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U.S. Foreign Policy Threats to Israel’s National Security: Strategic Imperatives for Jerusalem

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“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”-W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming

Though U.S. President Donald Trump describes himself as pro-Israel, any seriously analytic assessment of his foreign policies would point toward a different conclusion. On the surface, of course, Mr. Trump’s earlier transfer of America’s embassy to Jerusalem, his recent acceptance of Israel’s established West Bank settlements and his undiminished rhetorical support of Israel’s overall security posture suggest a sympathetic U.S. administration. Still, however unwitting or unintentional, the actual expected consequences of Trump foreign policies are sorely injurious for Israel, not gainful.

As for the tangible dangers posed by these policies, they could be sudden and immediate or incremental and long-term.

For doubters, core examples are readily available. These include the American president’s strengthening of certain leading Sunni Arab military forces (as a presumptive counter-vailing power to Shiite Iran) and his declared U.S. departure from Syria. Already, this staged withdrawal is emboldening Hezbollah.

At this particular stage, for Israel, the well-organized Shiite militia supervised from Tehran poses a greater overall strategic threat than any traditional Arab army. In specific reference to a commonly perceived threat from Iran, Saudi and Egyptian military objectives are now more closely aligned with Israeli security goals than once might have even been thought possible. Still, in predictably short order, those Sunni Arab states joined together in a common Trump-led struggle against Shiite Iran could falter in their apparent allegiance. Any such substantial weakening could be triggered by altogether reasonable fears that a US-generated war with Iran would produce irrecoverable harms.

 One unintended corollary of any such Sunni-Arab weakening could be a more militarily capable and worrisome regime in Teheran and Moscow.

All things considered, and however one might choose to analyze Israel’s dynamic geopolitical challenges[1] – a task that must inevitably prove both multi-layered and expansively complex[2] – Donald Trump’s foreign policies will remain determinably “net-negative” for the country’s national security.[3] Upon considered reflection, the American president’s conspicuous policy declarations concerning Israel’s “eternal capital,” its West Bank settlements and its enduring access to conventional arms transfers will provide few if any strategic benefits to Israel. Moreover, from an international law perspective, these declarations will prove essentially irrelevant.[4]

In Israel, it is time to inquire: what is the bottom line? The correct response? It is that the Trump presidency, even if well-intentioned toward the Jewish State, lacks sufficient intellectual resources. Longer-term, this seat-of-the-pants or “doctrine-free” American administration is likely to become as darkly injurious for Israel as it has already become for the United States. This U.S. presidency, after all, believes more in “attitude, than preparation;” in virtually all matters of substance, it remains determinedly anti-historical and anti-intellectual. Also, this presidency is glaringly unconcerned about peremptory human rights, as evidenced, inter alia, by Trump’s flagrantly open abandonment of America’s Kurdish allies.

For Israel, the salient message here should be clear. This abandonment should stand as an unambiguous warning against placing too much faith in American security pledges or commitments, especially during the persistently dissembling “Trump Era.”

There is more. From the start, North Korean nuclear negotiations have been mismanaged by Trump; correspondingly, Pyongyang continues to expand and modernize its advanced nuclear weapons missile programs.[5] While the American president has repeatedly drawn false comfort from “falling in love” with Kim Jung Un (a demonstrably unrequited love), the North Korean dictator makes any once-credible hopes for “complete denuclearization” unassailably nonsensical.

Similarly, Mr. Trump’s unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the July 2015 JCPOA pact concerning Iran has accelerated that adversarial state’s worrisome nuclearization. Ominously, too, fearful strategic nuclear/hypervelocity missile developments are expanding in Russia, a superpower foe which sees in this unreflective American president an optimally convenient surrogate for achieving Moscow’s national military goals.

The principal reason for identifying the unreliability/unpredictability of US President Donald Trump’s foreign policy for Israeli security is intellectual. Persistently, wittingly, Donald Trump has revealed a near-total lack of historic or strategic understanding, and a derivative disregard for all constitutive elements of civilized international relations.[6] In Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the following  critical question ought soon be posed:

Should those officials responsible for meeting Israel’s security obligations place their existential bets on such evidently fragile analytic foundations?

It’s not a complicated question.

The comprehensive security dilemma for Israel posed by U.S. President Trump is augmented by various similarly serious jurisprudential deficits. These legal shortcomings include an apparent unconcern for certain “peremptory” obligations of national and international law.[7]  Without suitable embarrassment, this president has argued that he maintains a personal right to override US Constitutional expectations concerning birthright and US citizenship, and that the US had properly terminated its codified obligations under the INF Treaty with Russia.

Regarding the specific matter of this president’s INF Treaty termination, which was not ipso facto illegal, the deleterious security outcome could still prove multi-faceted and broadlyoverwhelming.

More concretely, this more-or-less negative outcome could be made manifest in certain measurable or indecipherable increments, or rather in sudden “bolt-from-the-blue” enemy attacks. Often, because the foreign and defense policies of nation-states are not only intersecting, but “synergistic” (situations wherein the “whole” would be greater than the aggregate sum of its “parts”), these attacks would not necessarily stem directly from Russia.[8] Instead, they could represent a derivative but by no means insignificant nuclear involvement of North Korea.

One conceivably plausible outcome of various Trump-induced misunderstandings will be a continuously-expanding nuclear arms race between the superpowers.[9]  For Israel in particular, any such corrosive expansion could spawn serious “spillover” risks for itself and for the wider Middle East.[10] Taken together, these mutually-reinforcing risks would concern incessant destabilization, terror and war, and could present in many possible configurations and/or synergistic interactions.[11]

 President Donald Trump’s earlier “seat-of-the-pants” withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA pleased his political “base” at home, but it also enlarged the overall Iranian nuclear threat to Israel.[12]  Looking back, even if the JCPOA had been a manifestly imperfect agreement – a reasonable judgment – it did not necessarily follow that unilateral abrogation would be in America’s or Israel’s best interest. Once again, the major problem here with Donald Trump’s strategic assessment was that it was wholly devoid of any logical or persuasively analytic underpinnings.

It derived from “attitude, not preparation.”

There is more. For Israel, there is a relevant early history. Then, openly, presidential candidate Donald Trump had advised “killing the families” of terrorists and being less openly concerned about humanitarian international law –  that is, about the civilizing rules of engagement found collectively at the Law of War or the Law of Armed Conflict.[13] In essence, inter alia, heeding this president’s lawless counsel on such a salient matter would have amounted to a US reversal of incontrovertible Nuremberg Principles.[14]

Such a law-violating reversal would carry unforeseeable but still fearful consequences involving nuclear weapons and nuclear war.

All things considered, Israel now faces a unique and markedly complex dilemma. Whatever the logical underpinnings and determined coherence of its own unilateral foreign policies, President Donald Trump’s continuing missteps with Syria,[15] Iran, Russia, China, Yemen, Venezuela, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and certain still-compliant European allies will further destabilize the Middle East – directly or indirectly; and suddenly or incrementally. Whatever Jerusalem should decide to do or not to do about the “big picture” – a security vision that must include the tangible emergence of “Cold War II”[16] – this unsteady region could slip irretrievably into ever-deeper levels of authentic “chaos.”[17]

The most presently meaningful question for Jerusalem should concern whether this slippage is apt to be the immediate result of some Trump-generated catastrophe, or whether it will manifest itself instead in certain calculable and episodic bouts of Trump policy-induced suffering.

With this query in mind, one critical issue must concern imperative re-evaluations of “deliberate nuclear ambiguity.”[18]

To date, the “bomb-in-the-basement” policy has made eminently good sense for Israel.  Presumptively, both friends and foes already recognize that Israel possesses significant nuclear capabilities that are (1) survivable; and (2) capable of penetrating any determined enemy’s active defenses. For these adversaries not to acknowledge these capabilities would require a very hard-to-explain and implausibly generalized intellectual deficit.

Going forward, what should Israel do about its vital nuclear posture? How, exactly, should this traditionally ambiguous stance be adapted to the convergent and inter-penetrating threats of potentially still-impending Middle Eastern/North African revolutions, a nuclear Iran,[19] and Israel’s justifiably constant concern about negotiating useful agreements with various state[20] and sub-state (terrorist) organizations.[21]

The conventional wisdom routinely assumes that credible nuclear deterrence is somehow an automatic consequence of merely holding nuclear weapons. By this argument, removing Israel’s nuclear bomb from the “basement” would only elicit new waves of global condemnation, and would do this without returning any commensurate benefits.

History, however, reveals that the conventional wisdom is often unwise. The pertinent strategic issues for Israel are not at all simple or straightforward.  Instead, in the inherently arcane world of Israel’s nuclear deterrence, it can never be adequate that enemy states merely acknowledge the Jewish State’s nuclear status. Instead, it is important that these states further believe that Israel holds usable nuclear weapons, and that Jerusalem/Tel-Aviv would be willing to employ such weapons in certain definably clear circumstances.[22]

Still to be generated Trump instabilities in the Middle East could create more good reasons to doubt that Israel would benefit from any uninterrupted continuance of deliberate nuclear ambiguity. It would seem, moreover, from certain apparent developments within Israel’s intersecting defense and intelligence communities, that the country’s senior leadership already understands such informed skepticism. To best augment such an understanding, however, Israel’s nuclear strategists should proceed interrogatively – in effect, creating a continuously self-refining “strategic dialectic” from which suitable answers and policies could be incrementally extracted and/or systematically deduced.[23]

This will call for refined “preparation,” not “attitude.”

One basic point now warrants reiteration.  Israel is imperiled by existential threats that fully justify its nuclear weapons and that require a correspondingly purposeful strategic doctrine. This basic need exists beyond any reasonable doubt. After all, without such weapons and doctrine, Israel could not expectedly survive over time, especially if certain neighboring regimes should sometime become still more adversarial, more jihadist and/or less risk-averse.  

Israeli nuclear weapons and purposeful nuclear doctrine could prove vital to those more-or-less predictable scenarios requiring preemptive action or suitable forms of retaliation.

Generically, military doctrine describes how a country’s national forces would fight in various recognizable combat operations. The literal definition of doctrine derives from the Middle English, from the Latin doctrina, meaning teaching, learning, and instruction. Though generally unanticipated, the full importance of doctrine lies not only in ways that it can animate and unify military forces, but also in the particular fashion that it can transmit certain desired “messages.” In other words, doctrine can serve a state (especially an endemically beleaguered state such as Israel) as a critical form of communication, and to its friends and foes alike.

Israel could benefit from any such broadened understandings of doctrine. The principal risks facing Israel are now more specific than broadly general or benignly generic. This is because Israel’s extant adversaries in the region could at some point be joined by: (1) a new Arab state of “Palestine;”[24] and by (2) a newly-nuclear Iran.  In the presumptively worst case,  any such inauspicious “joining” would take place at the same time.[25]

For Israel, merely possessingnuclear weapons, even when fully recognized by pertinent enemy states, could never by itself ensure successful deterrence. In this connection, though starkly counter-intuitive, an appropriately selective and nuanced end to deliberate ambiguity could substantially improve the overall credibility of Israel’s nuclear deterrent.  With this key point prominently in mind, the injurious potential of assorted enemy attacks in the future could be reduced by making selectively available certain additional information.

This additional information would concern the security of Israel’s nuclear weapon response capabilities.

Carefully limited yet helpfully more explicit, it would center on distinctly major and inter-penetrating issues of Israel’s nuclear capability andits decisional willingness.

 Skeptics, no doubt, will disagree. It is, after all, seemingly sensible to assert that nuclear ambiguity has “worked” thus far. Arguably, while Israel’s current nuclear policyhas done little to deter multiple conventional terrorist attacks, it has plainly succeeded in keeping that country’s enemies, whether singly or in collaboration, from mounting any existential aggressions.

Inevitably, as the nineteenth-century Prussian strategic theorist, Karl von Clausewitz, observed in his classic essay, On War, there can come a military tipping point when “mass counts.” Israel, of course, is very small.  Its enemies have always had an undeniable and irreversible advantage in “mass.”   Perhaps even more than any other imperiled state on earth, Israel needs to steer clear of any such tipping point.[26]

For the several reasons already mentioned, this imperative is more compelling in the Trump years than before, even if the American president is more expressly “pro-Israel” in his rhetoric and policy formulations than his predecessor.

 An integral part of Israel’s multi-layered security system lies in effective ballistic missile defenses, primarily, the Arrow or “Hetz.” Yet, even the well-regarded and successfully-tested Arrow, augmented by the newer, shorter-range and systematically-integrated operations of “Iron Dome,” “David’s Sling,” and various related active defenses, could never achieve a sufficiently high probability of intercept to adequately protect Israeli civilians. No system of missile defense can ever be entirely “leak proof,” and even a single incoming nuclear missile that manages to penetrate Arrow or its corollary defenses could conceivably kill tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

Potentially, this fearful reality could prove less consequential if Israel’s continuing reliance on deliberate ambiguity were suitably revised or altered.

 In essence, current Israeli policy of maintaining an undeclared nuclear capacity is unlikely to work indefinitely. Leaving aside a jihadist takeover of nuclear Pakistan,[27] the most obviously unacceptable “leakage” threat would come in the future from a nuclear Iran. To be effectively deterred, any newly-nuclear Iran would then need certain convincing assurances that Israel’s atomic weapons were both invulnerable and penetration-capable.

Any Iranian judgments about Israel’s capability and willingness to retaliate with nuclear weapons would then depend largely upon some prior Iranian knowledge of these weapons, including their perceived degree of protection from surprise attack and their presumed capacity to “punch-through” certain relevant Iranian defenses, both active and passive.

A nuclear weapons-capable Iran may already be a fait accompli. For whatever reasons, neither the “international community” in general nor Israel in particular has managed to create sufficient credibility to undertake timely preemptive action. Plausibly, any such critical defensive action would have required various complex operational capabilities, and could have generated manifestly unacceptable Iranian counter actions.

It is likely that Israel has already undertaken some very impressive and original steps in cyber-defense and cyber-war, but even the most remarkable efforts in this direction would not be enough to stop Iran altogether. The sanctions sequentially leveled at Tehran over the years have had an economic impact, but  they have also had no determinable impact in halting Iranian nuclearization altogether or stopping Tehran’s discernible enhancements of intercontinental ballistic missile potential.

