Egypt-US Relations: Dynamics and Prospects

EPC | 01 May 2015

US President Barack Obama informed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Mar. 2015 of his administration’s decision to lift ban on providing Egypt with US military assistance and resume arrangements for the sale of F-16 fighter jets. The US decision is a turning point in the tense relationship between Obama’s administration and el-Sisi’s regime since ousting President Mohammad Morsi from office. This tension has coincided with an Egyptian-Russian rapprochement since July 3, 2013. Observers say that this rapprochement comes at the expense of what has always been described as strategic ties between Cairo and Washington despite efforts by senior Egyptian officials to refute this claim.

Therefore, there is a need to identify the reality of these relations now by putting recent developments within the context of the mainstream pattern of running relations between the two countries. The paper says that this pattern is shifting and lacks an institutionalized character which distinguishes firm alliances. Relations between Cairo and Washington are adapted according to the changing realities through the role played by the ruling elites in both countries to adjust ties based on the strategic considerations of both countries’ interests.

Then, the paper reviews the most important current issues related to Egyptian-US ties such as democracy and human rights, intertwined ties between Israel’s security and counterterrorism, the ongoing regional conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen and the nuclear issue.

Finally, the paper introduces three possible scenarios for Egyptian-US ties in the future based on a number of criteria such as Washington’s stance on recent developments in Egypt, military cooperation, the Israeli security dilemma and war on terrorism.

Image Source: Reuters Pictures

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