Al-Sisi's visit to Russia: A desperate quest to legitimize his illegitimacy

Sisi's visit has multitude of meanings as he is looking for international recognition before assuming the presidential position in the country...

Al-Sisi's visit to Russia: A desperate quest to legitimize his illegitimacy

Mohammad Pervez Bilgrami

Egypt's de facto ruler, field marshal Abdel Fattah El-Sisi along with his foreign minister Nabil Fahmy  paid a two-day long visit to Russia from 11 to 12 February; this reciprocate trip came into effect after last November’s visit of Russian foreign and defense minister to Egypt.

Sisi's visit has multitude of meanings as he is looking for international recognition before assuming the presidential position in the country; if he wishes to become the head of the country, he will get that position without any competition at this point of time.

The talks may yield some military hardware purchase from Russia for Egypt; there was news in the media that Saudi Arabia and UAE would finance the Egyptian arms purchase from Russia. Saudi Arab and Emirate along with other Arab gulf monarchies have promised $12 billion in aid to Egypt in support of the military-orchestrated coup that ousted the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt had close ties with the Soviet Union before the then president, Anwar Sadat, made peace with Israel in 1979, bringing inroughly $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid over the subsequent decades. The reports in the media suggest that some of the military aid was suspended after July 3 coup.

The other significant point is that Al-Sisi wants to become modern-day Nasser of Egypt and looks like following the foot-steps of Nasser, to align with Russia, the successor of the Soviet Union. The world as well as Egypt has undergone a drastic change between sixties and seventies, and even the assertive Russia has not remained equivalent to its predecessor, the Soviet Union

Though Al Sisi’s visit seems to have earned some military hardware for Egypt, yet it’s uncertain as to how his visit will yield any diplomatic victory for him in the near future.

Obviously, Sisi’s Moscow visit was a tactical move in the same way as Iraq's Maliki had done some time back by playing the Russian Card to the US, and later backtracked after signing a high-profile arms deal with Moscow. Sisi knows well that the legitimacy to his illegitimate rule in Cairo comes from Washington- not from Moscow.

Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency quoted the retired Egyptian Gen. Hossam Soualem as saying that Russia has pledged to supply Cairo with 24 MiG-29 fighter jets, air defence systems, the KORNET anti-tank missile complex and Ka-25, Mi-28 and Mi-25 combat helicopters.

Sisi should, however, know that the Russian weapons and the UN veto do not subscribe to the US-EU legitimacy;  Egypt’s coup regime of Al-Sisi will continue to get its legitimacy from EU & US. Putin’s support to Sisi’s presidential bid may not get open endorsement from Washington. It seems that Egypt is one of the issues where US and Russia are principally agreed to keep the Muslim Brotherhood out of power by supporting atrocious military regime in Cairo.

In his remarks broadcast on Russian television, Putin spoke with Sisi about his presidential ambitions, saying "I know that you have made a decision to run for president; that's a very responsible decision: to undertake such a mission for the fate of the Egyptian people. On my own part, and on behalf of the Russian people, I wish you success..”

U.S State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, responded to a question on the position of the U.S. president towards Russian President's public announcement, backing the strongman in Egypt "Of course, we don't endorse a candidate and don't think it's, quite frankly, up to the United States or to Mr Putin to decide who should govern Egypt; it's up to the Egyptian people to decide".

It is worth mentioning here that Muslim Brotherhood has been a designated terrorist organization in Putin’s Russia for long.

Be that it may, Al-Sisi’s projection of Egypt’s top post got international endorsement from Putin’s Russia but Egyptians have not accepted the coup he has orchestrated on July, 3 last year. And people are still opposing the coup even after brutal repression and daily killings and torture by his security forces. 

According to Konstantin Sivkov, First Vice President at the Academy for Geopolitical Issue “The goal behind the Russian-Egyptian cooperation and arming Egypt is Russia's need for another base and focus point in the Mediterranean Sea, other than Syria, as it is unstable and its fate is unknown,”

Speaking during the Russia Today programme which was aired on Russian TV on November 13, 2013, Sivkov said Russia's needs for this base are many, the least of which is the water, fuel and food supply, as well as a place for sailors to rest.

Suffice it to say here that Al-Sisi’s illegitimate power grab backed by US-EU & funded by gulf monarchies would not get legitimacy after Putin’s endorsement.

Egypt under military rule serves both US and Russian interests; Camp David treaty between Israel and Egypt will remain intact; military rule, demonising of Hamas and suffocation of Gazans by military regime is continued.

In a significant development, Al-Sisi on January 18, just after few days of Russian visit met with the US congressional delegation in Cairo, led by Republican congressman Mike Rogers , head of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the US House of Representatives.

Russia will also be able to get the foothold in Arab world’s most populous country with the arms agreement. So Egypt-Russian relations bonhomie does not harm the US interests in the region. And if it so happens, US will not have any objection against the growing bilateral military ties between them.

Thus, the factors behind the whole scenario as arising in the greater Middle East region, with Egypt and Syria being the fault-lines open for intervention by the Western allied powers, are not far to seek.  Imperialism with its dark shadows lurking on Afro-Asian nations in general and Muslim nations in particular still continues unabated; the manner in which it works may be different while the injuries it inflicts on humanity still remains as grievous as ever.

Last Mod: 20 Şubat 2014, 09:26
Add Comment