In time, a nuclear Iran could decide to share some of its nuclear components and materials with Hezbollah or with another kindred terrorist group.To prevent this destabilizing sharing, Jerusalem would need to convince Iran, inter alia, that Israel possesses a useful range of distinctly usable nuclear options.  Accordingly, Israeli nuclear ambiguity could be loosened by releasing certain very general information regarding the availability and survivability of appropriately low-yield weapons.

Israel should now be calculating (vis-à-vis a prospectively nuclear Iran) the exact extent of subtlety with which it should consider communicating key portions of its nuclear positions.[28] Naturally, Israel should never reveal any very specific information about its nuclear strategy, hardening or yield-related capabilities.

One more point. An Israeli move from ambiguity to disclosure would not help in the case of an irrational nuclear enemy. It is possible, at least, that certain elements of Iranian leadership might sometime subscribe to certain end-times visions of a Shiite apocalypse. By definition, such an enemy would not value its own continued national survival more highly than every other preference or combination of preferences.           

Were its leaders to be or turn non-rational, Iran could effectively become a nuclear suicide-bomber in macrocosm.  Such a challenging prospect is certainly improbable, perhaps even at the very outer fringes of plausibility. But it is also not inconceivable. A similarly serious prospect obtains in already-nuclear and residually coup-vulnerable Pakistan.  

To protect itself against military strikes from irrational enemies, particularly those attacks that could carry existential costs, Israel will need to reconsider virtually every aspect and function of its nuclear arsenal and doctrine.[29]

Removing the bomb from Israel’s “basement” could enhance Israel’s strategic deterrence to the extent that it would heighten enemy perceptions of the severe and likely risks involved. This would also bring to mind a so-called Samson Option, which could allow various enemy decision-makers to note and underscore that Israel is prepared to do whatever is needed to survive.[30]

 Irrespective of its preferred level of ambiguity, Israel’s nuclear strategy must always remain correctly oriented toward deterrence, and not war-fighting. The Samson Option refers to a policy that would be based in part upon some implicit threat of massive nuclear retaliation for certain specific enemy aggressions.  Israel’s small size means, among other things, that any nuclear attack would threaten Israel’s existence and could never be tolerated.

A Samson Option would make sense only in certain “last-resort” or “near last-resort” circumstances. If the Samson Option is to become part of a genuinely credible national deterrent, an end to Israel’s deliberate ambiguity posture would be essential. The really tough part of this transformational process would be determining the proper timing for any such action vis-à-vis Israel’s core security requirements, and also pertinent expectations of the so-called “international community.”[31]

The Samson Option should never be confused with Israel’s overriding security objective: Always seek stable deterrence at the lowest possible levels of military conflict.

There is more. In our often counter-intuitive strategic world, it could sometimes become rational to pretend irrationality. The nuclear deterrence benefits of pretended irrationality would depend, at least in part, upon a designated enemy state’s awareness of Israel’s intention to apply counter-value targeting when responding to nuclear attack.

But Israeli decision-makers would need to be wary of releasing too-great a level of any specific strategic information. Also worrisome, of course, is that the American president could be perceived as authentically irrational,[32] thereby prodding “anticipatory preemptions”[33] against the US directly, or (depending upon particulars) certain close U.S. allies.  Israel represents a prospectively obvious case in point.[34]

None of this is meant to suggest that an Israeli movement away from deliberate nuclear ambiguity would be prospectively helpful only on matters involving specifically nuclear threats. Plausibly, of course, the credibility and cost-effectiveness of any Israeli nuclear retaliatory threat would be greatest where the expected aggression were similarly nuclear. Still, there are recognizable circumstances in which a determined enemy or coalition of enemies might contemplate launching “only” a devastating conventional first-strike against Israel, and conclude that such an offensive move would be sensible because it would not expectedly elicit an Israeli nuclear retaliation.

In such altogether conceivable circumstances,[35] the enemy state or coalition of enemy states would have concluded that any non-nuclear first strike against a nuclear Israel, however massive, would be perfectly rational. This is because the Jewish State’s anticipated retaliation would presumably stop short of being nuclear.

If, however, the expected aggressor(s) had previously been made aware that Israel was in possession of a wide-array of capable and secure nuclear retaliatory forces, both ion terms of their range and yield, these enemies would more likely be successfully deterred. Here, as a distinctly welcome consequence of various incremental and previously nuanced disclosures, Jerusalem will have signaled its pertinent adversaries that it can and will cross the nuclear retaliatory threshold in order to punish any potentially existential national harms.

In more narrowly military parlance, Israel’s actions here would be designed to better ensure “escalation dominance.” In this scenario, moreover, the relevant nuclear deterrence advantages to Israel of taking certain movements away from “deliberate nuclear ambiguity” would lie in the uniquely compelling signal that it sends. This “signal” is that Israel will not necessarily need to retaliate with massive and conspicuously disproportionate nuclear force.

It will have available certain other more readily believable retaliatory options.

Such tangible advantages could also extend beyond the enhancement of credible threats of Israeli nuclear retaliation to supporting credible threats of Israeli nuclear counter-retaliation. If, for example, Israel should initiate a non-nuclear defensive first-strike against Iran before that state becomes nuclear capable (not an “aggression,”[36]  but an act of “anticipatory self-defense” under international law[37]), the likelihood of any massive Iranian conventional retaliation could best be diminished if there were certain more openly disclosed and prior Israeli threats of aptly measured nuclear counter retaliations. In essence, and in illuminating historical terms, by following an incremental path away from “deliberate nuclear ambiguity” Israel would less likely replicate America’s much earlier nuclear posture vis-à-vis the then Soviet Union, that is a posture of threatening “massive retaliation.”[38]

 In the final analysis, there are various specific and valuable critical security benefits that would likely accrue to Israel as the result of any purposefully selective and incremental end to deliberate nuclear ambiguity. The optimal time to begin such an “end” may not yet have come. But at the moment that Iran or any other obvious foe would have verifiably crossed the nuclear threshold, that critical time will have arrived.  Moreover, should that critical moment come, Israel should already have configured (1) its optimal allocation of nuclear assets; and (2) the precise extent to which this particular configuration should now be disclosed.

 Significantly, such preparation could meaningfully enhance the credibility of Israel’s nuclear deterrence posture.

A fully-recognizablesecond-strike nuclear force should then be revealed. Of necessity, such a robust strategic force – hardened, multiplied, and dispersed – would be fashioned to inflict a decisive retaliatory blow against major enemy cities. Iran or another prospective nuclear adversary, so long as it is led by presumptively rational decision-makers, should be made to understand that the actual costs of any planned aggressions against Israel would always exceed any conceivable gains.

To more comprehensively protect itself against potentially irrational nuclear adversaries, Israel still has no logical alternative to developing an always- problematic conventional preemptionoption.[39] Operationally, especially at this very late date, there could be no reasonable assurances of any success against multiple hardened and dispersed targets. Regarding deterrence, however, it is also noteworthy that “irrational” is not nearly the same as “crazy” or “mad.”[40] An irrational enemy leadership could successfully maintain national preference orderings or hierarchies that are both consistent and transitive.

Even an irrational leadership could sometime be subject to threats of deterrence that credibly threaten certain deeply held religious as well as public values. The principal difficulty, for Israel, is to routinely ascertain the precise nature of these core enemy values. Should it sometime be determined that an Iranian leadership were genuinely “crazy” or “mad,” that is, without any decipherable or predictable ordering of preferences, all usual deterrence “bets” could necessarily give way to preemption.     

By definition, such vital determinations would be strategic, rather than jurisprudential. From the discrete standpoint of international law, and perhaps in view of Iran’s occasionally genocidal threats against Israel, a preemption option could still represent a fully permissible expression of anticipatory self-defense.[41] Again, this purely legal judgment would be separate from any parallel or coincident assessments of operational success. For now, at least, these assessments all point overwhelmingly to the avoidance of any still-residual preemption option.[42]

Whether or not a prompt or incremental shift from deliberate nuclear ambiguity to express nuclear disclosure is indicated will depend upon several very complex and interdependent factors. These factors include the specific types of nuclear weapon involved; the presumed reciprocal calculations of designated enemy leaders (state and sub-state); the expected effects on rational decision-making processes by these enemy leaders; and the expected effects on both Israeli and adversarial command/control;/communication processes. Correspondingly, if bringing Israel’s bomb out of the “basement” were ever expected to produce selected enemy pre-delegations of nuclear launch authority and/or new and seemingly less stable launch-on-warning procedures, the likelihood of certain unauthorized or accidental nuclear wars could be increased.

In many ways, growing instability in the Middle East is the plausible outcome of  US President Donald Trump’s disjointed foreign policies.[43] Such instability, in turn, could heighten the potential for assorted expansive and prospectively unconventional wars. Israel, it follows, must continue to prepare capably to upgrade its strategic posture, especially its national military nuclear strategy and its corollary longstanding policy of deliberate nuclear ambiguity.

 Otherwise, recalling the Irish poet W.B. Yeats, Israel and America could sometime have to bear witness to abundantly measureless lamentations; that is, to the irremediably grievous observation that because of once-avoidable US White House derelictions, “…. the center cannot hold.”


[1] See, for example, latest INSS Strategic Survey (Israel): https://www.inss.org.il/publication/conclusion-strategic-assessment-policy-recommendations/

[2] “Whenever the new Muses present themselves,” says Spanish existentialist philosopher Jose Ortega y’ Gasset, “the masses bristle.” See Ortega’s The Dehumanization of Art (1925) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1948), p. 7.

[3] A 2016 monograph published in Israel examines Israel-American strategic relations from the opposite direction; that is, it considers the impact of Israel’s nuclear strategy on US national security. See Louis René Beres and General (USA/ret.) Barry R. McCaffrey, Israel’s Nuclear Strategy and America’s National Security, Tel-Aviv University, Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security, December 2016:  https://sectech.tau.ac.il/sites/sectech.tau.ac.il/files/PalmBeachBook.pdf 

[4] In all such scholarly examinations of any nation-state’s security policy, operational issues must be carefully distinguished from jurisprudential ones. Accordingly, Trump US foreign policy decisions could prove harmful to certain Israeli military operations, but helpful to that country’s legal position in one setting or another, or vice-versa.

[5] Earlier, North Korea had assisted Syria in constructing a nuclear reactor, the same facility that was destroyed by Israel in it Operation Orchard on September 6, 2007. Although operationally unlike Israel’s earlier (June 7, 1981) Operation Opera, this second preemptive attack in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria was also an expression of the so-called “Begin Doctrine.”

[6] Even in the midst of an historic or “Westphalian” anarchy in international relations, there obtains a dominant jurisprudential assumption of solidarity between states. This fundamental expectation is already mentioned in Justinian, Corpus Juris Civilis (533 C.E.); Hugo Grotius, 2 De Jure Belli Ac Pacis Libri Tres, Ch. 20 (Francis W. Kesey, tr., Clarendon Press, 1925) (1690); and Emmerich De Vattel, 1 Le Droit des Gens, Ch. 19 (1758).

[7] Under international law, the idea of a Higher Law – drawn originally from the ancient Greeks and ancient Hebrews – is contained, inter alia, within the principle of jus cogens or peremptory norms. In the language of pertinent Article 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969: “A peremptory norm of general international law….is a norm accepted and recognized by the international community of States as a whole, as a norm from which no derogation is permitted, and which can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character.” Also worth pointing out here is that international law is always an integral part of US law, an incorporation that can be found both in the US Constitution (especially at Article 6, “The Supremacy Clause”) and at various US Supreme Court decisions, most famously at The Pacquete Habana (1900).

[8] Still, the US force withdrawal from Syria will plausibly exacerbate risks of a direct Israel-Russia confrontation. See, on this scenario:  https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Avoiding-an-Israeli-Russian-conflict-in-Syria-after-US-withdrawal-577015  More generally, this withdrawal will enhance Russian power and influence in the Middle East, a deleterious consequence for Israel that may or may not accurately reflect Trump’s intentions. Though it would first appear prima facie absurd that an American president would actually seek to expand rather than curtail Russian military power, such an expectation would be fully consistent with several other unexpected policy positions taken by Trump vis-à-vis Vladimir Putin.

[9] See Louis René Beres, “Nuclear Treaty Abrogation Imperils Global Security,” Yale Global Online November 1, 2018   https://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/nuclear-treaty-abrogation-imperils-global-security

[10] Risks threatening Israel’s security may form an intricately interconnected network. Purposeful assessments of such risk must always include a patient search for possible synergies and for potential cascades of failures that would represent an especially serious iteration of synergy. Other risk properties within this genre that will warrant careful assessment include contagion potential and persistence.

[11] The worst case scenario here brings to mind utterly core queries of the ancient Greek tragedian: “Where will it end? When will it all be lulled back into sleep, and cease, the bloody hatred, the destruction?” (1 The Complete Aeschylus: The Oresteia 146, Peter Burian and Alan Shapiro, eds., 2nd ed., 2011).

[12] Regarding earlier strategic assessments of prospective nuclear threats from Iran, see Louis René Beres and John T. Chain (General/USAF/ret.), “Could Israel Safely Deter a Nuclear Iran”? The Atlantic, August, 2012; and also: Professor Louis René Beres and General John T. Chain, “Israel and Iran at the Eleventh Hour,” Oxford University Press (OUP Blog), February 23, 2012. General Chain was Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Strategic Air Command (CINCSAC).

[13] In large measure, the law of armed conflict is concerned with the principle of proportionality, which has its jurisprudential and philosophic origins in the Biblical Lex Talionis, or the law of exact retaliation. Specifically, the “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” posture can be found in three separate passages of the Jewish Torah or Biblical Pentateuch.

[14] These Principles – like the Nuremberg trial judgment itself – are based fundamentally upon natural law. In turn, the very idea of natural law is based upon the acceptance of certain principles of right and justice that prevail solely because of their own intrinsic merit.  Eternal and immutable, they are external to all acts of human will and interpenetrate all human reason.  This idea and its attendant tradition of human civility runs continuously from Mosaic Law and the ancient Greeks and Romans to the present day.  For a comprehensive and far-reaching assessment of the natural law origins of international law by this writer, see Louis René Beres, “Justice and Realpolitik:  International Law and the Prevention of Genocide,” The American Journal of Jurisprudence, Vol. 33, 1988, pp. 123-159.  (This article was adapted from Professor Beres’ earlier presentation at the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide, Tel-Aviv, Israel, June 1982.)

