News / Middle East

Common Threats Keep Egypt, US Relations Going

Common Threats Keep Egypt, US Relations Goingi
X
October 11, 2013 7:14 PM
Relations between Egypt and the United States have hit a new low after Washington announced a cut in military aid to its once key Arab ally. But, as VOA's Elizabeth Arrott in Cairo reports, common threats may keep the alliance on track.
TEXT SIZE - +
Elizabeth Arrott
— Relations between Egypt and the United States have hit a new low after Washington announced a cut in military aid to its once key Arab ally.  But, common threats may keep the alliance on track.

Egyptian officials have criticized the suspension of some U.S. military aid as the military-led government cracks down on its opponents.  But others see Washington's decision as one that only strengthens a resurgent neo-nationalism.

"Many Egyptians are welcoming the cutting of aid because they felt that it was not significant enough to make Egypt a dependent country and a follower of the U.S.," said political analyst Saad Eddin Ibrahim. 
 
But there are repercussions and they come at a critical time.

The Egyptian military is trying to flex its muscles after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, waging what it calls a war on terror. Veteran diplomat Abudllah al Ashaal says that, for the military, it's a broad concept.

"We are keen not to be necessarily aligned with the United States but to see or pursue our national interests. What is our national interest?  To fight terrorism everywhere.  What is terrorism? Terrorism means anyone who is against them,” said professor and veteran diplomat Abdullah al-Ashaal. 
 
While al-Ashaal said the military's major focus was the political force of the Muslim Brotherhood, jihadism was a growing threat, moving from the Sinai peninsula into Egypt's heartland.

And for that it relies on the U.S. weapons systems it has been using for decades. 

"When there's a change in the arms supplier it usually takes from three to four years to train the military on the new weapons systems,” said political analyst Saad Eddin Ibrahim of IBN Khaldun Center.

And for all the concern about political developments in Egypt, the U.S. has strategic interests at stake; Washington said it would keep helping Egypt in key counter-terrorism efforts.

Sinai not only is attracting more militants, it borders Israel and was a cornerstone of the aid deal with Egypt to make peace with U.S. ally Israel in 1979.

"The more the army is involved in Sinai, the more the army is also involved in its relations with Israel and at the same time, I expect that after [Syrian peace talks at] Geneva Two, all the terrorists in the world are coming to Sinai,” said former ambassador al-Ashaal.
 
That common military challenge, Ashaal believed, would likely be enough to hold the key players - Egypt, the U.S. and Israel - together. 

As for the political fallout?  There is little worry of escalating anti-Americanism, Ashall said, as people were already “anti-American to the teeth.”

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid