Experts say Egypt restoring regional role in Middle East

Political experts say Egypt has recently managed to reinstate its regional role which can be seen in several Arab issues such as the Palestinian cause and the Libyan crisis.

“The Arab region’s issues have been left in the hands of regional and international players for a long time, most of the cases have not reached settlement yet,” said Mokhtar Ghobashy, deputy chairman of the Cairo-based Arab Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

As the most populous Arab country, Egypt has realized the importance of contributing to settling regional crisis to maintain its stability, Ghobashy told Xinhua, stressing that Egypt should strongly restore its mediating role in the Middle East.

On Feb. 9, Leaders of a dozen of Palestinian factions, including the two main rivals Fatah and Hamas, concluded a two-day reconciliation dialogue in Egypt’s capital Cairo and agreed on cooperation in holding the general elections later this year.

In the final statement after the dialogue, the Palestinian sides hailed the Egyptian’s efforts that sponsored the Palestinian dialogue, calling on Egypt to follow up on the agreement between the factions to carry out the elections in all its stages.

Egypt on Feb. 10 concluded a three-day meeting for delegations of the Libyan parliament, the Supreme Council and a UN official for discussing a legal and a constitutional base for processing the Libyan parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled in December 2021.

Egypt also succeeded in reaching a deal with the Iraqi government over mechanisms of “oil-for-reconstruction” and cooperation in all fields during a recent meeting between Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Iraqi’s foreign minister Fuad Hussein.

Similar efforts were made to ease the crisis in Lebanon. On Feb. 3, Sisi stressed Egypt’s keenness to preserve Lebanon’s stability as a priority in a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.

Ghobashy said that Egypt’s role in solving the Libyan and Palestinian issues has been always indispensable.

The expert added that Egypt is expected to have more contribution in other crises like the situation in Syria and Yemen, noting that the Arab issues would not be solved without Arab players.

He attributed the success of Egypt being able to restore its regional role to “its strong army, the economic strength, and the international role it played to maintain the Arab national security.”

Tariq Fahmy, professor of political sciences at Cairo University, said that the presidential diplomacy and willingness of leadership are the main pillars for putting Egypt on the regional map as a key factor in many issues.

“Egypt is adopting a multi-goals diplomacy now for facing the regional challenges in Palestine, Libya, Lebanon, Iraq, and the Gulf countries,” Fahmy said.

Meanwhile, Atef Sedawy, an expert with the state-run Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies, said Egypt has not lost its regional role at any time, but it has been busy settling its domestic problems as a matter of priority after experiencing two uprisings.

He pointed out that Egypt wasn’t active in Lebanon issues when the problems were focused on changing governments, but “now the crisis in Lebanon shakes its presence as a national state.”

The expert also noted that “rebuilding Libya constitutes an issue that Egypt should be involved in.”

“These matter to Egypt’s national security,” he stressed.