[15] For Israel, Mr. Trump’s disjointed plan to pull US forces from Syria can only be disadvantageous. See, earlier, https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Avoiding-an-Israeli-Russian-conflict-in-Syria-after-US-withdrawal-577015

[16] Hypothesizing the emergence of “Cold War II” means expecting that the world system is becoming increasingly bipolar. For early writings, by this author, on the global security implications of just such an expanding bipolarity, see: Louis René Beres, “Bipolarity, Multipolarity, and the Reliability of Alliance Commitments,” Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 25, No.4., December 1972, pp. 702-710; Louis René Beres, “Bipolarity, Multipolarity, and the Tragedy of the Commons,” Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 26, No.4., December 1973, pp, 649-658; and Louis René Beres, “Guerillas, Terrorists, and Polarity: New Structural Models of World Politics,” Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 27, No.4., December 1974, pp. 624-636.

[17] See this writer’s latest book, Louis René Beres, Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016; 2nd ed., 2018).

[18] In regard to the core underlying issue –  Israel’s right to develop and deploy nuclear weapons – the following point is worth emphasizing: No state is under any per se legal obligation to renounce its own access to nuclear weapons; under certain markedly residual circumstances, moreover, even an actual resort to such weapons could conceivably be lawful. On July 8, 1996, the International Court of Justice handed down its Advisory Opinion on “The Legality of the threat or Use of Force of Nuclear Weapons.” The closing paragraph of this Opinion concludes, inter alia: “The threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law. However, in view of the current state of international law, and of the elements of fact at its disposal, the Court cannot conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake.”

[19] On these core points, see: Israel’s Strategic Future: Project Daniel, The Project Daniel Group (Louis René Beres, Chair), Ariel Center for Policy Research, ACPR Policy Paper No. 155, Israel, May, 2004. This special report was delivered by hand to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on January 16, 2003 by Ambassador Zalman Shoval. The Group’s six members were: Professor Louis René Beres (Chair); Naaman Belkind, former Assistant to the Israeli Deputy Minister of Defense for Special Means; Major-General /Professor Isaac Ben-Israel (IDF/ret.); Dr. Rand Fishbein; Dr. Adir Pridor, Lt. Colonel (ret.), Israel Air Force, and Head of Military Analyses, RAFAEL, Israel; and Colonel (ret.), Israel Air Force and Member of Knesset, Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto.

[20] The agreements that put an end to the first Arab-Israeli War (1947-1949) were general armistice agreements negotiated bilaterally between Israel and Egypt on February 24, 1949 (42 U.N.T.S. 251-70, 1949); Israel and Lebanon on March 23, 1949 (42 U.N.T.S. 287-98. 1949); Israel and Jordan on April 3, 1949 (42 U.N.T.S. 303-20, 1949); and between Israel and Syria on July 20, 1949 (42 U.N.T.S. 327-40, 1949). 

[21] Regarding the antecedent legal obligations of certain sub-state or insurgent surrogates, Israel must remain wary about signing pacts resembling the Oslo Agreements, inter alia, because such agreements can impose unequal obligations. In this connection, several U.S. federal court decisions affirm that legal agreements between sub-state and state parties may even impose asymmetrical compliance expectations. More precisely, in the case of Tel-Oren v. Libyan Arab Republic, a 1981 civil suit in U.S. federal court wherein the plaintiffs were Israeli survivors and representatives of persons murdered in a terrorist bus attack in Israel in 1978, Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards opined: “…I do not believe the law of nations imposes the same responsibility or liability on non-state actors, such as the PLO, as it does on states and persons acting under color of state law.”

[22] There are two recorded incidents in which an explicit reference was made to Israel’s “bomb” by a prime minister, but neither of these events went beyond a purely vague and general commentary. On December 22, 1995, then Prime Minister Shimon Peres had declared to the Israeli press that Israel would be willing “to give up the atom” in exchange for peace. Years later, on December 11, 2006, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert uttered a very similar remark.

[23] The base term, “dialectic,” originates from the Greek expression for the art of conversation. A common contemporary meaning is method of seeking truth by correct reasoning. From the standpoint of shaping Israel’s nuclear strategy, the following representative operations could be regarded as essential but nonexclusive components: (1)a method of refutation conducted by examining logical consequences; (2) a method of division or repeated logical analysis of genera into species; (3) logical reasoning using premises that are probable or generally accepted; (4) formal logic; and (5) the logical development of thought through thesis and antithesis to fruitful synthesis of these opposites.

[24] Some Israeli supporters of a Palestinian state argue that its prospective harms to Israel could be reduced or even eliminated by ensuring that new state’s immediate “demilitarization.” But for informed reasoning contra this argument, see: Louis René Beres and (Ambassador) Zalman Shoval, “Why a Demilitarized Palestinian State Would Not Remain Demilitarized: A View Under International Law,” Temple International and Comparative Law Journal, Winter 1998, pp. 347-363; and Louis René Beres and Ambassador Shoval, “On Demilitarizing a Palestinian `Entity’ and the Golan Heights: An International Law Perspective,” Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vo. 28., No.5., November 1995, pp. 959-972.

[25] For much earlier writings by this author concerning the prospective impact of a Palestinian state on Israeli nuclear deterrence and Israeli nuclear strategy, see: Louis René Beres, “Security Threats and Effective Remedies: Israel’s Strategic, Tactical and Legal Options,” Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel), ACPR Policy Paper No. 102, April 2000, 110 pp; Louis René Beres, “After the `Peace Process:’ Israel, Palestine, and Regional Nuclear War,” DICKINSON JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, Vol. 15, No. 2., Winter 1997, pp. 301-335; Louis René Beres, “Limits of Nuclear Deterrence: The Strategic Risks and Dangers to Israel of False Hope,” ARMED FORCES AND SOCIETY, Vol. 23., No. 4., Summer 1997, pp. 539-568; Louis René Beres, “Getting Beyond Nuclear Deterrence: Israel, Intelligence and False Hope,” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTELLIGENCE AND COUNTERINTELLIGENCE, Vol. 10., No. 1., Spring 1997, pp. 75-90; Louis René Beres, “On Living in a Bad Neighborhood: The Informed Argument for Israeli Nuclear Weapons,” POLITICAL CROSSROADS, Vol. 5., Nos. 1/2, 1997, pp. 143-157; Louis René Beres, “Facing the Apocalypse: Israel and the `Peace Process,'” BTZEDEK: THE JOURNAL OF RESPONSIBLE JEWISH COMMENTARY (Israel), Vol. 1., No. 3., Fall/Winter 1997, pp. 32-35; Louis René Beres and (Ambassador) Zalman Shoval, “Why Golan Demilitarization Would Not Work,” STRATEGIC REVIEW, Vol. XXIV, No. 1., Winter 1996, pp. 75-76; Louis René Beres, “Implications of a Palestinian State for Israeli Security and Nuclear War: A Jurisprudential Assessment,” DICKINSON JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, Vol. 17., No. 2., 1999, pp. 229-286; Louis René Beres, “A Palestinian State and Israel’s Nuclear Strategy,” CROSSROADS: AN INTERNATIONAL SOCIO-POLITICAL JOURNAL, No. 31, 1991, pp. 97-104; Louis René Beres, “The Question of Palestine and Israel’s Nuclear Strategy,” THE POLITICAL QUARTERLY, Vol. 62, No. 4., October-December 1991, pp. 451-460; Louis René Beres, “Israel, Palestine and Regional Nuclear War,” BULLETIN OF PEACE PROPOSALS, Vol. 22., No. 2., June 1991, pp. 227-234; Louis René Beres, “A Palestinian State: Implications for Israel’s Security and the Possibility of Nuclear War,” BULLETIN OF THE JERUSALEM INSTITUTE FOR WESTERN DEFENCE  (Israel), Vol. 4., Bulletin No, 3., October 1991, pp. 3-10; Louis René Beres, ISRAELI SECURITY AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS, PSIS Occasional Papers, No. 1/1990, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, 40 pp; and Louis René Beres, “After the Gulf War: Israel, Palestine and the Risk of Nuclear War in the Middle East,” STRATEGIC REVIEW, Vol. XIX, No. 4., Fall 1991, pp. 48-55

[26] Even before the nuclear age, ancient Chinese strategist Sun-Tzu had recognized the importance of strategic depth. Although he did not use such a precisely modern term, Sun-Tzu did note expressly as follows: “If there is no place to go, it is fatal terrain.” See Sun-Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter 11, “Nine Terrains.”

[27] Pakistan has been tilting more recognizably toward small or tactical nuclear weapons, indicating a growing preference for “counterforce” or nuclear war fighting strategies of deterrence.  Since Pakistan announced its first test of the 60-kilometer Nasr ballistic missile back in 2011, that country’s emphasis upon smaller nuclear ordnance has been very conspicuously oriented toward the primary deterrence of conventional war.

[28] This also brings to mind the essential “seamlessness” of Israel’s nuclear deterrent. In this connection, see the recent joint article by Professor Beres and former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Zalman Shoval:  https://mwi.usma.edu/creating-seamless-strategic-deterrent-israel-case-study/

[29] “Everything is very simple in war,” says Clausewitz, in his classic discussion of “friction” in On War, “but the simplest thing is difficult.”

[30] See recent article by this author at Modern War Institute, West Point:  Louis Rene Beres, https://mwi.usma.edu/israel-samson-option-interconnected-world/

[31] Comments Emmerich de Vattel in his legal classic, The Law of Nations (1758): “The first general law, which is to be found in the very end of the society of nations, is that each nation should contribute as far as it can to the happiness and advancement of the other nations.”

[32] The Israeli nuclear strategist could benefit here from Basque philosopher Miguel de Unamuno’s instructive remark about the German philosopher Hegel: “Hegel made famous his aphorism that all the rational is real, and all the real is rational; but there are many of us who, unconvinced by Hegel, continue to believe that the real, the really real, is irrational – that reason builds upon irrationalities.”

[33] The term “preemption” has strategic but not legal meaning. Usually, it references a defensive military strategy that involves striking a presumed enemy first, with the more-or-less carefully calculated expectation that the only determinable alternative is to be struck first itself. A preemptive attack differs from a preventive attack in that the latter is launched merely out of an ongoing concern (whether correct or incorrect) to halt any longer term deterioration in a particular military balance, and not in response to any precise fear of imminent hostilities. As a preventive strike can never be per se permissible under international law, the distinction between preemptive and preventive war is always jurisprudentially important.

[34] Preemption has figured importantly in previous Israeli strategic calculations.  This was most glaringly apparent in the wars of 1956 and 1967, and also in the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.  Significantly, it was essentially the failure to preempt in October 1973 that contributed to heavy Israeli losses on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts during the Yom Kippur war, and almost brought about an Israeli defeat.  During January, May, and October 2013, Israel, understandably apprehensive about Damascus’ supply of military materials to Syria’s Hezbollah surrogates in Lebanon, preemptively struck pertinent hard targets within Syria itself. For a jurisprudential assessment of these undeclared but still-appropriate expressions of anticipatory self-defense, by this author, see: Louis René Beres, “Striking Hezbollah-Bound Weapons in Syria: Israel’s Actions Under International Law,” Harvard National Security Journal, Harvard Law School, Online, posted August 26, 2013.

[35] Even in such potentially fearsome circumstances, authoritative law stipulates that Israel must first seek to exhaust all peaceful remedies. A similar jurisprudential imperative can be found in Jewish religious law.  “When thou comest near to a city to fight against it,” proclaims Deuteronomy 20:10, “then proclaim peace to it.”  Maimonides also calls for diplomatic solutions before hostilities begin to milhemet mitzvah (a war commanded by the Torah or Pentateuch): “No war is declared against any nation before peace offers are made to it.”  The biblical commentator Abrabanel (1437-1508) argues not to hurry to go to war.  For more complete examinations of war in the Jewish tradition, consult Efraim Inbar, “War in Jewish Tradition,” The Jerusalem Journal of International Relations, Vol. 9, No. 2, June 1987, pp. 83-99.

[36] On the crime of “aggression,” see especially: RESOLUTION ON THE DEFINITION OF AGGRESSION, Dec. 14, 1974, U.N.G.A. Res. 3314 (XXIX), 29 U.N. GAOR, Supp. (No. 31) 142, U.N. Doc. A/9631, 1975, reprinted in 13 I.L.M. 710, 1974; and CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS, Art. 51. Done at San Francisco, June 26, 1945. Entered into force for the United States, Oct. 24, 1945, 59 Stat. 1031, T.S. No. 993, Bevans 1153, 1976, Y.B.U.N. 1043.

[37] For a potentially contra view, see: See Ian Brownlie, International Law and the Use of Force by States, 272-73 (1963) (asserting that the United Nations Charter modified the international custom of anticipatory self-defense and that self-defense is justified only in response to an actual armed attack); Wright, The Cuban Quarantine, 57 AM J. INT’L L. 546, 559-63 (1963) (interpreting Article 51 in conjunction with Article 33 to allow only a “peaceful means” of dispute resolution and a prohibition on the use of unilateral force until an actual armed conflict occurred); L. HENKIN, HOW NATIONS BEHAVE 141-44 (2d ed. 1979) (arguing that the Charter restricts the traditional right of self-defense to those situations where an armed attack has occurred); L. GOODRICH, E. HAMBRO,  A. SIMONS, CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS:  COMMENTARY AND DOCUMENTS 178 (1946) (advocating a restrictive interpretation of Article 51 under which self-defense is only justified in response to an actual armed attack).

[38] Regarding “massive retaliation,” it was followed, in the United States, by the doctrine of “flexible response,” and ultimately evolved into doctrine known as a “countervailing nuclear strategy.”  Codified in Presidential Directive # 59, which was signed on July 25 1980, and later reaffirmed by President Ronald Reagan, this strategy represented the then latest retreat from the core doctrine authoritatively defined by John Foster Dulles on January 13, 1954.  To demonstrate continuing flexibility, the countervailing strategy envisioned a broad array of nuclear retaliatory choices operating within a carefully defined spectrum of deterrence.  See, in this connection, by this author: Louis René Beres, “Presidential Directive 59: A Critical Assessment,” Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College, Vol. XI, No. 1., March 1981, pp. 19-28.

