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Egypt caught between Russia, Saudi Arabia

Egypt is struggling to find a way to leverage its ties with both Russia and Saudi Arabia to its own advantage.
Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy (L) speaks with Army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) during their meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) - RTX18QBK
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To say that relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia lately have been uneasy would be an understatement. Russia has been fuming for a while over what it perceives to be Saudi financing of Islamist terrorists in Russia, and Saudi Arabia in turn has been furious over Russia's continued support for Iran and Syria — two regimes that the Saudis would like, more than anything, to see broken or overthrown.

The frosty relations between the two respective regional powerhouses have been heating up recently, and not in a good way. On Feb. 24, Russia issued a statement accusing Saudi of planning to arm Syrian rebels with more advanced weaponry, and the next day Saudi Arabia responded with a statement condemning Russia and stating, “[Vladimir] Putin has lost Arab hearts with his support for [Bashar al-]Assad.” The fight spilled over into the Saudi Twittersphere the moment Russia moved into Crimea, with Saudi hashtags accusing Russia of moving there to kill the Crimean Muslim population, and exulting the virtues of the Ukrainian soldiers who will teach the Russians a lesson. And right in between those two, there is Egypt.

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