Egypt is slowly building up its strategic relationships – The Jerusalem Post

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is heading to Djibouti, a small country on the horn of Africa, an important first visit for the leader that is part of a network of regional relationships he is building. He is expected to meet the president of Djibouti; planes of humanitarian aid are also coming from Egypt.  
Al Ain media in the UAE reports that according to the Egyptian presidential spokesman, Sisi’s visit to Djibouti is “historic” and the first of its kind. It is linked to larger regional concerns Egypt has about a dam in Ethiopia. “The visit will witness the holding of an Egyptian-Djiboutian summit, to discuss various files related to joint cooperation and ways to strengthen bilateral relations, especially on the security, military and economic levels.”
Ethiopia began the second phase of filling its giant Renaissance Dam this month. The dam has caused tensions with Egypt, which has been working on closer military ties to Sudan, the UAE, Greece and other countries. Sisi has also been active in Libya, supporting the eastern government in Benghazi against Turkish-backed forces in Tripoli. But even in Libya it appears that Egypt’s star may be rising as it pitches stability and Turkey sends Syrian mercenaries.  
Most important, Egypt has helped broker the Hamas-Israel ceasefire. It is an important player trying to reduce conflict. Whereas Iran and Turkey encouraged the Hamas war effort and incited extremism, Egypt was pragmatic and played its traditionally helpful role. It also has gotten more credibility from Washington through this role.  
Djibouti is an important station for ships and a strategic base for Western militaries and others. It is important for the security of the Horn of Africa. That matters because it can potentially influence Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen. Egypt long ago played a much more robust role in Yemen in the 1960s. “The two Arab countries seek to achieve common interests that embody the mutual strong will to enhance cooperation frameworks between Egypt and Djibouti,” says Al-Ain.  
All of this matters because there is an arc of stability that is in the process of forming. It includes the East Med gas forum and therefore includes Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Greece and the Palestinian Authority. It also includes Israel’s Gulf peace partners, Bahrain and the UAE. And it includes Saudi Arabia and Oman. Egypt has also wanted to do outreach to Syria’s regime. With a rubber-stamp presidential election there that Bashar Assad is sure to win, that could increase ties as well. Iran plays the opposite role, arming and funding militias and terror groups, and spreading chaos and bankruptcy. Turkey also spreads extremism. Egypt’s foray in Djibouti is thus symbolic and important.  


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Egypt is slowly building up its strategic relationships – The Jerusalem Post

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