[39] The core point here had already been understood by Israeli strategist and IDF Military Intelligence Head, Yehoshafat Harkabi, back in the mid-1960s. Writing in Nuclear War and Nuclear Peace, Harkabi indicated: “It must be emphasized that the impulse to act first, the competition to preempt, is not a result of aggressive tendencies or bloodlust on either side. It is a defensive action inherent in the very instability of an unfortunate situation, in which survival depends upon opening fire first, or, in other words, upon initiating a surprise attack.” (See Y. Harkabi, Nuclear War and Nuclear Peace, translated from the Hebrew, Israel Program for Scientific Translations, 1966, p. 42).

[40] On madness, see Seneca, 1st Century AD/CE: “We are mad, not only individuals, but nations also. We restrain manslaughter and isolated murders, but what of war, and the so-called glory of killing whole peoples? Man, the gentlest of animals, is not ashamed to glory in blood-shedding, and to wage war when even the beasts are living in peace together.” (Letters, 95).

[41] For the very earliest scholarly commentary by this author on anticipatory self defense under international law, with special reference to Israel, see:  Louis René Beres and (COL./IDF/Res.) Yoash Tsiddon Chatto, “Reconsidering Israel’s Destruction of Iraq’s Osiraq Nuclear Reactor,” TEMPLE INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW JOURNAL, Vol. 9., No. 2., 1995, pp. 437 – 449; Louis René Beres, “Preserving the Third Temple: Israel’s Right of Anticipatory Self-Defense Under International Law,”  VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW, Vol. 26, No. 1.,  April 1993, pp. 111- 148;  Louis René Beres,  “After the Gulf War: Israel, Preemption and Anticipatory Self-Defense,”  HOUSTON JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW,  Vol. 13, No. 2.,  Spring 1991,  pp. 259 – 280;  Louis René Beres,  “Striking `First:’  Israel’s Post Gulf War Options Under International Law,”  LOYOLA OF LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW JOURNAL,  Vol. 14,  Nov. 1991,  No. 1.,  pp. 1 – 24;  Louis René Beres,  “Israel and Anticipatory Self-Defense,”  ARIZONA JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW,  Vol. 8, 1991,  pp. 89 – 99;  and Louis René Beres,  “After the SCUD Attacks:  Israel, `Palestine,’ and Anticipatory Self-Defense,”  EMORY INTERNATIONAL LAW REVIEW,  Vol. 6,  No. 1.,  Spring 1992,  pp. 71 – 104.  For an examination of assassination as a permissible form of anticipatory self-defense by Israel, see, Louis René Beres, “On Assassination as Anticipatory Self-Defense: The Case of Israel,” HOFSTRA LAW REVIEW, Vol. 20, No. 2., Winter 1991, pp.  321 – 340.  For more general assessments of assassination as anticipatory self-defense under international law by this author, see:  Louis René Beres, “The Permissibility of State-Sponsored Assassination During Peace and War,” TEMPLE INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW JOURNAL, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1991, pp. 231 – 249;  and  Louis René Beres,  “Victims and Executioners:  Atrocity, Assassination and International Law,”  CAMBRIDGE REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS,  Winter/Spring, 1993.

[42] A related question concerns legality in any ongoing war begun by another state. Here we may recall the opinion of Grotius in his COMMENTARY ON THE LAW OF PRIZE AND BOOTY:  “…it is obvious that a just war can be waged in return, without recourse to judicial procedure, against an opponent who has begun an unjust war; nor will any declaration of that just war be required….  For as Aelian says, citing Plato as his authority–any war undertaken for the necessary repulsion of injury, is proclaimed not by a crier nor by a herald, but by the voice of Nature herself.”  See H. Grotius, DE IURE PRAEDAE COMMENTARIUS, ed., by James Brown Scott, a translation of the original manuscript of 1604 by Gladys L. Williams, with the collaboration of Walter H. Zeydel, New York: Oceana Publications, Inc., 1964, p. 96.

[43] In this regard, one ought to bear in mind the still-relevant warning of Sigmund Freud: “Fools, visionaries, sufferers from delusions, neurotics and lunatics have played great roles at all times in the history of mankind, and not merely when the accident of birth had bequeathed them sovereignty. Usually, they have wreaked havoc.”

LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is Emeritus Professor of International Law at Purdue. His twelfth and most recent book is Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel's Nuclear Strategy (2016) (2nd ed., 2018) https://paw.princeton.edu/new-books/surviving-amid-chaos-israel%E2%80%99s-nuclear-strategy Some of his principal strategic writings have appeared in Harvard National Security Journal (Harvard Law School); International Security (Harvard University); Yale Global Online (Yale University); Oxford University Press (Oxford University); Oxford Yearbook of International Law (Oxford University Press); Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College (Pentagon); Special Warfare (Pentagon); Modern War Institute (Pentagon); The War Room (Pentagon); World Politics (Princeton); INSS (The Institute for National Security Studies)(Tel Aviv); Israel Defense (Tel Aviv); BESA Perspectives (Israel); International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence; The Atlantic; The New York Times and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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Middle East

Egypt-China relations after the “U.S. and Israel Policies” in the Middle East

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During the past years, several statements about “the new American world order” and “unipolarism” and “the new American century” have emerged over the past years, and other expressions that emphasized the United States’ uniqueness in “world leadership”, as it is the only unchallenged superpower. The American academic promotion and theorizing of absolute American leadership, and on the other hand, several writings have appeared – among them by prominent Chinese analysts and strategists – that go to “question the American unipolar system” and talk about a “multi-polar world”, and try to refute the allegations of the dominant American power, and question It could maintain its position in light of the rise of China, and the announcement by Chinese President “Xi Jinping” of its Belt and Road initiative in 2013([1]).

   As a researcher specializing in Chinese political affairs – and to understand the Chinese strategic analytical mindset, approaching it methodically towards its vision of the United States’ policy around the world – and through my reading and reviewing and analyzing a number of (documents of the ruling Chinese Communist Party) and analyzing them, Beijing has always “classified the United States, as a true enemy of China”, and here (there are a Chinese document) dating back to 1992 says: “The United States of America, since its transformation into a single superpower – has been working hard to achieve new hegemony and prevail over power politics – all this in light of its entry into the stage of relative decline and the emergence of the limits of its capabilities”. In 1995, the Chinese President “Jiang Zemin” declared that: “the hostile forces of the West did not give up a minute from their plans to Westernize and divide our country”. While his foreign minister said, prior to the annual meeting of the “ASEAN Group”, that: “The United States Abandoning its view of itself as the savior of the East, as we do not recognize the intransigence of the United States and its constant claim of its right to play the role of guaranteeing peace and stability in Asia under the pretext of defending its allies” ([2]).

   Here, the Chinese Academy “Zi Zhongwan” – the former director of the American Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences – expressed Chinese doubts and concerns about the US strategy for world domination. In the course of her evaluation of US – Chinese relations, she described them as “fragile relations”, and “Zonghuan” said that “the main factor here is the American position on the transformation of China into a modern, relatively strong country”, and although the official statements remain as they are, the question is What still arises is: To what degree does the American awareness allow China to be strong, with the assertion of the prominent Chinese diplomat in the Foreign Ministry “Dai Bingo” in an official speech on December 6, 2011, that: “We must adhere to the path of peaceful development”.

   According to the Chinese analysis, they believe that “The United States believes that China is developing by leaps and bounds and is becoming more difficult to control”. In other words, “the acceleration of Chinese modernization does not always appear to be in line with those American interests”. Accordingly, Chinese leaders have begun to repeatedly talk in their international political speeches about “China’s active presence in the international arena”, with particular emphasis on “China’s rise” is a “peaceful rise” ([3]).

   On the Egyptian side, and the effects of this (the ongoing political, security, economic and regional competition between China and the United States of America on Egypt), we will find here that Egypt’s relations with the major international powers, chiefly the two competing powers (China and the United States of America) occupy a special importance on the (Egyptian foreign policy agenda), especially with the directions of the Egyptian political leadership to President (Abdel Fattah El-Sisi) to support and strengthen (Egypt’s relations with the major powers without having relations with any of them directed against the other), and that was the most important statement that the Egyptian Foreign Minister (Sameh Shoukry) summed up the foreign agenda to Egypt during his meeting with members of the (new Egyptian Parliament) on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 ([4]).

   Egypt is considered the representative of Arab, African, Islamic, developing and emerging economies, and its influence in international and regional affairs is increasing, and, on the other hand, the (Chinese development model) is widely welcomed in Egypt.

  Hence, China’s keenness to provide permanent support to the Egyptian government’s efforts to maintain stability, develop the economy and improve the people’s livelihood. China also supported the most important thing (the path of development in Egypt in line with its national conditions), in addition to China’s support for Egypt’s growing and large role in international and regional affairs, to discuss Egypt’s relations with the great powers, especially (China and Washington), and to understand the extent of their (positively ornegatively) influence on the Egyptian role in the region, and Egypt’s regional and international relations. Therefore, the Egyptian researcher tried to present and analyze the following points to understand the course of transformations and Egypt’s relations with China and the United States and the importance of each of them for Egypt and the region in (creating balance and areas of influence and defending interests), as follows:

Egyptian President El-Sisi outreach to China and its impact on his relationship with both the USA and Israel 

China tends to play an active and increasing role in Egypt and the Arab region in order to secure its energy security, and this does not mean that Chinese and American policies will clash, but the difference appears that China supports the features of Egyptian internal reform led by “El-Sisi” and supports Egypt’s policies after (the success of the June 30 revolution in Egypt), China also strongly opposed any external attempts to impose conditions for transformation on Egypt after (the June 30 Revolution), as China was one of the most important international powers in the world that supported President (El-Sisi), and defended the right of the Egyptian people to solve their problems by themselves, without Interference in his internal affairs, and here (China’s stance towards Egypt is closely related to its sense of national sovereignty and its successful experience in economic reform). We find that the Egyptian-Chinese cooperation achieves a strategic interest for both parties, as Egypt achieves strategic benefits from its economic, political and cultural ties with China, with the importance of Chinese investments in Cairo and the diversity of relations and partnerships, and the importance of the (Suez Canal) as a global navigation corridor that serves Beijing’s strategic interests, as a starting point to China from Egypt around the world ([5]).

      Egyptian-Chinese relations are closer and deeper, which maximizes the gains of the Egyptian state in its relations with other international powers, especially (the United States of America and its ally Israel) in the region. It also diversifies relations in front of the Egyptian side, and on the other hand, the rapprochement between China and Egypt leads to strengthening China’s relations with Arab countries, which leads to strengthening and strengthening its political, economic and cultural ties within the framework of a Chinese strategy to strengthen relations with the so-called countries of (the enlarged neighborhood), Which includes: the countries of Central Asia and the countries of the Middle East, in light of (real indicators of the new international order towards pluralism), and with the presence of many international transformations, especially after the global spread of the Corona pandemic and the spread of the (Covid-19) virus around the world, and the world’s realization that China is the only force capable of extricating the world from its crises. Through the multilateralism that China has advocated, the Chinese President (Xi Jinping) shows us how important China is to Egypt and the Arab countries, represented in (ending the American hegemony) over Egypt and the region, and achieving a political, economic and military balance in the face of American and Western interference policies in the internal affairs of Egypt and all Arab countries, which we have suffered from for many decades.

   Here we find that the “Belt and Road” initiative helped stabilize the financial system in Egypt after (the success of the June 30 Revolution in Egypt), which helped save the deterioration of the Egyptian citizen’s income. The financial system in Egypt was suffering from severe turmoil between the years (2013-2014). This was during the stage in which China launched the “Belt and Road” initiative. The financial system in Egypt was (a dual currency rate system before November 2016), where there is a big difference between the official rates of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar and market prices, and the difference doubled in 2016, for example, the official price of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar It was up to (1.78 pounds), while its price in the market was (18 pounds), so the difference between them was really very large. However, Egypt started adopting a free trade policy after November 2016, which made the entire financial system become more stable ([6]).

  Given the importance of the Egyptian side to the Chinese, we find that (the extensive coverage by the Chinese press of what the Egyptian press publishes), and as (the Chinese Xinhua News Agency in its Arabic edition), it has, for example, a fixed paragraph that covers the events published by the Egyptian newspapers in an intensive and in-depth way, due to the importance of the events of Egypt for China. The (Chinese Communist Party) has also established strong relations with its Egyptian counterpart and with more than (30 Arab Communist, Leftist and Socialist Parties).

   It is clear that China aspires to play (global roles), and the futility of escalating the confrontation with regional and global powers, and thus the presence of (unlimited Chinese political support in the Security Council and international forums for Egypt and all Arab countries with what distinguishes Chinese policy from refraining from imposing dictates related to In the internal affairs of countries), just as China, in its endeavor to settle the “Taiwan problem” on the basis of (one country, two systems), needs the recognition of 22 Arab countries, which is more than (10% of the members of the international community) that (Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory). The Arab countries represent a political back for China on the international arena, and China, in its endeavor to gain more international standing, needs Arab recognition of its role in the issues of concern to Egypt and all Arab countries.

   On the other hand, although the Chinese “Belt and Road” initiative does not officially include Israel in its maps, the geographical location of Israel, the important Chinese economic participation in it, and the emerging peace agreements in the Middle East, put Israel in a major strategic point in the Chinese initiative, and of course when so from (influence on the Palestinian cause), Egypt and the Arab countries.

  In order for China to succeed in its new policy in Egypt and the Middle East, as (China abandoned its old strategy based on ideological considerations), and adopted a completely different new policy in defining its allies based on the principle of utilitarianism (pragmatism), and a strategy (openness and exit regionally and globally), at the level on the regional level, China has adopted a policy of (good neighborliness), in order to achieve two goals:

The first goal: smashing the sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies, and to thwart the attempt to contain and isolate China.

The second goal: preparing the regional environment to be an environment conducive to achieving development at this stage of the (Chinese rise), which is called (building the four moderns), which means progress in industry, agriculture, technology and national defense, which is what it was called, according to the speech Chinese President “Xi Jinping”, known as: (the politics of socialist modernization)([7]).

