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December 19th, 2012, by Bertrand Badie

Bertrand Badie

Commentary from Prof. Badie on Egypt

 

The Arab Spring has clearly shaked regional leadership in the Arab World. After Iraq, Egypt and then Syria have been weakened in their usual capacity to stand out as regional powers, paving the way to Saudi Arabia as a new potential- but controversial- regional power. Mohamed Morsi could very skilfully put right the Egyptian dipolmacy, but his ability to go on in this way depends on two factors: the evolution of Egyptian domestic politics; the capacity to handle carefully his relations with Washington.

Egyptian domestic politics is currently shaped in an ordinary way: Islamist forces are the only possible organized opposition in every kind of dictatorship ruling a Muslim country. As the 2011 social movement in Cairo was not a leninist one and did not bring directly to power a new ruling party, Muslim Brothers could thus easily win the elections. Now confronted to an islamist government, the social movement has no more ressources for defeating and toppling it. So, Morsi will probably win the challenge…

In an international point of view, the relations are about to be reversed: Washington is less and less able to make pressure on an Egyptian government which cannot extend the Mobarak pro-israelian policy. With both Tel Aviv and Cairo, the US superpower is then more and more depending on its weaker partners.

For all the reasons,Egypt has very good cards to play for recovering her regional hegemony. It is probably a good news for international stability.

 

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