In a July 20, 2018 article for The National Interest, “Losing Egypt to Russia Isn’t the Real Problem—but Collapse Is,” POMED’s Deputy Director for Policy Andrew Miller and Carnegie’s Middle East Program Director Michele Dunne examine the claim that the United States is on the verge of losing Egypt to Russia.
While most attention regarding U.S.-Russian competition in the Middle East is concentrated on Syria and Iran, Russian president Vladimir Putin has quietly been trying to make inroads into Egypt. For instance, a recent article by Anna Borshchevskaya presents an alarming picture in which the United States is on the verge of losing Egypt to Russia.
We have heard this argument before, usually articulated by those who oppose attaching any conditions to U.S. military assistance to Egypt. Watch out, the argument goes, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi no longer believes he can count on the United States due to bilateral tensions in recent years. The theory then warns that Cairo is turning to Russia, potentially depriving America of a critical regional ally.
The germ of truth in this argument is that Sisi seems to be trying to revive the tried-and-true Cold War game of playing the United States and Russia off each other. And he seems to admire Putin a good deal, as they are fellow intelligence officers and autocrats. But we have our doubts as to whether the Egyptian military establishment really is prepared to switch from Western to Russian patronage, and we also question whether Egypt is as critical a military ally to the United States as it once was.
Read the full article here.