On the US side, all indications indicate that (the new Biden administration) is heading to adopt (hard-line policies towards China). During his confirmation session in the US Senate, the new Secretary of Defense in the (Joe Biden administration) era, General (Lloyd Austin), described China as a “growing danger, and that confronting it would be one of the most prominent directions of the Pentagon’s activities” in the Biden era.

  As for National Security Adviser (Jake Sullivan), he indicated – in an interview with the Peace Institute in Washington on January 29, 2021 – that “the Chinese believe that their model is more successful than the American model, and this is what they are promoting around the world ([8]).

Here, the final analysis of the Egyptian researcher indicates that, both (Egypt and Israel will inevitably be affected by the continuing confrontation between Washington and Beijing), especially since the two great powers, the American and Chinese, are in the process of “a new cold war, but it is not like the Soviet-American cold war, because the economies of the two countries are highly complex interconnected with All countries of the world, which will negatively affect Egypt, Israel and all countries of the Middle East. We do not deal with China now as a closed country like the Soviet Union that can be contained by closing the door on it”. It also doubles the risk of the two powers colliding on the world, their huge economic interdependence and the influence of the rest of the world by it.

   Hence, (the continued desire of Egypt, Israel and all countries in the region to deal economically with China and with Washington in many other files, especially in various political aspects), this will negatively affect everyone, especially in light of the United States’ desire to preserve its position as the largest military power. And economic issues in the world, which leads some to pressure (adopting zero-sum equations in its relationship with China, which is struggling economically and militarily in the Middle East).

   Perhaps this explains the reasons for the visit of the former US Secretary of State during the Trump’s administration, “Mike Pompeo”, in his first foreign visit after the outbreak of the new Corona virus crisis to Israel on May 13, 2020, when “Pompeo” came to express the US’s concern about the Chinese – Israeli rapprochement – “which exposes the Israelis interests to danger”, as he put it. And most importantly, “Mike Pompeo” not only expressed his concern to the Israeli government, but also deliberately (made his speech in Israel a launching pad for addressing the countries of the region that intend any rapprochement with China ([9]). As a result of this speech, the government of Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) withdrew, on May 26, 2020, the tender for establishing a water desalination project in Israel from the Chinese company “Hutcheson”.

   The White House also addressed the Israeli government headed by (Benjamin Netanyahu) and alerted it to the necessity (to restrict the volume of Chinese investments in Israel, as it is a sign of danger threatening its strategic alliance with Israel).

   According to the final evaluation of the Egyptian researcher, it is noted that (not all government corridors in Israel stand on one position in front of the file of direct Chinese investments between the two parties), for( two reasons), as follows:

The first reason: It is not convinced with the considerations presented by the United States to defend its position, which prompted some Israeli institutions to call the US position “phobia and fear of China”.

The second reason: China is offering huge investment packages (without Israel offering any corresponding political concessions), such as: settling the Palestinian issue in contrast to the European position, or the progressive democratic position in the United States.

Based on this analysis, it can be concluded that (Washington will continue its pressure on all countries in the region, especially its ally Israel to sever its relationship with China). However, Israel, Egypt and all countries in the region are determined to benefit commercially from the Chinese side, and also to deal with Washington, and try to Both (Egypt, Israel and all countries avoid confrontation or support with or against any of them, whether American or Chinese, while continuing to deal with them economically and politically, according to the interests of each country separately, to reflect this on the national security of countries).

The impact of prioritizing “no pressures and orientation policy to the East” relationships on the future of the Egyptian and American collaboration 

  China began searching for (a new strategic concept of engagement in the Middle East), shortly after the (Obama administration) announced the (transformation from the Middle East region and its gradual withdrawal from it towards the continent of Asia) in 2011([10]).

  In 2012, “Wang Jisi”, the most prominent Chinese foreign policy commentator, proposed a concept he called “Westernization”, writing that: “as Washington rebalances Asia, the relationship between America and China has become increasingly controversial and based on a zero-sum conclusion” ([11]).

  Chinese diplomat “Wang Jisi” adding that: “This brings us to talk about” the new Chinese vision of the world: from geo-economics to geopolitics”.

   By studying the bilateral interaction between “two strategic forces” that are effective for Egypt and the region, with a hypothetical consideration of the Arab world and Egypt at the heart of it, and it is considered (a variable dependent on the influence of two independent variables, namely “Chinese rise” and “American unilateralism”). Hence, it can be considered (the Egyptian shift eastward towards China and Russia to ease American and Western pressure on it) depends on several Chinese factors in the first place, namely:

1.The extent to which China’s economic power will increase and its role, presence and influence will increase in the coming period in the Middle East.

2.The most important thing that drives Beijing’s policies towards Egypt and the region is “achieving the goal and the mutual benefit of all parties, and not imposing their policies or agendas with threats and imposing sanctions on countries such as Washington”, so China generally focuses on areas of mutual cooperation in the economy, culture, security and technology([12]).

3.The most important thing for the Egyptian researcher in the future is (the extent to which Beijing is able to develop itself to defend its allies and partners such as Egypt and others, in the event that any Chinese ally is exposed to any unsecured confrontation with Washington, and is China really ready to defend Egypt and its allies?)([13]).

4.Here we find that this growth in Sino-Egyptian and Arab relations, and what appears to be (adopting the policy of heading east), behind it is a high Egyptian realization that (the world will not continue on the unipolar system, and that the world system is in its current state – especially in a post-world world). The Corona pandemic and the United States’ retreat in its internal affairs – has begun to move strongly towards “multipolarity”, of which China is one of its most prominent components. Therefore, the freedom of Egyptian foreign policy is in “diversifying alternatives”, and this growing trend is also reinforced by many intransigent American positions towards Issues of the region and the world, and among the most prominent of these American positions:

1.The trade war that the US administration set up for former President (Trump) against China and the European Union, and the extent of (its international influences on Egypt and the Middle East, and issues of international trade freedom).

2.The withdrawal of the American administration and its disavowal of its commitments on matters that have been internationally agreed upon, such as those related to (climate change, and its lack of respect for international legitimacy decisions and the international law system).

3.Washington and “Trump’s administration” declared alone that (Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the announcement of the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem), which angered and angered Egypt and all Arabs, and Middle Eastern countries against American policies that contravene United Nations and international community decisions, as well as (the American Presidency’s issuance of decisions that have affected other Arab countries like Syria that is not subject to its sovereignty), And the last of which was that internationally unacceptable decision, contrary to international legitimacy and laws, which was issued by the United States of America (granting the Golan to Israel, as if the Golan is a piece of American territory)([14]).                                                                   

  In my personal opinion – as an expert in Chinese political affairs – this is the focal point on which any future analysis depends on (the Egyptian orientation towards the east towards China or Russia), and this is what entails the necessity of (studying, monitoring and analyzing shifts in the Chinese political role in Egypt and the Arab region. It has now become a focal area in China’s new foreign policy, especially with the Chinese decision-maker realizing that the American presence and increase in influence and penetration in Egypt and the Arab world may be directed against its interests and that it embodies some of the American efforts to contain China by Egypt and the Arabs).

The Implications of the accelerating and doubling of the economic growth between Egypt and China on the relationships with the USA 

  Many “Chinese foreign policy thinkers” were very concerned about the risks that would be counterproductive to an ambitious Chinese project such as the Belt and Road Initiative in the Middle East. (The Chinese strategists) understood the logic of (harnessing the country’s economic power for political benefit), but they were afraid of being entangled in a web of national and sectarian rivalries in the region. Especially, with the majority of Chinese political analyzes indicating that avoiding such an outcome is no easy task. The Middle East has been a dilemma for many of the world’s major powers, including the United States of America and Britain.

   Hence, the Egyptian researcher understood – as a specialist in Chinese political affairs – that China’s goal is (to achieve influence without getting involved in the Middle East, through the Belt and Road Initiative, which succeeded brilliantly in achieving China’s agenda). Although there are – several countries in the Middle East, including problems with regional neighboring countries, such as: (Iran and Israel) – included in the list of countries supporting the Belt and Road Initiative, nevertheless, all of these countries have committed in one way or another to partnering with China, and this alone should be (a warning bell and a big fear for Washington). All of these countries do not agree on almost anything, but they all support closer relations with China.

  However, despite the remarkable achievements that have been achieved through the (Chinese Belt and Road Initiative) in the Middle East and Egypt over the past five years, the Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative” still faces many doubts from Washington about (Chinese influence in the region).

   The United States began promoting and intimidating slogans of “Chinese imperialism”, claiming that “China is using sovereign debt to obey other countries that received Chinese financial aid to their will and pass their policy”. However, Washington’s allegations regarding the alleged“Chinese imperialism”lack scrutiny and further empirical evidence for them ([15]).

   Hence, (the acceleration of economic growth in the relations of Egypt and the countries of the region with China will inevitably affect relations with Washington in the future), as all the existing indicators and data confirms and anticipated expectations that Egyptian and Arab cooperation with China is a matter of great importance and is on the way to a stage leading to rise and expansion, This was called by all Chinese officials in the various official occasions. Officials in China always assert that (if East Asia, in which China is located, unites with North Africa in which Egypt and the Arab countries are located, this will affect the course of international events, and it will contribute. In reaching multipolarity, which is something that the United States does not want in order not to affect its control over the Arab region in particular and the whole world in general)?

Egyptian courtship to China as a great power and its implications on the American and Israeli interests in the Middle East 

  There was a great fear in China that the great openness to Egypt and the Middle East would provoke (antagonizing the other great powers, especially Washington). This was confirmed by the Chinese researcher (Zhi Zhang), who wrote in the “Global Times” in 2013, that “the Chinese strategy of immersion in the Middle East will inevitably harm the Chinese relations with Russia and America and lead China to invest in “dangerous fields”, hence, “China shouldn’t take a big step in opening up to the Middle East”, according to the analysis of the Chinese researcher (Zhang)([16]).

  Egypt and all Gulf countries, including (Saudi Arabia and the UAE), also used “Huawei to build fifth-generation networks and communications infrastructure”, and all of them defied US pressure. (The UAE was the first foreign country to grant emergency approval for the (Covid-19) vaccine from (the Chinese company Sinopharm), and the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh (Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum) tweeted, taking a picture of himself apparently receiving an injection of that Chinese vaccine and not the other vaccines that Promoted by Washington and Britain.

   This confirms the importance of the Chinese side to Egypt, without its funding and experience, it will become difficult to implement a number of prominent Egyptian projects such as (the new administrative capital, the new industrial zone of the Suez Canal, and the great activity of the Chinese giant “TEDA” in attracting hundreds of Chinese companies, and implementing Many Chinese projects in the Suez Canal area) on the ground. In return, China wishes to take advantage of Egypt’s position in the Arab world and Africa in order to facilitate bilateral and collective cooperation in both regions, including within the framework of projects supporting the “Belt and Road Initiative”. All this worries the United States, especially with (the American warning about the possibility of China using its accessibility to the Egyptian and Arab ports and the Suez Canal as a vital global shipping corridor, in order to improve its position in the Middle East and perhaps collect intelligence information about American interests, similar to Washington’s concerns about the activity of China in the Haifa port in Israel, and the extent of its impact on the American and Israeli national security), given that Israel is Washington’s first ally in the region([17]).

   Hence, the rapprochement of Egypt and the Arabs as a whole and their flirtation with the Chinese pole, will have its future effects, especially with the candidacy of China to be a great power with a prominent global role in light of the current international reality, just as all Arabs need to strengthen their negotiating position and their national entity in the face of the United States and the West. And Arab issues, on top of which (the Arab-Israeli conflict), Palestinian rights, and a number of thorny and unresolved issues between Palestinians and Israelis, such as: (building settlements and the return of Palestinian refugees), and others. Therefore, we find that the interests of the Chinese, Egyptian and Arab parties are necessary to preserve the rights of all parties in the face of American and Western hegemony, and the similar Egyptian-Arab-Chinese conditions, exposing them almost all to the same pressures and challenges.

Diversifying Egypt’s foreign policy and military options from China and the stance of the USA and Israel towards it 

   The current situation in the Middle East works mainly in favor of China and its economic priorities, as (Beijing is trying to gain influence in the Middle East region, while trying to distance as much as possible and avoid complex national rivalries and sectarian conflicts in the region). The United States of America spends huge sums of money to fight extremist groups and protect freedom of navigation in the Gulf countries and the maritime straits in the region, and here China directly benefits from the stability of oil prices. What China wants now is (maintaining this arrangement while gradually gaining the ability through its “Belt and Road Initiative” to pressure countries to side with it).

   In a new development, the (Israeli National Security Studies Institute of Tel Aviv University) considered that the relations between Israel and the United States, after the entry of a new American administration led by (Joe Biden), are (under test), and this comes against the background of tensions with the new American administration relations with Israel, on specific foreign issues, and the significant erosion of Israel’s position as a consensus center between the two major parties in the United States, and “as the only democratic country in the Middle East”, as it has always promoted itself in the region([18]).

   With regard to the Egyptian-Chinese military cooperation and the extent of its impact on Washington and its ally (Israel), it is noted that this remarkable growth in economic relations between Egypt and China through China’s development projects in Egypt as part of its (Belt and Road initiative) has encouraged the leaderships in both countries towards more areas. A strategy, where it was discussed (the possibility of Cairo obtaining Chinese devices that were scheduled to operate within an American warning and jamming system, or China’s assistance to Egypt in providing it with advanced technology for Internet surveillance, especially monitoring extremist and terrorist elements on the Internet, and Egypt opened lines of communication several times with Beijing to establish a peaceful nuclear reactor in Alexandria, or to obtain Chinese arms, missiles and tanks deals), and other Chinese military equipment([19]).

  Egypt is considered (the most major military power in the Middle East and at the same time among the most important markets for Chinese weapons). According to the “China Power” project launched by the (Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington), all African countries, including Egypt (the first destination for Chinese weapons) in Africa, represent (42%) of the total Chinese military exports ([20]).

