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The relation between Egypt and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) alliance has undergone a radical transition within the past decade. The countries forming the GCC community include Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain (Gray and Blejer 42). The developments and political upheavals experienced in the Arab region have contributed a lot towards the nature of relations maintained by the GCC nations and Egypt. The wave of Islamist groups also continues to transform the politics of this region.
Islamist is “a term used to define the revival movement associated with literalism and implementation of Islamic values” (Gray and Blejer 45). Islamism has been associated with the major upheavals experienced in the Arab within the past decade. This issue has also dictated the relationship between the GCC and other countries across the region. Experts argue that the relationship has continued to improve especially after the fall of Mohamed Morsi’s government in July 2013 (Colombo 2). This paper gives a critical analysis of the current relationship between Egypt and the GCC alliance after Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office. The thesis of the paper is that the financial support availed by the GCC to Abdel Fattah was a clear indication that the countries were against any form of leadership led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The GCC had a strong tie with Muhammad Hosni Mubarak’s government. Mubarak used to receive financial support from the GCC community. The toppling of his regime was, therefore, a big surprise for these GCC nations. The GCC supported the regime to ensure the region remained secure from the ideals of Islamism (Colombo 2). The GCC was surprised because the toppling of the regime could obliterate the relationship between the community and Egypt. The Islamist wave was also seen as a major force capable of affecting the political stability of the region.
This fact explains why the Egyptian Revolution was viewed by many scholars as something negative that could have far-reaching implications for the region (Colombo 8). The greatest fear was that the revolution could spread to other nations across the region. Such a development was seen as a major threat to the stability and economic welfare of these nations (Sons and Wiese 16). Furthermore, the GCC did not want any repressive force to gain power in the country. Unfortunately, the Islamists managed to gain power in the country. Throughout the revolution, the relation between Egypt and the GCC countries was greatly strained.
The election of Mohamed Morsi as the fifth president of Egypt led to mistrust by the GCC alliance (Gray and Blejer 45). Most of the member states could not associate with the Islamist leader. Consequently, the GCC nations initiated a regional campaign in an attempt to besiege and overthrow Morsi’s government. The efforts of the GCC played a critical role in transforming the government of Egypt. The member states were also happy after the Muslim Brotherhood government collapsed in July 2013 (Naufal and Genc 3). This event opened a new door for Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government.
New Relations after Abdul Fattah al-Sisi took the Office
The GCC embraced Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after removing Mohamed Morsi from office (Colombo 9). This occurrence shows clearly that the new regime has managed to revive the positive relations that existed during Mubarak’s era. The GCC community has also been on the frontline to offer financial support to this country (Naufal and Genc 6). After Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became the president, the GCC has continued to offer the required economic and diplomatic support to Egypt. For example, the UAE allocated over 4 billion USD to assist Egypt in 2015 (Meringolo 4). This is the case because Egypt has continued to receive enormous financial support from the GCC community.
The positive relationship between the GCC and Egypt is currently expected to deliver several results. To begin with, the Arab region has encountered some cataclysms since 2011. Within the past five years, the Arab world has believed strongly that such political upheavals and revolutions can have disastrous implications on the region’s stability. The GCC countries have therefore been supporting Egypt to ensure such revolutions are stopped (Sons and Wiese 13). This is the case because Egypt’s political stability dictates its relationship with the other neighboring nations. By so doing, the member states can be sure that such revolutions do not reach the region.
After the Egyptian Revolution, the GCC believed strongly that the country could spearhead similar changes across the region (Naufal and Genc 8). The revolution presented several facts that could not be taken lightly. For instantly, many Arab youths were observed to call for change. This situation explains why Ahmed Shafik lost in the country’s presidential elections (Meringolo 4). The GCC alliance has always believed that Abdel Fattah is the best candidate who can transform the political environment experienced in Egypt and prevent it from spreading across the region.
Al-Sisi also supports the interests of the GCC member states. This is the case because the nations have always been afraid of different Islamists. Such Islamists have been working hard to transform the political atmosphere experienced in the region. These countries have therefore been providing endless financial and diplomatic support to Egypt (Sons and Wiese 13). The Gulf’s fear of the Islamist trends explains why the reaction between the GCC and Egypt will remain positive in the next few years.
In the recent past, the Arab region has recorded unprecedented cases of non-governmental forces. These countries, therefore, rely on Egypt to control some of the domestic issues that might affect the subcontinent. A positive relationship between Egypt and the GCC countries is critical towards promoting regional stability (Sons and Wiese 21). The GCC has specific goals that cannot be achieved without involving Egypt. For example, the country is a key player in the region and its strategic location should never be underestimated. For instance, the revolutions “experienced in various African countries could be easily transferred to the East” (Gray and Blejer 47). These two parties also have common interests that can only be realized with positive cooperation (Sons and Wiese 17). The GCC is planning to use Egypt’s military and academic institutions to execute various missions (Gray and Blejer 47). The purpose of such missions is to ensure the region maintains its current political stability.
Similarly, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi still requires the support of these nations. This unity is necessary if the current Egyptian government is to remain strong and alive. The economic deterioration experienced in the Arab world explains why this relationship is critical. Abdel Fattah knows clearly that a positive cooperation with the GCC community will support the survival of his government. This is also the same case for most of the Egyptian institutions. Political analysts and economic experts have argued that a positive relationship between the GCC and other nations across the region is needed to promote political stability (Meringolo 7). These experts also believe strongly that Abdel Fattah al-Sisi should work harder to improve the strength of his government. This move will definitely strengthen the current relationship (Sons and Wiese 17). A strong government will address most of the challenges affecting his country. As well, the relationship will open up new economic and political opportunities for Egypt.
The relations between the GCC alliance and Egypt have improved within the past four years. However, some skeptics believe that the relationship between these parties does not have the aspects of a strategic partnership. However, the relations are critical because it is based on common interests that affect the region (Monem and Aly 4). The past two years have indicated clearly that a positive collaboration is needed if the uprisings experienced in the Arab region are to be dealt with. In summary, the future of this relationship between Egypt and the GCC community will be dictated by the political events that might be experienced in the region within the next few years. A good political climate will strengthen the relationships experienced in the region. For instance, the relationship is critical towards minimizing radicalization in the region. This kind of radicalization is associated with political unrest and terrorism. A good example is the current uprising and unrest experienced in Syria.
Colombo, Silvia. “The GCC Countries and the Arab Spring: Between Outreach, Patronage and Repression.” IAI Working Papers 1.12 (2012): 1-16. Print.
Gray, Simon and Mario Blejer. “The Gulf Cooperation Council Region: Financial Market Development, Competitiveness, and Economic Growth.” Belfer Research Center 1.1 (2014): 41-51. Print.
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Meringolo, Azzurra. “From Morsi to Al-Sisi: Foreign Policy at the Service of Domestic Policy.” IAI Working Papers 1.8 (2015): 1-12. Print.
Monem, Abdel and Said Aly. “Deciphering Abdel Fattah el-Sisi President of Egypt’s Third Republic.” Middle East Brief 1.82 (2014) 1-9. Print.
Naufal, George and Ismail Genc. “The Story of Remittance Flows from the GCC Countries.” Gulf Research Center 5.1 (2014): 1-12. Print.
Sons, Sebastian and Inken Wiese. “The Engagement of Arab Gulf States in Egypt and Tunisia Since 2011: Rationale and Impact.” DGAP Analyse 1.1 (2015): 1-45. Print.