Back into an Embrace with the Russian Bear

(Jerusalem Post) Zvi Mazel - By pressuring the new regime in Cairo to demonstrate its commitment to democracy, the U.S. is driving it straight into the willing embrace of one of the least democratic countries in Europe. An unprecedented arms deal is about to be concluded in which Moscow will supply Cairo with $3 billion worth of such sophisticated weapons as MiG-29 warplanes, anti-aircraft systems, Kornet anti-tank guided missiles and combat helicopters. It follows that Russian experts will be sent to Egypt to train and advise in the use of these weapons, as well as help with maintenance. Egyptian officers and technicians will be sent to Russia. Members of the intelligence services of Egypt will probably be next. The new regime in Cairo, which has its hands full fighting radical Islam, desperately wants closer ties with the West but has to be content with the embrace of the Russian bear - an embrace which is not limited to military assistance. Russians make up most of the tourists coming to Egypt these days, and Egypt feeds its masses on mainly Russian wheat. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has offered help in building the first nuclear plant in Egypt. Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said that Egypt had submitted to the U.S. several detailed proposals for greater dialogue - and was still waiting for an answer. The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former Israeli ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.

2014-02-24 00:00:00

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