Egyptian leader to cozy up to Putin
CAIRO — Making a rare appearance in civilian clothes, Egypt's military chief headed to Russia on Wednesday on his first trip abroad since ousting the country's Islamist president, part of a shift to reduce reliance on the United States at a time of frictions between the longtime allies.
Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday as press reports revealed that the Kremlin has agreed to provide Egypt with more than $2 billion in military equipment under a new major arms deal.
Relations have soured with the United States, Egypt's longtime ally and military patron, over al-Sisi's removal of Mohamed Morsy, the president backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Washington suspended some of its $1.5 billion in annual aid, most of which goes to the Egyptian military.
Mustafa al-Ani, head of the UAE-based think tank Security and Defense Studies at the Gulf Research Center, said Egypt's turn to Russia was a bid to counter what he called a U.S. policy of “giving up on Egypt.”
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty insisted the Moscow visit is not intended to be “against anyone, but is to diversify partners.”
Still, it appeared to send a signal to Washington that Cairo has multiple options, while burnishing al-Sisi's reputation for being willing to stand up to the Americans. Egypt's pro-military media have been fueling public anger against the U.S., depicting Washington as a supporter of Morsy and the Brotherhood and even accusing the Americans of conspiring with the Islamists against Egyptian national security.
Egypt's chief of staff, Gen. Sedki Sobhi, said this week during a visit to the UAE that Egypt is “open in its military relations with all superpowers” and wants to diversify its arms sources “from different military schools, Eastern and Western.”
“Relations with any country are not a substitute to those with any other country,” Sobhi said.
Cairo was Moscow's closest Arab ally for two decades, starting in the 1950s under Gamal Abdel-Nasser.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mexican police questioned in slaying of 3 Americans
- Beleaguered Burkina Faso leader steps down
- Smuggling dragnet snares Colombians visiting Venezuela
- Burkina Faso army general takes power after president’s resignation
- Libyan army holds triumphant parade in Benghazi
- Gunman in Ottawa attack had been waiting for passport to go to Syria
- Ukraine election cements pro-Western stance
- Netanyahu says Israel will keep building in east Jerusalem despite criticism, tensions
- Ukraine denounces Russian stance on rebel vote
- Kurds fighting in Kobani finally get reinforcements
- For more Asians, money delivers more happiness