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Iran, Turkey divide Saudi-led bloc

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is opposed to plans by the other members of the Anti-Terror Quartet to confront Iran and Hezbollah in the Levant, to maintain Lebanon's relatively stable position.
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The Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) — Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — severed diplomatic and economic ties with Doha June 5 due to a host of issues stemming from Qatari foreign policy. Nonetheless, these four states joined the ATQ for unique reasons based on specific grievances. For instance, although the ATQ’s three Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states interpret Doha’s ties with Tehran as a major dimension of the "Qatari threat" that must be addressed, Egypt’s reason for punishing Doha stemmed from the emirate’s support for Sunni Islamist groups — chiefly the Muslim Brotherhood — and not from Qatar’s relationship with Iran nor Doha’s alleged support for Iranian-backed militias in the Levant and Arabian Peninsula.

Illustrating Cairo’s opposition to the other ATQ members’ plans for stepping up confrontation with Iran in the Levant, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi expressed his position against military strikes on Iran and Hezbollah on Nov. 8. Although Sisi reassured the other ATQ states that “Gulf national security is Egyptian national security,” his view is that shifting efforts toward countering Hezbollah would jeopardize Lebanon’s power-sharing equilibrium that has left the Mediterranean country in relative peace this year and potentially upset global/regional efforts to combat the Islamic State (IS).

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