– In the context of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, as the American researcher emphasized in her well-known book, entitled: “The Chinese Eurasian Century?: The Political and Strategic Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative”, which is written by the American academic (Nadij Rowland), as an expert in security and political affairs at the “National Bureau for Asian Research” – she is actually visited Egypt in 2019, as she mentioned in her book – and the American researcher (Roland) and other colleague of hers involved in the research conducted an interview that had already taken place in Cairo with a Chinese diplomat, at the Beijing embassy in Egypt, in January 2019 – it is important to remember and understand (According to the analysis of the researcher, “Nadig Roland”), that:

  Promoting (regional development in Egypt, Africa, and the developing Arab countries, is not considered a way to encourage political openness, rather it is on the contrary, it is a means to strengthen the existing authoritarian regimes, arm them militarily and install them around China)… Hence, the Chinese intercontinental infrastructure will be helped through the (Belt and Road initiative) to prevent potential disruptions to the maritime supply in the event of conflict. Consolidating China’s strategic space will help counter the alleged U.S.-led efforts to contain the country’s emergence. Going beyond these tangible goals, the Belt and Road Initiative also seeks to (meet the broader regional ambition, to establish a European-Asian system centered on China), and with it – China’s military relations with various countries and regions of the world, such as the Middle East and Egypt, are imperative to protect China’s interests and defense. About it – and achieving security and political stability for the existing Chinese projects within the framework of its Belt and Road Initiative ([21]).

   China’s cooperation on the security and defense levels is expanding in the Arab world and Egypt, especially with the increase in its economic presence in those countries. (Chinese marine projects, especially projects for the production of Chinese submarine cables in the Arab world and the Middle East, constitute a key element in China’s focus on communication and information communication with the various countries of the region). For example, (the Chinese marine network company, Huawei, delivered the “Hannibal” cable linking Tunisia and Italy, in addition to another important cable linking Libya and Greece). This matter has generated concerns in the United States of America and the West about (the danger of using Chinese commercial investments for non-commercial and military intelligence activities in the countries of the Middle East), such as: (gathering intelligence information for China through “military maritime cooperation projects in the Mediterranean countries”, such as this. It seriously harms the security of Washington and its bases in the Arab Gulf and affects the American influence in the Middle East ([22]).

   We can recognize (the first actual Chinese military involvement in the Middle East in Libya after the Libyan revolution and other Arab Spring revolutions in 2011), when (the People’s Liberation Army Navy helped evacuate about 40,000 Chinese workers from Libya), before the organization of “NATO” began to launch air strikes. After that (joint Chinese-Russian military exercises) took place in 2015 in the Mediterranean region. In 2017, China opened (its first military base outside the country in the state of Djibouti, to protect its ships and economic interests from Somali piracy and to protect the straits and sea lanes of strategic importance to China in the Arabian Gulf and the Middle East). In January 2018, two warships from (the 27th Chinese Naval Guard Group visited a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as a part of four-month Chinese military expeditionarycruise)for supporting the naval military cooperation with the Middle East and Mediterranean countries([23]).

   Here, we find that (Egypt’s tendency to military cooperation with China) has of course aroused (the objection and anger of Washington, which expressed its dissatisfaction with the Egyptian-Chinese relations, especially the military, on more than one occasion), especially – with an attempt to retrieve an old military incident that has a deep significance for the fear Washington from the growing military relationship of Cairo with Beijing – and this dangerous incident which the United States considers a threat to its national security and the security of its ally “Israel” in the region – is (Cairo’s permission for a Chinese delegation to visit an Egyptian base containing American F-16s, without Washington’s knowledge), according to what was mentioned in a secret letter from (the Washington embassy in Cairo and its military attaché) to the US Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) in 2009([24]).

     Hence, we find that based on the previous military and strategic analysis, we find that (the balance of power is the basic component of China’s vision towards a pragmatic and productive world order). And as part of the most important recommendations about Egypt’s new military policies during the era of (President El-Sisi), that China itself seeks to increase its influence and presence in the region at the expense of the US gradual withdrawal from it. Therefore, the importance of adopting and training on the “Chinese military model and the nature of the formation of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army”. As a matter of weight and strategic consideration in the future, and here we can refer to a different analytical aspect, namely, “China is adopting a development model that seeks to integrate authoritarianism with economic growth, which is a model that has appeal to political regimes and leaders across the Middle East and North Africa region”. Therefore, The importance of (security, military, training, and the joint defense cooperation between the Egyptian regime and its Chinese counterpart to integrate the working mechanism of their political and economic systems, and the political legitimacy and popular acceptance that follow this kind of cooperation), given what the leaders and military in the region say, that the Arab masses are not yet qualified for the modes of liberal democracy. Western countries are based on the American and European style. Hence, military dealing with China is the best option for Egypt and all countries in the region under (the American administration led by “Joe Biden” and its interference in the affairs of Egypt and the region internally).

   And here, foreign analysts and experts point out that “governments in Europe and the United States should watch carefully the phenomenon of China’s involvement in North Africa and the Middle East, and they should closely analyze all those Chinese military moves, relations and partnerships as well for the danger of this in reducing the US-European global influence”.

Bolstering political legitimacy at home in front of the Western intervention after the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood regime and the success of the 30th June Revolution in Egypt 

  Talking about China as a “model” that expresses the Egyptian regime’s desire to learn from its experience is to draw closer to it and close cooperation with it – especially on the Suez Canal – in the fields of technology, investments, trade, maritime transport and tourism. In addition, the comparison with China aims to (enhance the Egyptian public’s confidence in the positive results of the recovery and economic reform plan that President “El-Sisi” has been pursuing since November 2016 in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund). Hence, attachment to Chinese success aims to achieve a broad general consensus for firm Egyptian economic measures, which China also went through in its early developmental beginnings – on top of which is the reduction of government subsidies for fuel and food products – that will give the basis for their fruits in the medium – long term.

  Raising the Chinese model to the level of a supreme ideal serves the Egyptian economic agenda on the other hand: it allows granting legitimacy to the current political model, with the emphasis it places on (the importance of achieving stability and not compromising Egypt’s security for any reason, combating terrorism and extremism, and confronting the hidden extremist agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group, moving towards development and construction), and other Egyptian economic institutional mechanisms, arrangements and procedures similar to the beginnings of the Chinese development model, focusing less on the issue of freedoms and democracy, and not allowing Washington and the West to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt in this regard. In a series of articles published by (Gamal Abdel-Gawad), the former president of the “Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies”, he emphasized in his analyzes that Egypt favors (the authoritarian Chinese model over the Indian democratic model, given the size of the security and political challenges that Egypt faces at that delicate stage), because the Chinese model has proven itself as a guarantee to maintain (the stability and security of the state with the achievement of high rates of accelerated economic development). Indeed, the legitimacy upon which the Egyptian regime is based of its citizens is based on (their confidence in its security and economic achievements, and not on the basis of establishing a parliamentary democracy according to the Western model)([25]).

   In addition, China is similar in its beginnings to Egypt, and with its nomination and the possibility of its transformation into a global superpower, this matter in the eyes of Egyptians is considered evidence of the importance for Egypt to adopt this Chinese model in order to gain progress, while emphasizing at the same time that (the Egyptian state is like its Chinese counterpart can design a national model that fits with their heritage, needs and values).

   Promoting the issue of matching the Chinese model with Egypt also has regional effects, as we find that in recent years the question has been raised: Can the Chinese development model challenge, and even replace, the Western model that promotes free market values ​​and liberal democracy concepts in developing countries?, Accordingly, the victory of the Egyptian President (El-Sisi) in the presidential elections in March 2018, and the success of the popular referendum on amending the Egyptian constitution in April 2019, all of this as sparked a dispute over (the appropriate model for Egypt and Arab countries in the era after the Arab Spring).

  On the other hand, Egypt defended (its orientation towards the ideal Chinese model for it), which derives its inspiration from (the Chinese model, as a system that guarantees order, security, material well-being, national honor and international status), which is the same what the Egyptian regime seeks internally and externally similar to China.

  Hence, it is noted that (the Chinese model) plays a media role about the efforts of those in charge of reforming the Egyptian economy to gain public legitimacy for Egypt’s successful economic steps, which are supposed to bear fruit in the medium and long term. And the media dependence on promoting the Chinese economic model, especially in its beginnings and the size of the stumbling and the crises it witnessed, in reference to the extent of its similarity with the beginnings of the Egyptian economic model, and what it targets in the future([26]).

   The Egyptian researcher concludes that, at this stage, it appears that Egypt is seeking to (integrate the elements of the Western development model and the Chinese development model), which resembles in some of its economic advantages the Western ones, but rejects its political advantages. Hence, President El-Sisi seeks to emphasize this strategy, especially during the coming period, considering that (the success of this strategy is a real key to Egypt’s economic prosperity and its salvation from its crises, similar to the Chinese model).

Collaboration between Egypt and China in counter-terrorism and combating extremism in the Middle East and its impact on the U.S and Israeli relationships 

  It is remarkable that China has succeeded diplomatically in its battle in the Middle East in order to (win over and neutralize all Muslim countries in the Middle East, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, regarding non-interference in China’s internal affairs, and what Washington and the West are raising against Beijing and its policies in the “Xinjiang”regionand the way of its treatment of the Uyghur Muslims in this province (([27]. For example, we find that in 2019, I commend the visit of Saudi Crown Prince (Mohammed bin Salman) to China, praising China’s domestic policies to “combat internal terrorism in the Chinese Muslim province of Xinjiang”. China also succeeded in “co-opting and neutralizing Turkey”, and the Turkish President “Ragab Tayyip Erdogan” on the issue of the “Chinese Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang Province”, just a few years ago, Turkey was a prominent defender of the Uyghur Muslims in China, and the Turkish promotion of them, considering them (a Turkish people with a community Big in Istanbul). But, there was a sudden change in the position of the Turkish President (Erdogan) and his silence towards China regarding the “Xinjiang” region, with some international indications that (the Turkish police have arrested hundreds of Uyghur refugees by order of China), with the severe crisis in the Turkish economy and other Muslim economies In the Middle East, everyone, including Egypt of course, has sacrificed to depend more deeply than ever on Chinese investment and trade, by announcing everyone to join the Chinese (Belt and Road) initiative.

   On the (Israeli side), almost the same issue applies to “the official Tel Aviv institutions regarding their handling of the Uyghur Muslim file in Xinjiang”, with Israel resisting the increasing American pressure against it to limit its commercial dealings with China. We find here a severe Israeli challenge to Washington through (Tel Aviv’s insistence on subjecting the important strategic “Haifa Port” to an operating lease agreement with a Chinese state-owned company for a period of 25 years). The Israeli government rejected several American requests to inspect and inspect the Israeli facility leased by the Beijing government. China is also investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the Israeli technology sector, despite the previous (Trump administration) campaign, which lasted for a long time, to persuade Israel of “the necessity of China’s withdrawal from the important strategic projects in Tel Aviv” ([28]).

   On the Israeli side, Tel Aviv has exploited (the presence of more than five thousand Muslim Uighur citizens from the Chinese Xinjiang region who have been recruited into the “ISIS terrorist organization in Syria and Iraq” for the war inside Syria) through (Israel’s attempt to strengthen security relations, exchange intelligence and the anti-terrorism file, and the extremist jihadist organizations between Israel and China regarding its terrorist citizens in Syria). Israel has found in its relations with China an important element to improve its strategic environment in the midst of common borders hostile to it in the Arab world, and the relationship with China may certainly help it in one way or another in the event of tension in Israel’s relations. The country of Iran, which aspires to possess nuclear capabilities, is a close ally of Beijing.

    Here, we find that the growth of bilateral relations between China and Israel has repercussions and adverse effects on Egypt and the Arab world, because (the concordance of vital interests between the two countries, especially those related to security arrangements, may contribute to Israel’s penetration of Arab national security, and the establishment of international and regional axes hostile to the Arabs). Tel Aviv’s future security and military strategy is based on (the psychological penetration of Egypt and the Arab world in terms of their strategic ally, “China”, which opposes and competes with Washington’s policy, because of China’s traditional and historical relations with the Arabs, as well as the strategic importance of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative as a location close to the belt Islamic), specifically “Pakistan and the Arabian Peninsula”, or what is currently known as (the Arab Gulf states)([29]).

   From the days of all previous Israeli prime ministers, such as: (Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, passing through Levi Eshkol, Yitzhak Rabin and Manachem Begin, to Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert), there was an eternal Israeli conviction and still says that (Israel is in danger in the shadow of the hostile Arab environment). Consequently, protecting and preserving the “Hebrew state”, financially and spiritually, and consolidating its future and perpetuating its existence, through consolidating its international alliances with great powers such as China, is an issue that occupies the forefront of the (Israeli security thinking)([30]).

   Here, Israeli strategic thought does not neglect the growing dangers of what the Israelis describe as “Islamic fundamentalism” or “religious terrorism” in the region and directing it against Israeli targets in the Israeli depth, specifically by “Hamas and Islamic Jihad”. The issue of the increase in the power and influence of political Islam in the region in general, especially with the entry of China as a powerful and influential actor to combat fundamentalist terrorism such as Israel’s goals in the region, with the recruitment of thousands of Chinese Uyghur Muslims in the terrorist organization of “ISIS” in Syria and the Middle East, and linking China with Israel with an agenda Security cooperation to fight what is known as “global terrorism”, which is able to penetrate into the Israeli and Chinese depths itself).

  Hence, one of the main challenges that were on the list of topics that were discussed and analyzed within the Israeli decision-making circles is (partnership and cooperation with China and Egypt also on the issue of combating terrorism), discussion and evaluation of the impact of fundamentalist terrorism in Syria and the region on the (Israel – Egypt – China) interests and their national security ([31]).

  Here we conclude that the subject of (the new Chinese partnership with Egypt, Israel and some countries in the region for cooperation in the issue of combating terrorism and its extremist organizations and their extensions in the Middle East region has posed a challenge in itself against Washington), which (China considers its rising strategic enemy according to the American national security document issued by The Pentagon in 2018), therefore, (the partnership and security cooperation between Beijing and Tel Aviv on the issue of combating terrorism in the region, as a top priority for Washington to monitor the impact of this security, intelligence and military cooperation between China, Israel, Egypt and the region on its security and intelligence arrangements and its impact on the future of their alliances In the Middle East). Especially with the overlap between a set of political, economic, and strategic factors and internal considerations for such Chinese cooperation with Israel, Egypt and the region, and all of them stand against the terrorist fundamentalist penetration and its extension within their own countries.

