Egypt shifting away from its longtime alliance with the United States towards military cooperation with France and Russia since the election of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is not in Israel’s interest, an Israeli report has stated.
“Israel has a fundamental interest in Egypt remaining closely allied with the United States, a reduction in Egypt’s dependence on the United States is of great significance,” said the report, issued by Israel's Institute of National Security Studies (INSS).
Egypt’s relationship with the US has deteriorated over the latter’s rejection of the ouster of Mohamed Morsi from presidency in 2013. Following the June revolution, Washington suspended its US$1.3 annual military aid to Egypt, prompting Cairo to diversify its sources of military supplies, engaging in large arms deals with Russia and France.
The report pointed to Egypt’s February arms deal with France for the purchase of 24 Rafale fighter jets and a FREMM frigate, all with a total cost of over 5 billion euros, adding that the sale “may indicate a change in the regional balance of power”.
Though the report pointed out that Egypt’s relations with the United States have been undermined by the suspension of military aid, Egypt is not interested in forfeiting those relations altogether.
“At the end of the day, only the United States is capable of supplying Egypt with aid of the scope it has been receiving to date,” according to the report. “It therefore seems that the deal with France as well as the extended talks with Russia about military aid is intended to convey a message to the United States according to which Egypt is not exclusively dependent on it”.
*Correction: A typo of "relationship" was corrected.