Egypt’s Transition: International Perspectives – RantAWeek

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Egypt’s Transition: International Perspectives

Posted by mjdudak on September 8, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Halfway through the summer, it looked as if Egyptian democracy was turning towards failure. At that point in time, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) had recently removed former president Morsi from office, and instated interim president Adlay Mansour. Since then, the situation has only worsened. After several weeks on being in power, a combined effort of the police and military stormed a mosque and a university where supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s party, were camped. The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, remains adamant about getting Morsi reinstated and refuses to compromise.

The situation in Egypt is a mess, however, the international approach to the situation is rather interesting. Having a foothold in Egypt is essentially a current balance of power battle. On one side, the United States and some Western allies (though many Western countries remain indifferent) are still used to having a foothold in the country. During the Mubarak days, the United States had a very close relationship with the Mubarak regime. And while Mubarak is gone, the relationship has largely persisted because of one entity: the military. The US gives Egypt billions of dollars in aid, but much if this aid is meant for the military of Egypt. Additionally, this miltiary aid is given with the stipulation that any arms aquired must be bought from the United States. And when it comes to training the Egyptian military to use these arms, the best people to train are of course the United States military. The US and Egyptian militaries have very strong ties, which have led to very strong ties and persistent ties between the US and Egypt.

On the otherside in the battle for a foothold in Egypt, are regional players, such as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Since the coup in Egypt, all three of these countries, and others, have stepped up their aid in Egypt, trying to ensure that whatever happens after SCAF creates a real government, they have close ties with Egypt. Yet while these nations understand the importance of Egypt, the US often seems indifferent about Egypt and is losing sight of this importance.

In the end, the struggle to get a strong foothold in Egypt, and influence their future direction will continue. However, the United States should realize that Egypt could help promote important foreign policy goals. Not only is Egypt is a strategic location for military deployments, but improved relations could potentially establish Egypt as a permanent broker for the United States in the region. Additionally, if the United States plays it right, they could use their partnership with the military to help smooth over the transition for Egypt to true democracy. Recently, the United States has approached Egypt pretty apathetically, however policymakers need to realize the foothold that the US has, the advantages of strengthening it, and the potential detriment if it continues its apathetic approach.

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