Monday, January 2, 2012

Egypt’s new foreign policy will ‘waste resources trying to destroy Israel’ – Barry Rubin

By Koshan Ali Khidhir (Zamanee):

The Arab Spring is a controversial issue, and most controversial is the impact of this change on relations between Egypt and Israel. In this interview we discuss some crucial issues with Professor Barry Rubin, Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center. Professor Rubin is a featured columnist at PJM, Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and Editor Turkish Studies.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: What was the main cause of starting the Arab revolution, especially in Egypt?
Prof. Barry Rubin: Longer-term, the failure of the Arab nationalist regimes that have governed the Arab world since the 1950s and early 1960s. Their inability to keep their promises–pan-Arab union, rapid social and economic progress, genocide against Israel, driving out Western influences–have long been clear. Their corruption, lack of freedom, and economic shortcomings have long been clear.
Immediate causes include elite dissatisfaction with the succession of Mubarak’s son and especially hard times economically

Koshan Ali Khidhir: Do you expect changes in the state system in Egypt after the revolution?
Prof. Barry Rubin: Yes, toward Islamism.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: What were the determinations of Egypt’s Foreign Policy during Mubarak period?
Prof. Barry Rubin: A practical concern over Egyptian interests including supporting stability and not wasting resources on losing battles to destroy Israel or to ensure Egyptian leadership of the Arab world.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: What would be the aftermath or impact of the Arab Revolution on Egypt’s foreign policy?
Prof. Barry Rubin: Wasting resources on trying to destroy Israel and to ensure Egyptian leadership in the Muslim-majority world.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: What would be the impact of the revolution on Egypt-Israel relations?
Prof. Barry Rubin: Once the military goes, a turn toward total hostility. The end for all practical purposes of the peace treaty even if there is no actual war.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: Do you expect a review of the Camp David Treaty, or peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, by the new Egyptian government in the future?
Prof. Barry Rubin: Whether or not they review it the treaty will be meaningless especially once a new president is elected in Egypt.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: Is there a possibility of  dissolving the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt? If yes, does that means new conflict is expected between the two countries?
Prof. Barry Rubin: They don’t have to dissolve it, just stop observing it. Main danger: Hamas attacks Israel trying to pull Egypt into the conflict.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: What do you expect – Egypt becomes new Turkey, in Islamic politics doctrine, or will it become a conservative state?
Prof. Barry Rubin: Depends on who is elected president. But the more powerful the Brotherhood is the more likely Egypt becomes leader of Sunni Islamism and Turkey is not of any real importance. Egypt would then lead a bloc including Tunisia, Libya, and the Gaza Strip, with support for Muslim Brotherhood groups in Syria and Jordan subverting those regimes. The Saudis and Gulf states would be angry at this Egypt; Jordan would be suspicious of it.
Of course, it would have cool relations with Shia-dominated states like Iran, Syria, and Iraq.
The only alternative would be if Amr Musa becomes president and tries to steer a more nationalist course.

This article has been published on Kurdistan Tribune:

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