Analysis of the future Implications of the Egyptian closeness with China on the U.S. and Israeli policies in the Middle East region

  The United States of America has worked to “disengage gradually from the Middle East” during the past years, according to a carefully studied American strategic plan to devote itself to competing with China in Asia.

   And here remains (the future fear of America and Israel together about the Sino-Iranian alliance and the attraction and partnership of Shiite organizations throughout the region to China for reasons similar to the attraction and Iranian justifications for its rapprochement with Beijing). They all see China as a strategic counterweight to America. In an important article by the Iraqi Minister of Electricity “Louai Al-Khatib” in October 2019, he acknowledged that “China is our primary choice as a long-term strategic partner”. A number of other paramilitary Shiite groups from Iraq and Syria (Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq) to Lebanon (Hezbollah) have repeatedly praised China and demanded an increase in Chinese investments in the region as a “rebuke and strong message to America in the region and the unwillingness of its presence and the need for its withdrawal in favor of China”.

  Perhaps the most prominent (future impact on Israel and the United States of America regarding rapprochement with China), for here it mainly appears in Israel within the (Israeli neoliberal political school), as this school believes that (regional and international economic cooperation through intra-trade and joint economic projects, and mutual investments with Major powers other than Washington, such as China in the first place, create an environment conducive to cooperation and increase incentives for countries more than conflict, and this ultimately leads to the creation of a state of mutual dependence that can be exploited politically to make trade-offs and bargains in security, military and strategic files)([32]).

   Here, the Egyptian researcher analyzed the existence of (indirect effects on the Egyptian-Chinese rapprochement on Israel, the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the overall effect of this on the future of relations with Washington), where (such a rapprochement between China and the various countries of the Middle East is employed, and on Egypt headed it in the Israeli decision-making circles with the aim of dissolving the conflict instead of solving it radically through joint regional economic projects, and with the help of China’s capital, as one of the countries of the world center), and the final outcome remains (the Israeli expansion into new poles of global capital, especially China, and its expansion into Central Asia and the Caucasus), but this, of course, is what Washington rejects in its fight against such Chinese influence and penetration in Israel, the Middle East, the Asian continent itself or the Asian periphery of China’s environment, by forming (regional alliances against China’s influence in partnership with Washington), and this applies in cases, such as: (India, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines), and others.

   Here, we find that one of the most important (foundations of the Israeli security theory is closer relations with the major and active countries in the world, and the creation of international and regional alliances that contribute to stabilizing their presence, strengthening their military capabilities, and subsequently helping them to encircle the Arab world). Therefore, we find that one of the most important military and strategic alliances that Israel has forged with the outside world was the alliance with China, which caused many turmoil and crises between the United States of America and its first ally in the region, which is Israel, due to (the fears of those in Washington about such a rapprochement between Beijing and Tel Aviv refer to the decline of the US role and influence in the region in favor of China), especially Washington’s regional allies, such as: (Egypt, the Arab Gulf states).

Results and conclusions of the study

Through a detailed analysis of all the previous points and elements in the research paper,the Egyptian researcher briefly concluded that the relations of Egypt and the countries of the Middle East region with China, through its initiative for the Belt and Road, and the joining of all those countries with relations with them (including Israel) are of concern to the United States of America, for the following reasons:

1.These countries view with the (new global trend in the east of China, which serves their economic ambitions and interests).

2.The importance of the Chinese initiative to Egypt and the region, and its project known internationally as (Belt and Road), and this project contains a (trade hub) that enhances China’s commercial presence in world markets through the (Egyptian Suez Canal axis), in a way that helps it to open new markets for it and access to the world Through the Egyptian side.

1.The importance of the (monetary axis) of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, which (seeks to make the currency of Chinese “Yuan” as a global currency), in a way that frees the world economy- Egypt and the Middle East as an important part of it – from relying on the US dollar, as a global payment currency.

2.In addition to the fact that the Chinese initiative also has (a geopolitical and strategic split, then a defensive military axis as we analyzed in our research paper to defend the interests and investments of China), so that it can (link Egypt with all countries of the world through which this road passes) with close relations through their common partnership With China.

3.The United States of America looks with concern as a result of (the increasing influence and military presence of China, and defense partnerships between Beijing, Cairo, Israel and various countries in the Middle East), as China is no longer limited in its cooperation with Egypt and the countries of North Africa and the Middle East in the economic and cultural fields only, but has gone beyond to it, and includes both (diplomatic and defense) fields as well.

4.Beijing’s desire (to preserve the security and stability of the Middle East and its investments) there, pushed the Egyptian-Chinese military relations more deeply, and Beijing increased the volume of its military and defense exports to Cairo and the region, which have become more diversified, such as: (weapons, military equipment, Internet surveillance and espionage devices to control terrorist elements, cells, their organizations and distributions) and others.

5.Moreover, China adopts (a development model that seeks to integrate political authoritarianism with patterns, policies, programs, and reforms of economic growth), in order to gain (acceptance and political legitimacy among its citizens and the masses), which is considered by many Egyptian and foreign analysts themselves as a more close model to Cairo politically, economically and in the media, during the period of (President El-Sisi) and it is a model that (promoted by a number of political regimes throughout the Middle East and North Africa).

   Accordingly, it is likely that the growing role of China in Egypt, Israel, North Africa and the Middle East countries will have economic and geopolitical repercussions that are very influential in the countries of the region and around the world, especially in the context of (the US-China rivalry), and Egypt will maintain its influence, as well as From the other countries of the region, it is the (balance point) in Beijing’s relations with Washington and pushing it towards (pluralism and distance from hegemony and unilateralism). Its inevitable result becomes that China’s relations with the United States in the framework of (searching for areas of influence and securing interests) either lead to more (cooperation or Conflict) between the two parties, and the most important thing in my final analysis is (the extent of each party’s ability to attract others in a good framework of competition and pluralism, far from the idea of ​​unilateral hegemony) in consideration of everyone’s interests.


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([4] (Shoukry, Sameh (Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs). (January 26, 2021). A speech on: “Egypt’s foreign agenda and its relations with the major powers”, A meeting with members of the new Egyptian Parliament, Egyptian People’s Assembly, Egypt.

) [5]( Zhang, Chun. (2018). “The Sino-African Relationship: Toward a New Strategic Partnership”, China Quarterly Of International Strategic Studies, Shanghai Institute For International Studies, World Century Publishing, China. 张春 (2018)。 “中非关系:建立新的战略伙伴关系”,中国国际战略研究季刊,Shanghai国际问题研究所,世界世纪出版社,中国。

([6]) Chen, Juan. (2018). “Strategic Synergy between Egypt “Vision 2030” and China’s
“Belt and Road” Initiative”, Outlines of Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, Law, Vol.(11), No. (5), Beijing, P.P.219-235. 陈娟 (2018)。 “埃及“2030年愿景”与中国“一带一路”倡议之间的战略协同作用”,《全球转型纲要:政治,经济学,法律》,第(11)卷,第(5)期,北京,第219-235页。

( [7]( Zeng, Zhihua. (2016). “How Do Special Economic Zones and Industrial Clusters Drive China’s Rapid Development”, In: Zhihua, Zeng, D (eds.). Building Engines for Growth and Competitiveness in China: Experience with Special Economic Zones and industrial Clusters, People’s Library Press, China. 曾志华 (2016)。 “经济特区和产业集群如何推动中国的快速发展”,载于:曾志华(主编)。 为中国的增长和竞争力打造引擎:在经济特区和产业集群中的经验,中国人民图书馆出版社,中国。

) [8](  Sullivan, Jake (National Security Adviser in the Administration of President “Joe Biden”). (January 29, 2021) Lecture on: “The Chinese belief that their model is more successful than the American model, and this is what they are promoting around the world”, Washington Institute of Peace, United States of America.

)[9]) Pompeo, Mike (Former US Secretary of State under the Trump administration). (May 13, 2020). “The first foreign visit of” Mike Pompeo “after the outbreak of the new Corona virus crisis to Israel”, In response to: “The concern of the United States about the Chinese – Israeli rapprochement” that exposes the Israelis to danger”,Tel Aviv, Israel.

) [10](  Freeman, Will. (March 2021). “The Evolving Relationship between China, the EU and the USA: A New Global Order?”, Foreign Policy Magazine, Oxford University, USA.

) [11](   Wang, Jisi. (February 2012). “China’s Search for a Grand Strategy”, Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol. (90), No. (2), China, P.P.68-79. 王吉思 (2012年2月)。 “中国寻求大战略”,《中国国际政治杂志》,第1期。 (90),第(2),中国,第68-79页。

)[12]( Zhang. (2015). “The Rise of Chinese Exceptionalism in International Relations”, Chinese Journal of International Relations, Vol. (19), No. (2), Beijing, P.P.307- 315. 张 (2015)。 “中国例外论在国际关系中的兴起”,《中国国际关系》,第一卷。 (19),第(2)号,北京,第307-315页。

) [13]( Liu, Baolai. (October 10, 2018) “What Are the Three Major Challenges Facing Re-elected Egyptian President “El-Sisi”?, Xinhua News Agency, China. 刘宝来(2018年10月10日)“什么是三大挑战面对再次当选埃及总统‘厄尔尼诺思思’?新华社,中国。 网址:Available at: http://www.cssn.cn/gj/gj_hqxx/201804/t20180404_3897984.shtml (Accessed May 15, 2020) (in Chinese)

) [14](  Taylor, Adam & Morris, Loveday. (March 26, 2019). “To Israel, Trump’s Golan Heights decision is a no-brainer: It says occupying territory gained in a defensive war is justifiable”, The Washington Post, USA.

 

) [15]( Chen, Dingding. (February 8, 2019). “The outside world can shape how China interacts with the international order”, A ChinaFile Conversation, Jinan University, China. 陈定鼎 (2019年2月8日)。 “外部世界可以影响中国与国际秩序的互动方式”,暨南大学中国档案学院,中国。                                                              

( [16]( Qi, Shang & Chenqingqing. (2013). “The Chinese strategy to engage in the Middle East will inevitably harm the Chinese relations with Russia and America and lead China to invest in“ dangerous areas”, Global Times, China. 齐商和陈庆清。 (2013)。 中国的《中东战略》将不可避免地损害中国与俄罗斯和美国的关系,并导致中国投资于“危险地区”,《环球时报》,中国。

) [17]( Harel, Amos. (February 1, 2021). “Israel Rejected U.S. Inspection of Haifa Port Over Fear of Chinese Surveillance”, Israel News, Haartez Newspaper, Israel. Available at: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.HIGHLIGHT-u-s-offered-to-inspect-israel-s-haifa-port-due-to-china-s-involvement-1.9497835 (Accessed March 5, 2021)

) [18]( Shavit, Eldad. (November 30, 2020). “The Strategic Implications of Joe Biden’s Victory”, INSS Conference Summary, The Israeli National Security Studies Institute (INNS), Tel Aviv University, Israel. Available at:  https://www.inss.org.il/publication/biden-and-the-middle-east/ (Accessed March 5, 2021)

) [19]( Huaxia. (December 5, 2018). “Spotlight: China’s military products demonstrate strong presence at Egypt’s 1st defense expo”, Xinhua News Agency, China. 华夏 (2018年12月5日)。 “聚焦:中国的军事产品在埃及的第一届国防博览会上展现出强大的实力”,中国新华社。

) [20](  China Power Project. (April 26, 2018). “How dominant is China in the global arms trade?”, Center for Strategic and International Studies, SIPRI Arms Transfers Database, 2018, Arms Trade Statistics for Non-State Actors, USA. Available at: https://chinapower.csis.org/china-global-arms-trade/ (Accessed March 8, 2021)

) [21](  Rolland, Nadège. (May 23, 2017). “China’s Eurasian Century?: Political and Strategic Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative”, The National Bureau of Asian Research, NBR Books, Washington, D.C, USA. Retrieved From:  https://www.nbr.org/publication/chinas-eurasian-century-political-and-strategic-implications-of-the-belt-and-road-initiative/  (Accessed March 8, 2021)

) [22]( Ekman, Alice. (November 1, 2016). “China’s regional forum diplomacy”, European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), USA. Retrieved From:  https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Alert_44_China_diplomacy.pdf  (Accessed March 8, 2021)

( [23](  The visits of guided-missile destroyer “Haikou” and the guided-missile frigate “Yueyang”. (January 9, 2018).  “Chinese naval ships visit Algeria”, China Military Online, Beijing. 导弹巡洋舰“海口”号和导弹巡洋舰“岳阳”号的访问。 (2018年1月9日)。 “中国军舰访问阿尔及利亚”,中国军事在线,北京。 Available at: http:// chinamil.com.cn/view/2018-01/09/content_7901306.htm (Accessed March 8, 2021)

([24]( CRS Reports: Reports of The Congressional Research Service (CRS). (November 23, 2020). “Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy”, The Congressional Research Service (CRS), CRS’s institution, Library of Congress, USA.

) [25]( Winter, Ofir & Ella, Doron. (August 21, 2019). “The Chinese Development Model: A Cure for Egyptian Woes?”, INSS Insight, No. (1203), The Israeli National Security Studies Institute (INNS), Tel Aviv University, Israel.

) [26]( Teng, Fred. (February 25, 2014). “Egypt and China: the Difference is Leadership and Economic Results”, China-US Focus Journal, the China-United States Exchange Foundation, USA.

) [27]( Zha, Daojiong. (February 8, 2019). “Where Is China’s Foreign Policy Headed?“,  A ChinaFile Conversation, the School of International Studies, Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development, Peking University, China. 查道炯 (2019年2月8日)。 北京大学南南合作与发展研究所国际研究学院,中国档案对话,“中国的外交政策走向何方?”。

) [28]( Guggenheim, B. Lana. (December 4, 2020). “Israel’s silence about the Uighur genocide is a shanda”, The National Review, South EU Summit, Washington Times, Jewcy, New Voices Magazine & the Forward, USA.

([29]) Anbar, Ephraim. (2015). Israeli Concord with the Rising Global Powers, Lexington Books, P.P.8-9, UK.

