The Russia Factor in the Egyptian-American Relationshiptags: Russia, United States, Egypt
Mark N. Katz is a professor of government and politics at George Mason University, and the author of Leaving without Losing: The War on Terror after Iraq and Afghanistan (Johns Hopkins University Press).
Many observers see the recent visit of Russian’s foreign and defense ministers to Cairo and news stories about the possibility of a large-scale Russian-Egyptian arms deal as a sign that the new Egyptian government is moving away from Washington and toward Moscow. Yet even though this high-level Russian-Egyptian interchange has taken place at a time when relations between the Obama Administration and Egypt’s new top leader, Defense Minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, have deteriorated, it is neither a significant change in the relatively good relations between Russia and Egypt that have been steadily improving since Putin first rose to power nor a sign of an impending dramatic change in Egypt’s alliances.
Indeed, when Russian President Vladimir Putin went to Cairo to meet with then President Hosni Mubarak in April 2005, they also discussed the possibility of Egypt resuming arms purchases from Moscow (which had been Cairo’s main arms supplier before Egypt switched from allying with the Soviet Union to allying with the United States under the late President Anwar Sadat in the early 1970’s). However, nothing much resulted from this Putin-Mubarak discussion as Egypt continued to rely primarily on the United States for arms....
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