Egyptian-Russian Rapprochement and its Potential Regional Implications

EPC | 01 Mar 2015

Egyptian-Russian relations are improving steadily after June 30 in a way that makes them one of the main controversial issues regarding the present and future of Cairo’s foreign policy, especially, after President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cairo in Feb. 2015, which received wide political and media attention.

The improving ties between the two countries after more than a year and a half of deposing President Mohammad Morsi from office indicate that these relations have an impetus. This impetus makes talking about a qualitative shift on these ties towards more cooperation something that deserves study and analysis to define limits of this shift, foresee its potential ends and implications on the regional situation in the Middle East.

The paper deals with the steady Egyptian-Russian rapprochement since July 3, 2013 and its potential implications on the future of the regional situation. The paper is divided into two main themes: the first one deals with the significance of this rapprochement by focusing on domestic issues in both countries, as well as, regional and international issues. The first theme reviews four fundamental points: first, regional and international balances behind this rapprochement and how it can affect these balances. Second, counter-terrorism policies and the different regional and international stands on some of the details of these policies and positions towards some parties targeted in this war. Third, the economic crises faced by the Egyptian and Russian regimes and the potential consequences of some measures taken regarding cooperation between the two sides on this issue, notably, the use of the national currency, the Egyptian Pound and the Russian Ruble, in trade exchange instead of the US Dollar. Fourth, the question of legitimacy of both regimes and how this drives both regimes to adopt certain policies to boost their popular legitimacy.

The second theme of this paper deals with possible scenarios for the development of Egyptian-Russian ties in the future in light of the contexts and issue reviewd in the first theme.

The paper defines three criteria on which the future of Cairo’s policy towards rapprochement with Russia depends. First, the relationship among elements of power in Egypt. Second, the relationship between el-Sisi’s regime and Washington. Third, the relationship between el-Sisi’s regime and Arab Gulf States. On these bases, the paper drafts three possible scenarios for the development of Egyptian-Russian ties.  

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