([30]) Burton, Guy. (February 26, 2018). Rising Powers and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Durham University Press, UK.   

([31]Vucsanovic, Vuc. (February 2020). “Axis of Convenience?: Israel and China in a multipolar world”, LSE Ideas Strategic Update, LSE’s foreign policy Think Tank, the London School of Economics, UK.

) [32]( Joharchi, Sahra. (April, 2016). PhD Thesis: “A Tacit Alliance: The Political Economy of Iranian-Chinese Relations”, A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Nottingham Trent University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy,Nottingham Trent University, UK.

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Elections in Syria: Forgetting Old Resentments?

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In the presidential elections on May 26, Bashar al-Assad won more than 95% of the votes. According to the current constitution, this term will be the last for the president. But in the next seven years of Bashar al-Assad’s rule, the constitution may change, and it is far from certain that this will happen as a result of the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, with UN mediation. The victory of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was accompanied by congratulations from allies and a lack of recognition of the election results by Western countries. In any event, what is the attitude towards this war-torn country and its ruling elites in the Arab world? Will Bashar al-Assad be able to rebuild the country and deliver it from chaos?

Forgetting old resentments. From balance of power to balance of interests

Through regional recognition lies the path to global recognition. It is necessary in some form for the reconstruction of Syria, the cost of which is estimated at more than $250 billion. Syria’s allies do not have such funds, and the West links the provision of funds for the country’s reconstruction with conditions for a political settlement of the conflict, which the current authorities will not agree to. In the absence of economic reconstruction, however, there is a threat of the re-activation of the defeated terrorists. In this context, the role of the rich oil monarchies of the Persian Gulf—the most promising source of money—becomes especially significant.

Syria is traditionally called the “heart” of the Arab world. This, nevertheless, did not prevent other Arab countries from responding to the unfolding violence in Syria by freezing its membership in an important regional structure, the Arab League, in 2011. Speaking about the return of Syria to the Arab League, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “Arab diplomacy is very, very famous for its effectiveness, so it seems to me that here we can expect that the issue will be resolved, and, I hope, quite quickly.” However, there are a number of factors that can support this process, and constraints that can hinder it.

The conversation about the return of Syria to the Arab League has been going on for several years—since it became clear that Bashar al-Assad will be able to keep power in his hands. This became obvious to regional and global players with the defeat of terrorists and opposition, with the active support of the Syrian leadership from Iran and Russia. In addition, compared to 2011, the situation has changed in the Arab League itself. In Egypt, the largest country in the Arab world, the secular regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (who has roots in the military), is now in power, and not the anti-Assad-minded Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood (banned in the Russian Federation). A number of Arab League member states like Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon have never been against Syria, and now actively advocate its return to the organisation. The Gulf monarchies have gone through a decade of reassessing challenges and threats.

Conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have led to the strengthening of the regional rivals of the Arab states of the Gulf—Turkey and Iran. The expansion of these major regional powers is forcing the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to seek new approaches. In the context of Syria, this means the Arab rejection of the Turkish occupation of Syrian (and, therefore, Arab) land in northern Syria. At the same time, the rulers of the Arabian Peninsula are thinking about whether it is worth it to push Syria into the hands of Iran, if they can try to return it to the “Arab homeland” and balance the Iranian influence on Damascus. The UAE, Bahrain and Oman have already reopened their embassies in Damascus, but so far Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two key countries that oppose Syria in the Arab League, are in no hurry to do the same. In any event, the Saudis are increasingly inclined towards a partial return of relations. It is clear from some of their actions. For example, we are talking about the restoration of ties between Bahrain and Damascus, since the policy of Bahrain is a litmus test of Riyadh’s aspirations. In early May, there were reports about the visit of the head of the general intelligence service of Saudi Arabia, Khalid bin Ali al-Humaidan, to Damascus. In late May, for the first time in 10 years, a Syrian delegation led by Minister of Tourism Mohammad Rami Martini made an official visit to Riyadh to participate in the work of the World Tourism Organisation Committee for the Middle East.

The results of the presidential elections in Syria once again remind the Arab states that they will have to work with Bashar al-Assad and his government.

Obviously, Damascus is ready to forget old grievances. Among other things, Arab nationalist rhetoric is extremely important for the ruling Baath Party. On the eve of the elections, Assad’s adviser Busseina Shaaban said: “Efforts are being made to improve relations between Damascus and Riyadh, and in the coming days we can witness results in this matter.” If Riyadh changes its position on the return of Syria to the Arab League, there will be only one Arab country opposing this—Qatar. Qatar’s non-Arab ally in the recently weakened regional confrontation is Turkey, which will also hinder this and continues to declare the need of a political settlement of the Syrian conflict. True, this is less and less possible, although the opinion of Turkey, which has more than 3.5 million registered Syrian refugees, is something to be reckoned with.

Veni, vidi, vici?

At the global level, Russia and the United States have different positions. Russia’s foreign policy advocates sovereignty, the return of Syria to the Arab League and its early restoration. But even if Syria returns to the League, it will not solve the economic problems of the country, where corruption is rampant, the currency continues to depreciate, there is barely enough electricity and fuel for the population to survive, and 80% of citizens remain below the poverty line. In addition, the Syrian economy will not receive serious injections, even from the Gulf countries, due to the policies and sanctions of the United States, which remains the hegemon in the region. However, it is precisely the regional recognition of Damascus that is extremely useful and can be considered as a step towards further stabilisation.

Even before the elections in Syria, the Americans, together with Britain, France, Germany and Italy, issued a joint statement about their illegitimacy. The sanctions adopted by the US Congress against Syria under the name “Caesar Act” are “secondary” in nature, which means that any third country doing business with the Syrian government is included in the US sanctions list. Companies from the UAE have already faced this problem, and potentially sanctions deprive Syria of any major projects with the Gulf States in the future. This issue is unsolvable at the regional level. Much depends on how the Americans are committed to the implementation of the sanctions regime.

An excessive US appetite for sanctions may hurt the interests of its regional allies, which will displease the latter (and not always tacitly).

At the moment, however, to quote the journalists of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, we observe “the absence of American leadership”: the United States is not engaged in promoting any active campaign to counter the normalisation of relations between Syria and other members of the international community. The previous pattern with regard to Syria remains—with the illegal presence of the American military in the east of the country, support for Kurdish groups, and the illegal use of Syrian resources.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has not yet formed a new course towards Syria, since this issue is not a priority for it. In these conditions, regional and interested global players have the opportunity to correct their positions, build up links with previously inaccessible actors, and make attempts to go beyond the existing restrictions.

Bashar al-Assad sent a message to the whole world that he is ready for a new stage. The world is no longer what it was a decade ago. At the regional level, the Arabs are thinking about accepting the existing reality, but at the global level, the Syria issue is not a priority. In his victory speech, al-Assad noted that the Syrian people “returned to the true meaning of the revolution” after it was “blotted by mercenaries”. It is obvious that Damascus persistently and patiently stands on its ground. Arabs say that patience is the key to joy. The only question is whose joy it is.

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The syndrome of neglect: After years of hyperactivity, Erdogan is completely isolated

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At the NATO Summit held in Brussels on June 14, strategically important issues were discussed, such as the relations of the Alliance’s Member States with China and their attitude towards President Putin’s Russia. The Member States’ positions on these issues did not appear unambiguous and diplomats had to struggle to find the right wording to draft the final communiqué. What was evident, however, was an only apparently marginal fact: the total “physical” as well as political isolation of Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan.

After being defined by Prime Minister Draghi as a “dictator and autocrat”, the Turkish President also had to endure the harsh reprimands of the US State Department which, at the end of the “eleven-day war” between Israel and Hamas, did not hesitate to condemn – in unusually harsh language – some of his public statements made in the first days of the war when, in order to underline his thoughts towards the Israeli leadership, he called Benjamin Netanyahu “the Jewish Prime Minister”.

The derogatory use of the word “Jewish’ instead of “Israeli” triggered a reaction from President Biden’s Administration. The State Department spokesman, Ned Price, was instructed to express “the strong and unequivocal condemnation of the Turkish President’s anti-Semitic comments’, and called on him to refrain from “incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence … not least because anti-Semitism is reprehensible and should have no place on the world stage”.

After struggling for years to become a true regional power, President Erdogan’s Turkey is now on the sidelines of the political scene and the Turkish leader’s bewildered expression emerging from the photographs of the NATO Summit of June 14 – which show him physically isolated from the other Heads of State and government – appears as an iconic testimony to the irrelevance to which Turkey has been condemned, owing to the adventurism of its President, after a decade of reckless and counterproductive political and military moves.

As early as in the spring of 2010, in view of showing he was at the forefront in supporting the Palestinian cause, President Erdogan authorised the establishment of the “Freedom Flotilla”, a naval convoy capable of challenging – under the Turkish flag – the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

On May 31, 2020, Israeli commandos intercepted the Mavi Marmara ship carrying not only humanitarian aid, but also Hamas militants attempting to enter again the Gaza Strip illegally.

As soon as Israeli soldiers stepped onto the deck of the Turkish ship, they were confronted by Palestinians and crew members armed with axes, knives and iron bars. Ten Palestinians and Turkish sailors died in the ensuing clashes, but the most severe wound was inflicted on Turkish-Israeli relations.

Turkey broke off diplomatic relations with Israel – long-standing relations dating back to 1949 when Turkey was the first, and for many years the only, Muslim country to recognise the State of Israel, thus also interrupting important economic and military relations that represented for the entire Middle East the example of how it was possible to follow paths of integration and pacification between Muslims and Jews.

Since 2011, with the outbreak of the so-called “Arab Springs”, President Erdogan has tried in every way to take a leading role in a flow of events which – rather than exporting liberal democracies in the region – aimed to underline and validate the victory of the “Muslim Brotherhood” and of the most backward and fundamentalist Islam.

While thinking he could easily solve his competition with Assad’ Syria and at the same time dismiss the problem of Turkish and Syrian Kurdish irredentism, President Erdogan intervened heavily in the Syrian civil war by providing military aid and logistical support not only to the militias of the “Syria Liberation Army”, but also to the Salafist formations of Jabhat Al Nusra and even ISIS.

We all know what has happened: after a decade of civil war, Syria is in ruins but Bashar al-Assad is still in power; the rebels are now closed in small pockets of resistance and Russia, which intervened siding with Damascus, thus overturning the outcome of the conflict, is firmly established in the country while Turkey is not only excluded from the promising business of Syria’s reconstruction, but finds itself managing a massive refugee emergency.

In President Erdogan’ sometimes ill-considered quest to make his country take on the role of the leading regional power, his activism led him to intervene in the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis in support of the Azerbaijani Turkmen against the Christian Armenians, with the result that, after the last crisis in the autumn of 2020, Turkey had to step aside to leave Russia the role of interposition and peacekeeping force.

In Libya, too – after sending arms and mercenaries to support al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) – after its resignation last January, the Turkish role became less influential than the Turkish leader’s aspirations.

In 2017, in a vain attempt to send a signal to NATO and US allies, President Erdogan bought S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia, worth 2.5 million dollars.

The move did not please the then US President, Donald Trump, who immediately imposed economic and military sanctions on Turkey, thus contributing to the decline of its economy and to its progressive international isolation.

It has recently been reported that, in an attempt to bring Turkey closer to the new Biden Administration, President Erdogan has decided to send back home the Russian technicians who were in charge of S-400 maintenance at the Incirlick base – which is also a NATO base – with the result of infuriating Vladimir Putin who obviously does not like the idea of seeing highly sophisticated equipment in the hands of the Americans.

The end result of all these unhinged moves is that the US sanctions remain in place while the Russians can only regret having trusted an unreliable leader.

On the domestic front, too, despite the repression that followed the failed coup d’état of 2016, things are not going well.

The deep economic crisis, resulting from excessive military spending, poor administrative capacity and rampant corruption, as well as the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, makes the situation even more difficult for the Turkish President and his party, the AKP (Justice and Development Party), which have ruled the country continuously since 2002.

The recent local elections, in which the AKP was defeated, and the election polls indicate that, despite the tactical alliance between President Erdogan’s party and the ultra-nationalist National Movement, a success for the President and his party in the 2023 general and Presidential elections seems far from certain.

What makes President Erdogan’s sleep even more restless is certainly the ‘Peker scandal’ that has been hitting the headlines of all Turkish newspapers and social media over the last few days.

Sedat Peker, a businessman formerly affiliated with the extreme right-wing organisation of the “Grey Wolves” (the same one to which Ali Agca, known for the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, belonged) has long been a supporter of Tayyp Recep Erdogan and is known to have been one of the main suppliers of weapons to jihadist groups involved in the Syrian civil war.

Last April, after being accused of corruption and criminal conspiracy, he went into self-exile, first in Montenegro and then in the United Arab Emirates, from where he has been conducting a relentless campaign against President Erdogan and his party on charges of corruption and other crimes and offences.

Under the interested supervision of Mohamed Dalhan, the former Head of the Palestinian intelligence service in the Gaza strip, exiled to the Emirates after the break with Hamas, Sedat Peker daily floods social media with accusations against the Turkish President’s “magic circle”, starting with Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and his ally Mehemet Agar, former Police Chief, who in Peker’s opinion are responsible not only for corruption, but also for extortion, drug trafficking and murder.

Despite government-imposed censorship, these sensational accusations dominate the political debate in Turkey.

Mohammed Dalhan, the Palestinian secret agent, helps Sedat Peker both out of a spirit of revenge against Hamas and, hence, against its Turkish supporter, and because the Abu Dhabi government, for which he now works, has not favourably viewed Turkey’s attempts to sabotage the “Abraham Accords” between Israel and moderate Arab countries and the explicit support offered by President Erdogan to Hamas during the recent “eleven-day war”. Moreover, the latter ended thanks to Egypt’s mediation – a diplomatic success for the moderate Arab front that pushes Turkey and its leader ever further to the sidelines, as they – observant Sunnis – are now forced to move closer to the heretical Shiites of Iran, the only ones who now seem to give credit to President Erdogan, who is now like a bad student relegated to a corner of the classroom, from which he will find it difficult to escape without a clear change of course towards a more moderate approach in domestic policy and a rapprochement to the West in foreign policy.

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