Friday, September 28, 2012

Mr. Morsi Egypt and the West

One hundred days after the coming to power of Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood first elected president in Egypt, it is time to make a first assessment of its diplomatic efforts. Pillar of American influence in the Middle East since the 1970s, Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, she would suddenly change sides? The leader of "moderate Arabs" would he become an enemy of the Jewish state and denounce the peace accords at Camp David? Egypt would she open wide the border with the Gaza Strip and ally of Hamas, whose leaders have known all their Egyptian counterparts on the benches of the University of Zagazig? Egypt she would switch alliance with the West outright opposition and join the "axis of resistance" led by Khomeini Iran?

It is clear that the arrival of an Islamist power at the head of Egypt did not lead to a head-to-tail diplomatic and strategic, but a realignment beginning. Less subject to the West than its predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, Mohamed Morsi does not mean turning him back. "The Muslim Brotherhood are not the servants of the West, as claimed Nasser nor their implacable enemy, as was inclined to Mubarak, says Jean-Pierre Filiu, former diplomat and professor at Science Po They are primarily Egyptian make their political geography. "

In this regard, the case of the attack on August 6, a border crossing by Egyptian jihadist group probably came from Gaza, is revealing. Advantage in the opinion of the shock created by the heavy balance - border guards killed 16 - Egyptian President ordered a major military operation in the Sinai, Israel demanded a long time. At the same time, he has closed the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Defense of national sovereignty has prevailed on the promise to Hamas Palestinian and Egyptian public opinion to reopen the border, yet the symbol of Hosni Mubarak last submission to Israel. The Egyptian reaction was such that Israeli leaders are embarrassed by the request of Cairo to review the agreement to increase its military presence to counter terrorist groups. The head of Israeli diplomacy Avigdor Lieberman, anxious Cairo massing troops on its border, excluded this possibility.

Still on the subject of relations with Israel, Mohamed Morsi has finely played by asking the United States to fully implement the Camp David Accords, which they are provided and guarantors - that we often forget & # 8211, self-administration of the Palestinian territories. After a honeymoon that lasted all summer, US-Egyptian relations were tested by the event, September 12, from 2 000 to 3 000 people who climbed the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to protest against the Islamophobic video posted by Copts extremists in California. Washington, which had supported Mohamed Morsi when he was sidelined part of the staff and dismissed the army of Political Affairs during the summer, was appalled by the inaction of the Egyptian police and forty- eight long hours of silence the Egyptian president.

Obama in full campaign and pressure Republicans, jumped at the opportunity to put Mohamed Morsi pressure by declaring that Egypt was "neither an ally nor an enemy." He knows that the Egyptian president, who has to manage a serious economic and social crisis, needs aid - $ 2.1 billion annually (1.6 billion euros), including 1.3 support military - and U.S. investment. Mohamed Morsi response in the New York Times on the eve of the General Assembly of the UN, the United States can reach out to Muslims - as did Barack Obama's speech in Cairo June 4, 2009 - or support the Arab revolutions, they not only restore their image in the Arab world as long as they support the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

In doing so, Mohamed Morsi presents the Palestinian issue at the center, unlike heralded by those who wanted to see in the "Arab Spring", a mixture of "policy hungry" and rallying to universal values ​​- that Western said in their minds - such as freedom, democracy.

Liberal economics, appreciated by the International Monetary Fund for their budgetary orthodoxy, the Muslim Brotherhood are not about to break with the West, but they want to rebalance the relationship. In this regard, Mr. Morsi trip to China in late August, is a strong signal. Just like the choice to stop, following in Tehran - the first since the fall of the Shah in 1979 - to attend the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. Dr. Morsi has dampened hopes unambiguously condemning the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Clearly, the new Egypt wishes to establish itself as the major regional power, not align with another axis. This is the meaning of the initiative of a contact group on Syria with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He has little chance of success, as these countries are driven by a similar ambition and Syria have made the field of their rivalry.

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