Coronavirus in the Middle East: A Review and Assessment
This paper reviews the responses of Middle Eastern countries to the spread of the coronavirus and highlights diplomatic and defense implications stemming from the situation. The assessment of JISS fellows is that the coronavirus crisis will not fundamentally change power dynamics in the region or alter the prevailing ambitions and policies of key countries.
Egypt’s Strategic Balancing Act between the US and Russia
Since 2014, Sisi and Putin have brought Egyptian and Russian interests into closer alignment. While Egypt wants to maintain its strategic relationship with the US, it desires to diversify its sources of support. It is in Israel's interest that America maintains its influence in Egypt, and that the common Egyptian and Russian effort in Libya will prevail over Turkey's influence.
Egyptian mediation in Gaza is a strategic asset by its own right
It is in Israel's interest to solidify the Egyptian role in Gaza, in the context of "conflict management" as a governing policy concept. Egyptian participation in the efforts to stabilize the situation in Gaza serves as an important component in the vital Egypt-Israel relationship. It also helps erode Hamas' pretensions of Jihad.
The Keystone: Sisi, Egyptian Stability and the Future of the Eastern Mediterranean
Egyptian President Al-Sisi's greatest challenges are combatting terrorism in Sinai and beyond, spurring economic growth, capitalizing on the country's energy opportunities, carrying forward great national projects, solving the Nile waters challenge posed by Ethiopia, and addressing critics in Europe and the United States. Given the alternatives, it is very much in the interest of Israel and regional allies to assist Sisi, while simultaneously encouraging him to curb some his regime’s most repressive characteristics.
The Egyptian Military Buildup: An Enigma
The ongoing Egyptian military buildup is an enigma. It is an impressive effort in terms of budget, acquisition of modern weaponry, and training. But why is Egypt investing so heavily in its military? Israel has to be wary, even though a military confrontation with Egypt is not expected.