Egypt’s al-Sisi and Putin Pledge Common Front against Terrorism

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Wednesday for the third time in a year with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Putin is attempting to draw Egypt into a common front against terrorism. He wants to fight Daesh [ISIS, ISIL]) in Syria, which is only a 24 hour automobile drive from Russia’s troubled Chechen region.

Putin sees the common front against Daesh as a basis for a new level of strategic ties between the Moscow and Cairo.

But Putin put sl-Sisi in a difficult position by saying that the anti-terrorism front would include Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad.

Al-Sisi carefully avoided saying anything in response.

Egypt quietly has good relations with Syria, but its main backer right now is Saudi Arabia, which is attempting to overthrow al-Assad .

The two have some common economic interests, as well. Russia is offering to build Egypt a nuclear power plant, and Egypt is offering Russia some free trade zones along the refurbished Suez Canal.

Egyptian critics complained that al-Sisi dressed just like Putin, in a dark three piece suit, for all the meetings.

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5 Responses

  1. Dr. Cole,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t Putin’s oppression of the Chechen area and Sisi’s oppression of the Sinia Peninsula both causes for terrorism there, including the growth of ISIS?

    We shouldn’t be naïve enough to think that both these men will form a “front against terrorism” without looking out for their own interests.

  2. There we go with the “T” word again. That would be Terrorism™, in case anyone hasn’t noticed.

    So, let’s try to get our arms around this slippery little pig once again. “People we don’t like,” or perhaps “people who make us (the status quo/establishment) uncomfortable.”

    Or better yet, lets not even try. Anyway it’s defined could either be used to reflect on us (a state institution, as al-Assad is now finding), or fail to apply to someone else we want to delegitimize.

    When its necessary or useful to inflame people or otherwise manipulate hoi polloi, just have our person say the magic word in an over-loud, wavering tone, preferably with bug-eyes and a little spittle, to make sure everyone Gets It.

  3. Putin’s need to safekeep his interests in Syria are easy to understand. The alignment with Egypt, (not exactly new, remember the old knothead Nasser?) is understandable.

  4. Putin and Al-Sisi agree that if anyone is going to terrorize the citizens, it should be government goons…

  5. The suit is standard uniform. Both were trained well. The Islamic world needs democracy in stereo. Putin has a duty to promote a different perspective of democracy to the middle east. Assad isn’t really going to enjoy endless support. Libya is Russia’s in and a new much nicer base there for Russia’s military operations can shorten Assad’s time. Egypt is not Turkey. Putin is well positioned to help Egypt deal with Libya and work south to clean out Boko Haram. Ukraine costs money and influence, while providing support to the republican securocrat Al Sisi is subsidized by both the KSA and the US. It’s a no brainer.

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