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Sisi in Riyadh…The Consolidation of an Arab Regional Order

Sisi in Riyadh…The Consolidation of an Arab Regional Order

Saturday, 12 March, 2022 - 12:00

The Arab scene continues to affirm, with its successive setbacks that reflect its nature par excellence, that the Arab world’s problems are deeply rooted and becoming increasingly complex and difficult as time goes on.

That is evident from how crises/ alliances are dealt with, whether within the Arab region or at the regional and international levels. Arabs’ relations with another or other neighboring countries have, since the middle of the twentieth century, gone through several phases, with several factors playing a significant role- whether it is the formation or disintegration of alliances or among themselves or even with the great powers of the time.

Nonetheless, there have been several inspiring episodes, courageous and positive stances were made. They inspire optimism about what is to come despite all the tragedies and frustrations. Perhaps the years 1973, 1990 and others saw remarkable alliances between Saudi Arabia and Egypt being formed for the first time in the history of Arab solidarity.

Any serious discussion about an Arab bloc genuinely capable of confronting today’s challenges simply amounts to securing the Arab circle. Thus, it is correct to say, as some have been asserting, that compromising the security of Egypt or Saudi Arabia compromises Arab national security. “Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the backbone of an Arab regional system in crisis that only a strategic alliance between the two countries can address.”

That can be achieved once they shape their “bilateral relationship according to national security requirements and needs.” It is no secret that Riyadh and Cairo coming to an agreement is tantamount to an Arab alliance being formed. The constant visits between the leaders of the two countries have exposed those who tried to undermine it.

The Saudi-Egyptian rapprochement means, in my estimation, rearranging regional priorities and confronting the projects of regional influence. Thus, traditional and old Arab alliances are no longer tenable, especially with the rise of Iran and Turkey. Indeed, the situation is deteriorating at all levels. The Saudi-Egyptian alliance has become a requisite for safeguarding Arab national security. This alliance is a requisite for confronting the Iranian, Ottoman/Turkish, and American/Israeli axes, as well as creating a balance of power in the region.

It has become evident that we are missing an effective Arab policy that can fill the void, which has become necessary, though we acknowledge that this Arab policy is not being shaped as we would like it to be. That is a crucial aspect of the crisis, and once we begin developing and implementing a solid Arab policy, it means the solution stage has begun.

The agreement between Riyadh Cairo has come at the right time, and it is tantamount to the development of an Arab alliance that can confront any other in a new political environment.

President Sisi’s visit to Riyadh was made to enhance the two sides’ exchange of “views on issues and matters of concern to the two countries on the regional and international leveled,” as demonstrated by their affirmations that they are working on coordinating their positions in a manner that serves their interests and enhances security and stability in the region and the world.

They also emphasized the importance of joint Arab action and the importance of the role of the Arab League in framing and strengthening the mechanisms of joint Arab action and resolving the crises in the region in line with relevant UN Resolutions and the principles of international law. Perhaps the crux of their position is continued support for peace in the Middle East, stressing the need to reach a comprehensive and final settlement for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in accordance with the two-state solution, relevant UN resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative in a manner that guarantees the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. That puts the brakes on the plots of opportunists seeking to exploit circumstances or situations and conjure up lies to unjustly attack and insult Saudi Arabia. And so, it is not surprising that they emphasized the importance of concerted international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.

Riyadh and Cairo affirmed the “indivisibility of Arab security and the importance of joint Arab action and full Arab solidarity for preserving Arab national security through its countries’ capabilities and capacities, which are sufficient for allowing them to assume this responsibility, which falls on all Arab countries.”

They also stressed their “rejection of any attempts by regional parties to interfere with Arab countries’ internal affairs or threaten their stability and undermine the interests of their people- whether through the incitement of ethnic and sectarian tensions, terrorism and terrorist groups, or expansionist perceptions that do not respect the sovereignty of states and the principles of respect and good neighborliness.”

And they agreed to “continue to fight terrorist organizations in the region in all their forms” ... and praised “the level of cooperation and security coordination between the two countries and their intentions to enhance this coordination to further security and stability in the two brotherly countries.”

The two sides focused on the threats posed by Iran’s hostile behavior towards the countries of the region and the dangers that the regime possessing weapons of mass destruction would pose to the region and the world, stressing that any international agreement in this regard must include the countries of the region.

They voiced their “rejection of terrorist militias continuing to threaten maritime navigation,” stressing that “these militias’ military capabilities cannot be overlooked. They are a direct threat to the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the countries of the region.” This powerful message was clear and to the point, leaving our Arab world reassured because an Arab alliance is standing up for it and that Cairo and Riyadh are standing behind this alliance.

Our beloved Egypt, as usual, reiterated its full solidarity with Saudi Arabia, its support for all the measures the Kingdom has taken to protect its national security, and its rejection of any attacks on Saudi territory, stressing that the security of the Kingdom and the Arab Gulf region is an integral part of Egyptian national security.

Riyadh and Cairo are laying the groundwork for the reformulation of priorities in a way that safeguards Arab national security and confronts terrorism. Their agreement on an array of objectives and the types of threats facing them means the emergence of an Arab front capable of facing risks and dealing with challenges. This strengthens efforts to develop a framework joint Arab action system and supports it for the good of its people.

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