "since Sisi came to power, Egypt has prioritized fighting Islamic militants and crushing other forms of domestic dissent. This has meant that Egyptian foreign policy follows its domestic political needs." Obvious the alliance of states, guided not by abstract values of human rights but their national interests.
Israel's sixth ambassador to Egypt, Zvi Mazel also told that he "believes that its [Egypt’s] position is that there should be a vast coalition against terror in the region. But since the US is still reluctant to work with Sisi and is in the process of disengaging itself from the Middle East while empowering Iran, Egypt prefers a political settlement in Syria."
In an interview with Hezbollah's al-Manar TV , Syrian President Bashar Assad said that Syria does not want Egypt to "be a launch-pad against Syria or against others in the Arab countries. We want Egypt to play the role of the important country that helps the other Arab countries."
In the rare interview, Assad expressed his willingness for a coalition against the Islamic State group but said that there was little chance of it happening if it meant cooperating with countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, considered as enemies by Syria.
"A small possibility remains that these states decided to repent, or realized they were moving in the wrong direction, or maybe for reasons of pure self-interest, they got worried that this terrorism is heading towards their countries, and so they decided to combat terrorism," he continued.
Assad also expressed "strong confidence" that Russia will continue supporting his country.
Also Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with his Russian counterpart, Vladmir Putin to discuss improving cooperation and economic ties between the two countries.
The Kremlin, which has always protected its Syrian ally, has more at stake as it pushes for a broader grouping to fight the Islamic State group. Moscow has excluded Russian boots on the ground or help in air strikes, but provides military support to the Syrian army as one of Assad's few remaining allies to help fight terrorism.
Moscow has recently hosted various meetings of Syria's disparate opposition groups, who disagree on the fate of Assad. Russia on Friday called for coordination between a US-led coalition and Moscow and Damascus to avoid "unintended incidents" in Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said coordination was important as a military air campaign was not enough to quash Islamic State militants.
"Coordination is also important to prevent various unintended incidents," Lavrov told.
Washington has accused Moscow of solidifying its foothold in Syria, raising concerns it could hamper plans by the US-led coalition to step up operations against jihadists in the war-torn country.
In any case, strengthening the position of Egypt in the region will lead in the short and long term to stabilization of the situation. For strengthening the positions of the Sissi’s government there are all objective preconditions.