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Opinion| Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the face of Iranian escalation - Daily News Egypt

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Opinion| Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the face of Iranian escalation

Despite the importance of this tour to enhance cooperation between the countries of the Arab region, it is primarily considered the culmination of the efforts of Saudi Arabia to activate the axis of moderation and confront challenges in the Middle East, especially Iranian escalation, which entails increasing divisions in the region between the Sunni and Shi’a sects and supporting terrorist groups to achieve tenuous political gains.


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has started a regional tour that includes Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey ahead of the upcoming Gulf Cooperation Council Summit that will bring together leaders of the Gulf, the Middle East at large, and US President Joe Biden in Jeddah.

Despite the importance of this tour to enhance cooperation between the countries of the Arab region, it is primarily considered the culmination of the efforts of Saudi Arabia to activate the axis of moderation and confront challenges in the Middle East, especially Iranian escalation, which entails increasing divisions in the region between the Sunni and Shi’a sects and supporting terrorist groups to achieve tenuous political gains.

To fully grasp the current moment, we must go back to 2016, when King Salman visited Egypt and Turkey at a time full of political challenges in which Egypt was able, with the help of Saudi Arabia, to undermine a scheme aiming to destroy the Arab region.

On 7 April 2016, King Salman and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi held a historic Egyptian-Saudi summit to restore the Arab House and save it from diaspora, given that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are considered the wings of Arab national security.

This Saudi-Egyptian alliance was built on two pillars, the first of which is that there is a danger threatening the region represented in the dismantling of national entities within the Arab world, especially in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, where dismantling projects began at the time of former US president George Bush Jr.

The second pillar is that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Egypt is a wall against Iran’s expansionist tendencies, as the two countries face the same challenges; besides the international dismantling projects, there are regional projects that are hidden behind religious, national, and ideological slogans — namely the ‘Wilayat al-Faqih Project’ and the ‘Islamic Caliphate Project’ — which aim to encircle both of Saudi Arabia and Egypt like the famous ‘Ankunda Plan’ with regional and international sponsorship.

It is worth noting here that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt almost turned into an alliance with Wilayat Al-Faqih to besiege Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and this potential alliance was crowned by a visit by the President of Iran to Egypt in 2013 at the time of former president Mohamed Morsi.

But this alliance has failed as a result of the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt after the outbreak of the July 30 Revolution, which the Egyptian people carried out in solidarity with the Egyptian army with the support of Saudi Arabia.

This Saudi-Egyptian summit in 2016 thwarted the hopes of many countries, forces, and organisations that there are divergences and differences in viewpoints and a chill in relations that could lead to a crisis between the two countries.

This is especially so since Iran is aware of the size and weight of the Egyptian participation in the Islamic coalition led by Saudi Arabia, as Iran considers Egypt the main obstacle preventing it from achieving its dream of stabilising the ‘Imamate State.’

King Salman’s tour at the time did not stop at Egypt but continued to Turkey, which has had tenuous relations with all its neighbouring Arab countries due to its support of political Islam, and thereby the Muslim Brotherhood, threatening the security of the region. The main objective of King Salman’s visit to Ankara was to urge Turkey to change its foreign policy to one that is more in line with the region’s goals.

Thus, King Salman took advantage of Ankara’s regional and local conditions to isolate Iran regionally and internationally and tighten the screws on its projects in several Arab countries.

This is especially so since Tehran is using Ankara as a corridor to Arab countries or as an outlet to escape its isolation by signing several economic agreements with it.

Therefore, Ankara had to choose between the two sides. Indeed, Ankara has accepted to actively integrate into Arab alliances and stop its schemes to harm the security of Arab countries, with its most notable measure in that regard being the withdrawal of it support for the Brotherhood to curb this absurdity that threatens the security of Arab countries. This is how King Salman’s visits in 2016 shaped the future of the Arab region. 

Today, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s tour is a culmination of the work his father started then, and it comes at a very sensitive time when fears are increasing about the escalation of Iran’s influence in the region, especially after the empowerment of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

These visits clearly announce the beginning of a new phase in the Arab Nation to confront the global threats that are tampering with the regional arena and manipulating its destiny.

These newly announced alliances prevent making the Middle East and the Arab region an arena for settling international conflicts as a result of the differences between regional states, because each regional state has its interests in isolation from other regional states, which leads to regional conflict and opens the door for major powers to use the Middle East to achieve their interests.

More importantly, these visits, along with Biden’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, have proven beyond any doubt that Saudi Arabia is an effective force with influence in the Arab world and is not just a fragile state that Biden can turn into a “pariah state”, as he previously stated in one of his speeches.

These “heroic” speeches, which always provoke ridicule, reflect his limited understanding of the nature of the Arab region and the position of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Arab world.

Dr Marwa Al-Shinawy is an Assistant Professor at the International American University for Specialised Studies (IAUS)

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https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2022/06/29/opinion-egypt-and-saudi-arabia-in-the-face-of-iranian-escalation/
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