Egypt takes centre stage in West asian affairs

Egypt

• Capital – Cairo.

• Borders with:
 Libya – west
 Sudan – south
 Israel – Northeast

• Strategic location – Hub for trade routes between Africa, Europe, and Asia.
 Enhanced with opening of the Suez Canal.

• Topography – dominated by the Nile River.

• Official language – Arabic

• 2013 – Overthrew its first democratically elected
government.

• $12 billion aid package from Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait. • West Asian deposits – grants for the import of petroleum products.

West Asian politics

• Influenced by the active role played by Saudi
Arabia and the UAE.

• Role of Egypt – reluctant.
• Qatar Blockade – role of Egypt was not much intense.
 2017 – Arab transport blockade against Qatar in order to punish for its ties with radical Islamist groups.
 To pressure reducing its diplomatic and economic relations with Iran.

• Egypt regained influence – Good and abled
management of its economy – facilitated Egypt.
 Egyptian Economic reforms, 2015.
 Foreign exchange reserves of $40 billion by 2018.
 Growth rate of 5.6% in 2019.

Present Developments in West Asia

• Israel-Palestine conflict – negotiations by the
Egyptian diplomats and intelligence officers.

• Turkey – anxious to reopen its relations.

• Tripartite grouping
 Intent to broaden regional engagements.
 For Egypt – opportunity to move beyond its traditional dependence on Saudi Arabia
and to assert its leadership in the region.
 Coalition – near-bordering land mass and a considerable domestic agricultural and
industrial capacity.
 Extensive cooperation in energy connectivity
and reconstruction areas.

Challenges

• Ethiopia’s “Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam” on the Blue Nile
 Concern – source of around 95% of Egyptian fresh water.
 Fear – Restrict this access to fresh water – “existential threat”.

 Egypt tackling with
 Diplomatic engagements with Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya.
 Major dam and hydropower project in
Tanzania.
• Strained relations with Turkey – Libyan peace
process and the East Mediterranean.
 Delineated energy claims in the Mediterranean sea – in conflict with Turkey’s claims. • Present scenario of pandemic
 Unemployment on a rise.
 Economy – slowed down recovery.
 Percentage of workers without adequate income increased.
 Poverty rate – 2% higher than in 2015.
 Concern – might compel Egypt to seek assistance from the Gulf States.