GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Title of Paper:
The Effect of the Egyptian – Gulf Relations Development on the Regional Security Equation
Paper Proposal Text :
The Effect of the Egyptian – Gulf Relations Development on the Regional Security Equation
Dr. Ashraf Mohamed Kisk

The development of the Gulf – Egyptian relations did not arise from the recent changes, but it was based on principal stands taken by the two sides that were recorded historically. These stands included the decisive Egyptian rejection to the threats of Abdulkarim Qasim against the Kuwaiti sovereignty, the role played by the Gulf and Kuwait during the two wars of 1967 and 1973, and the experience of the Egyptian experience during the Iraqi – Iranian war in the 1980s. Furthermore, Egypt had a principal stand that rejected the Iraqi invasion for Kuwait in 1990 and its insistence on the return of legitimacy, which was represented in Egyptian forces contribution to the international alliance forces that went to free Kuwait in 1991. At the same time, the Egyptian governing elites have always confirmed that Gulf security is a red line that cannot be crosses and that it is part of the Egyptian national security.
Taking into consideration that the Egyptian – Gulf relations are multi-sided, these relations have witnessed what can be called as a “strategic development” after June 30, 2013, as the decision makers from both sides were aware of the importance of fostering these relations into new horizons, not on a temporary basis or because of a specific issue or crisis, but as an unavoidable choice that was imposed by the internal events in Egypt on one hand, and the transformations of the regional scene and the policies of some international powers towards the Gulf area on the other hand. This reflected an important fact for both sides which is that their rapprochement became a strategic necessity that should be “institutionalized” so it is not just connected to the development of the events. The Gulf support for Egypt was clear in the aftermath of these changes. It pumped big financial aids to Egypt that were estimated by 10.6 billion dollars in 2014. The two sides also conducted common military maneuvers in the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. Furthermore, the Gulf provided political support that was represented in the support of some Gulf officials for Egypt in their speech in front of the General Assembly in September 2014.
Although these relations are important for both sides, they provoke five questions: First: What are the factors behind developing these relations, especially after June 30, 2014? Second: What are the most important aspects of the development of the relations between the two sides? Third: What is the effect of the return of these relations on the regional security equation under the challenges included in the regional environment, especially the positive change witnessed in the Iranian – Western relations? Fourth: What is influence of the United States on the track of these relations as it has strategic relations with both sides? Fifth: How can the Egyptian – Gulf relations be institutionalized?
According to what was mentioned, this paper is divided into five basic sections:
First: The Factors Behind Developing Relations between the Two Sides:
There are some old factors like re-stating that the Gulf security is inseparable part of the Egyptian national security, considering the internal developments in Egypt. This made the vision clear for the decision makers in the GCC countries as they were receiving confusing messages during the period of Muslim Brotherhood, as well as witnessing some provocative policies like approaching Iran as a way to put pressure on the Gulf. Furthermore, the Gulf believed that there was a new equation being developed as the pace of the Iranian – Western relations was accelerating, and that settling that file was connected to other regional files that might be considered by the Gulf as impairment for its strategic interests. Consequently, “restoring the regional balance” needed the support of the essential powers. Also, the new American policy that included the gradual withdrawal from its traditional regions of influence because of economic factors or a new approach towards Asia stirred the concern of the traditional US allies in the region, and hence regional allies needed to be found.
Second: The Aspects of the Relations Development between the Two Sides:
This can be seen in many areas on the political, economic, and military levels. The focus in this context will be on the military and defense level.
Third: The Effect of Restoring these Relations on the Regional Security Equation:
Three new variables in the regional security can be identified. First: The role of the mother Arab organization, the “Arab League”, has degraded and other regional gatherings like the “Gulf Cooperation Countries” have appeared on the other side. Second: The different scenarios for the Iranian nuclear file are still on the table including the possibility of normalizing the Western – Iranian relations after finding a formula to settle that file. Third: The growth of the role of the non-state actors and their challenge to the authority of the unified national state.
Under such new changes, the existence of an Egyptian – Gulf axis will influence the interactions of this equation and its different parties. In other words, if the regional security is the sum of the units that form it, the stronger these units are, the stronger this security will be. Hence, the obvious Gulf support for Egypt politically and economically reflects a Gulf approach that indicates the importance of supporting the pivotal Arab countries as a “foundation” for the regional security equation.
Fourth: The Influence of the US Role on the these relations:
As the US have relations with both sides, and although the levels of these relations might vary, the US still keep these relations. The important question here is, under such Egyptian – Gulf rapprochement, what are the possibilities for re-formulating an Egyptian – Gulf vision for the Gulf security, and to what extent does this intersect with the US vision in this regard, and what are the restrictions for Egypt and Gulf countries?
Fifth: How the Egyptian – Gulf Relations can be Institutionalized? And Who is Responsible for the Institutionalization of these Relations?
The current Gulf Egyptian rapprochement status can be invested to put the concept of “institutionalizing” the relations between the two sides into action, so these relations are not tied to the development of events. Considering a down-to-earth vision, it is difficult to talk about Egypt joining the Gulf Cooperation Council, because the convention of the Council was exclusive. However, there are other formulas that can be considered concerning the relationship between the regional organizations and states that are not members in these organizations. At the core of these suggestions is the defense area that includes organizing common military maneuvers on a regular basis to achieve the concept of deterrence and then regional balance of power, and these maneuvers started already in 2014. On the political level, establishing an annual strategic Gulf – Egyptian forum to discuss the changes in regional security should be considered. On the economic level, the obstacles that hinder the flow of Gulf investments to Egypt should be removed, especially after oil prices slumped in the international market. So Gulf countries should consider the option of varying its income sources by enhancing trade exchange, to which Egypt can contribute as it represents a promising market for the Gulf countries. In other words, economic integration between the two sides should be considered.
At the same time, unofficial efforts done by strategic thinking, universities, and friendship societies play an important role in enriching the society awareness of the importance of developing these relations at the current time and their futuristic horizons.