Egypt’s new foreign policy will ‘waste resources trying to destroy Israel’ – Barry Rubin

By Koshan Ali Khidhir:

The Arab Spring is a controversial issue, and most controversial is the impact of this change on relations between Egypt and Israel. In this interview we discuss some crucial issues with Professor Barry Rubin, Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center. Professor Rubin is a featured columnist at PJM, Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and Editor Turkish Studies.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: What was the main cause of starting the Arab revolution, especially in Egypt?

Prof. Barry Rubin: Longer-term, the failure of the Arab nationalist regimes that have governed the Arab world since the 1950s and early 1960s. Their inability to keep their promises–pan-Arab union, rapid social and economic progress, genocide against Israel, driving out Western influences–have long been clear. Their corruption, lack of freedom, and economic shortcomings have long been clear.

Immediate causes include elite dissatisfaction with the succession of Mubarak’s son and especially hard times economically

 Koshan Ali Khidhir: Do you expect changes in the state system in Egypt after the revolution?

Prof. Barry Rubin: Yes, toward Islamism.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: What were the determinations of Egypt’s Foreign Policy during Mubarak period?

Prof. Barry Rubin: A practical concern over Egyptian interests including supporting stability and not wasting resources on losing battles to destroy Israel or to ensure Egyptian leadership of the Arab world.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: What would be the aftermath or impact of the Arab Revolution on Egypt’s foreign policy?

Prof. Barry Rubin: Wasting resources on trying to destroy Israel and to ensure Egyptian leadership in the Muslim-majority world.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: What would be the impact of the revolution on Egypt-Israel relations?

Prof. Barry Rubin: Once the military goes, a turn toward total hostility. The end for all practical purposes of the peace treaty even if there is no actual war.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: Do you expect a review of the Camp David Treaty, or peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, by the new Egyptian government in the future?

Prof. Barry Rubin: Whether or not they review it the treaty will be meaningless especially once a new president is elected in Egypt.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: Is there a possibility of  dissolving the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt? If yes, does that means new conflict is expected between the two countries?

Prof. Barry Rubin: They don’t have to dissolve it, just stop observing it. Main danger: Hamas attacks Israel trying to pull Egypt into the conflict.

Koshan Ali Khidhir: What do you expect – Egypt becomes the new Turkey, in Islamic politics doctrine, or will it become a conservative state?

Prof. Barry Rubin: Depends on who is elected president. But the more powerful the Brotherhood is the more likely Egypt becomes leader of Sunni Islamism and Turkey is not of any real importance. Egypt would then lead a bloc including Tunisia, Libya, and the Gaza Strip, with support for Muslim Brotherhood groups in Syria and Jordan subverting those regimes. The Saudis and Gulf states would be angry at this Egypt; Jordan would be suspicious of it.

Of course, it would have cool relations with Shia-dominated states like Iran, Syria, and Iraq.

The only alternative would be if Amr Musa becomes president and tries to steer a more nationalist course.

Copyright © 2011



3 Responses to Egypt’s new foreign policy will ‘waste resources trying to destroy Israel’ – Barry Rubin
  1. Haval
    January 2, 2012 | 09:12

    Koshan ,you could ask him about IRAQ OR other part of these countried wich occupied kurdistan and then you could apply some question on kurds and kurdistan .Nevemind ,next time .

  2. دڵشاد خۆشناو
    January 2, 2012 | 11:38

    Many thanks to Koshan Ali Khidhir for this interview with Professor Rubin.
    It’s interesting how cool and with little emotional excitement Professor Rubin makes clear what the essence of the “Arab Spring” is which is in my opinion rather the start of a long, cold and dark winter.

    It’s about the rise of large radical and less radical islamic groups.

    The technically and west inspired youth started the “uprising” but the majority of those societies, which are the muslim groups, are getting their grip on power.

    We have been there actually before. The iranian Khomeiny revolution of 1978 was very similiar.
    A large part of the activists and those who were killed by the Shah regime were non-Islamists like the leftist and the kurdish parties.
    All of those non-islamic groups were later eliminated, one by one.

    We can’t expect anything different from the “Arab Spring” because actually the only thing that ALL groups of the “Arab Spring” agree on is:

    1- their hostility to Israel (kind of destroy them or cut their hands at least)

    2- their arab nationalism which is more of a chauvinism and actually “fascism” specially when it comes to Kurds.
    The vast majority of those Arabs deny kurdish rights.
    In current Syria, although the arab oppostion is badly persecuted and is under pressure from Bashar Assad, they still are refusing to accept the Kurds as a people with their own rights.
    At it’s best they are only ready to accept that they are Kurds and may have some cultural rights.
    From experience we know that even this little is not granted and later they will show their other face as soon as they have stabilized their power.

    For these reasons and others that can’t be mentioned here in full length, there is little “good” that would come out of this for us Kurds and I am amazed that so many Kurds (including intellectuals) are so euphoric about the “Arab Spring” as a model and can’t wait that it arrives Kurdistan as well.

    Those who would be good for any kind of democracy are just a minority (15-30%) in those arab countries.
    So I don’t expect any democratic and peaceful developments with more prosperity and freedom for the peoples of those countries.
    All what we can expect is more (islamic and arab nationalist) radicalization with “un-peaceful” consequences for Non-Arabs like Israel and Kurdistan.

    Look a Iran: what a mess for freedom, human rights and prosperity!
    Although they are lucky to have vast oil fortunes that saved them from starvation.
    What about Egypt that has no or little natural resources with an exploding population?

    The last figures tell that the “Arab Spring” caused $75 Billion of damages and the economies are down right now because of:

    1- tourists are staying out
    2- investors pull out or restrain from bringing in money to those countries

    I like the cool analysis of Professor Barry Rubin and that he is not overlooking the core facts and doesn’t let himself be distracted by the usual rhetoric we nowadays hear and read.

    I would have wished that Kurds, or at least their intellectuals, were able to think in this clear and precise way and not JUST repeat what others tell like “parrots”.

    Slaw u rez

  3. Azad Ezzat
    January 9, 2012 | 20:21

    How convenient to ask an Israeli expert about political issues pertaining to the middle east? You think you will get a fair unbiased view? Genius journalism

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