The New Mideast Alliance

Article Summary
In the wake of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sariah abu Rajab writes that a new political order is emerging in the Middle East. Israel, Qatar, Egypt and the United States will ally to address the region's biggest problems, and the Muslim Brotherhood will assume a central role.

Although the White House did not agree to receive the Muslim Brotherhood’s Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, the United States sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Cairo. Her mission: to ensure that he is committed to general regional policies of the U.S. and to convey Washington’s blessing and support for the new president.

Washington immediately declared its support to Morsi through Clinton, who demanded that Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) chairman Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi cooperate with the Egyptian president. However, this was not all, as Washington also swiftly declared that it will forgive $1 billion of Egypt’s debt. Meanwhile, Qatar — a common regional ally of Washington and the Muslim Brotherhood — declared that it will circulate a quarter million Egyptian pounds in its market. The generosity of the US and Qatar in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, at both the financial and political level, is clear evidence that the foundations of a new alliance between the three parties are being laid.

Regarding Washington’s reservations about receiving Morsi, it must be noted that he was bound to fulfill nine conditions. The most important are respecting the Camp David Accords, the rights of minorities (the Copts) and human rights. Morsi has unequivocally declared his commitment to the agreements, which opened the door for the first international political visit to Cairo under his rule. On the other hand, we believe that Egypt’s domestic matters remain of less interest for Washington, which is waiting for upcoming developments, such as the formation of a new Egyptian government, before taking more specific stances in this regard.

It has become clear that the West and Washington in particular will not oppose the Muslim Brotherhoods’ governments as they did with Ismail Haniyeh’s 10th [Hamas] government, which was formed after the Palestinian elections in 2006. According to the Quartet’s conditions for normal relations, Haniyeh’s government was to renounce violence and recognize the Oslo Accords and Israel. Perhaps the indications of Washington’s approval were clear all along, from the time when former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was ousted until after the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists won over two-thirds of the parliamentary seats. Before the end of the presidential run-off elections, Washington demanded SCAF to declare the election results without investigating the challenges.If SCAF had investigated, they would have reversed the vote results because of the “forging” of about a million ballots. This is further proof that Washington clearly preferred Morsi over Ahmed Shafiq.

Thus, a new alliance with Washington is well under way to replace the old one. It will be based on three pillars: Israel, Qatar and Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt, which will replace Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Washington will give preference to Qatar over the UAE, which is becoming increasingly at odds with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. This is due to Dahi Khalfan’s continuous battles with the Brotherhood.

Clinton, who has not visited Israel for two years, flew to Tel Aviv after her visit to Cairo in order to keep Netanyahu’s government informed regarding Egypt’s new policy and to explain the U.S. alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood. There is no doubt that the Obama administration is focusing on its achievements in the region to guarantee itself another four years in the White House.

We believe that President Barack Obama will highlight this achievement before the American voters. As Mubarak’s Egypt was also Washington’s ally, the Democrats will argue that Egypt’s commitments toward U.S. regional policy and Israel remain unchanged, even with the Muslim Brotherhood in charge. With the new Egyptian presidency, Washington seeks to further consolidate the protection of its vital interests. However, it won’t take long until it becomes clear to all concerned parties that Mubarak’s commitment to the Camp David Accords remained limited to the official level, and that his regime was unable to normalize relations with Israel on the popular level. The Brotherhood, on the other hand, may be able to achieve a breakthrough in this regard due to its popular base.

After the preliminary phase, during which the Brotherhood will be consolidating its rule with political support from the United States and financial support from Qatar, this newly forged alliance will face other issues. It won’t be long before Morsi meets with Netanyahu, first in Cairo and maybe later in Israel. For many decades, Mubarak had never dared to visit Israel. Morsi, however, will take this step. The Qatari-Brotherhood alliance will continue under the auspices of the United States. Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood will work on rearranging the region. After addressing the Syrian crisis, many other Arab issues, such as addressing the Saudi Arabian and UAE affairs, will probably be brought to the table. There is no doubt that the Palestinian cause will also be discussed among the region’s matters.

How will be the Palestinian issue be addressed in a way that ensures the Brotherhood’s — that is, Hamas’ — control? This picture will become clearer with time. However, we believe that things will start by containing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ policy against Israel at the United Nations and his attempts to establish an independent state. This would be done by first ending the Palestinian divisions, and then financially reviving the Palestinian authority. This is happening now. Finally, Hamas’ political image must be brushed up, since it has completely withdrawn from Damascus. It must now be fully embraced by the Qatari-Brotherhood alliance.

Under a potentially new Brotherhood government in Jordan, the doors leading to a regional solution will be thrown open between the Brotherhood and Gaza. Hamas will increase its demands to open its borders and be linked to Egypt without ending the Palestinian factional division. This would allow Hamas’ authority in the West Bank to be better affiliated with the Brotherhood’s rule in Jordan. This way, Jordan and Egypt would regain their influence in the West Bank and Gaza, just as they had before 1967. This can be politically managed, even based on the logic of international politics. For instance, a regional conference may be held that includes Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians to completely solve the problem. The Muslim Brotherhood’s presence would definitely contribute toward forging a solution among the parties.

Found in: muslim brotherhood, muslim, mohammed morsi, middle east peace, middle east alliance, hillary clinton, hamas

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using them you accept our use of cookies. Learn more... X