The first real Israeli response came after Russian President Putin has invaded the cities of (Lugansk and Donetsk in the Donbass region) in Ukraine, on Monday, February 21, 2022, at an official request from the Israeli government to the Russian side to (protect Jewish citizens in Ukraine and Israel’s request for Russia’s help to evacuate Jewish and Israeli citizens residing in Ukraine in the event of a war). The features of the Israeli plan to evacuate the Jews of Ukraine in accordance with the principle of the right of return for Jews around the world, as well as the Israelis residing in Ukraine, by evacuating them via land routes, with Israel’s request for a number of legal and security guarantees from the capital “Moscow” to “open humanitarian corridors”. Despite the previous Israeli attempts to “mediate between the Russian and Ukrainian parties, to achieve a balance between them”, but, Israeli officials have failed to achieve any kind of rapprochement with the Kremlin in this matter.
The most important fears in the Middle East in general are that these developments regarding the Russian recognition of the cities of “Lugansk and Donetsk” in the “Donbas region” of Ukraine, as two independent countries, may lead to the escalation and growth of security threats, which will negatively affect Ukrainian wheat exports to the region, which constitutes “the greatest threat to global food security”, especially since most of the Ukrainian regions producing grains and vegetable oils are in (the eastern side of Ukraine), which is the most threatening and targeted side by Russia more than others, especially after the recognition of “Lugansk and Donetsk” as two independent countries, Which may pave the way for an escalation of the conflict and the possibility of a possible Russian attack. Expectations indicate that Egypt, as an important country in the Middle East, has sufficient wheat reserves for five months.
Here, the most prominent repercussions of the Ukraine and Russia crisis in the event of a war between them on Egypt and the countries of the Middle East will be mainly economic, as Ukraine has come to be called the “breadbasket of Europe”, with the heavy dependence of the Middle East countries heavily on Ukraine to a level that some warn from its dangerous height in the event of war. The most important consequences of this Ukrainian-Russian conflict for Egypt and the Middle East are, as follows:
Note that allies and partners in the Middle East are not important in efforts to deter Russia from invading Ukraine. They may be willing to help out on the sidelines. Here, “Qatar” can divert gas supplies from long-term contracts in Asia to the European market in the event of war between Russia and Ukraine, considering that the “Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates” can work to (reduce pressure on oil prices in the event of war, and Israel can continue to pass messages to the Kremlin to urge a halt to the escalation between the two sides of the conflict), according to what Israel itself announced.
But, the public silence of all those countries in this crisis speaks of the need to point and consider the analysis with (the reality of the new geopolitics of the Middle East). Russia has become a player in the region and has partially filled the void left by the USA. According to some US allies, Moscow appears “more confident than Washington”. There is no room to get around this basic trade-off, given the fact that a resurgent China and an aggressive Russia require more from the USA.
Perhaps US President “Joe Biden” will resort to easing his pressure on the countries of the Middle East, instead of asking his partners and allies in the region to take a clear public stance. This goes beyond statements and condemnations about Ukraine. Washington may be forced to (compromise with Saudi policies), and with the Saudi Crown Prince, “Mohammed bin Salman”, especially if “Biden” needs to resort to the Saudi side to reduce the price of oil.
Accordingly, Biden may be forced to adopt a new realistic policy to achieve his interests, through (a policy of abandoning pressure on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to end their war in Yemen, and making room to support their efforts to deter the Iranian-backed Houthi militia). Here, the United States of America may have to continue giving Israel freedom of action in dealing with Iran’s regional subversion even with the Biden’s return to the nuclear agreement with Iran.
It may also be (American cooperation with Egypt in “Gaza and Libya” is a priority for the United States of America over its demands on President “Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi” with regard to human rights and democracy files), and other internal affairs.
We will note the extent to which the Ukrainian-Russian crisis revealed (the significant decline in the role of the United States in the Middle East), which was evident in that crisis, despite the official silence from Arab political regimes to comment on this crisis, but my analysis and general vision of the current scene in The region, perhaps referring to (the bias of a large number of Arab countries to the Russian side and its Chinese ally, which they consider to have provided them with a strong alternative or partners that can be relied upon in the future), especially in light of these international changes taking place.
My analysis of the Ukrainian crisis and its repercussions on the Middle East after the gradual retreat of the United States of America from the region, has enabled me to note that Washington’s allies and partners in the Middle East, even if they are sympathetic to Ukraine and committed to the United States, but at the same time, we can understand that the (Middle East countries aren’t ready to take any hostile, negative or inflammatory stances against Moscow).
Here, to understand the extent of change for Washington’s closest ally in the Middle East, which is “Israel”. In mid-January 2022, the United States of America and Israel held a round of strategic consultations. The Israeli focus was on (Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the extent to which Iran and Russia exploited the Ukraine crisis and the world’s preoccupation with it, to threaten Israel’s interests in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, as a punishment for Israel as a trust ally from Washington), at a time when attempts by Washington and its European allies began fiercely salvaging the 2015 agreement with Iran that former President “Trump” canceled.
Most notably to me, is that while the Biden administration is lobbying to oppose Moscow’s pressure tactics against “Kiev”, the US-Israeli consultation did not mention any consultations regarding the impact of the Ukraine crisis on Israel. In fact, since the start of the reinforcement of Russian forces since 2020, Israel has adhered to a policy of continuous silence, with the exception of an offer by Prime Minister “Naftali Bennett” to mediate between Ukraine and Russia, an idea that Moscow has flatly rejected.
In my opinion, I see that the situation for the Israelis is that their calculations are not different from before, despite their strong dependence on the United States of America. The existential threat to Israel is still Iran. The only Israeli fear of the Ukrainian crisis is (the policy of Russian and Iranian indirect punishment of Israel, considering “Tel Aviv” a close security and diplomatic partner to Washington), that both Russia and Iran will open several pressure fronts on Israel, with the presence of (numerous enemies on Israel’s borders). According to the analyzes of the Israeli think tanks, the Israeli fear here is that Israel’s enemies will exploit the Ukraine crisis with Russia, to increase their rapprochement with Iran, as Iranian agents in confronting Israel. The most prominent of the Israeli enemies here, are: (Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Iranian militias that control it Iran in Syria).
Here, we will notice that the impact of the Ukrainian-Russian crisis on the Israeli side is represented in the Israeli fear of its enemies, “Israel” exploiting the crisis, which Israel calls the “war between wars” theory, in order to prevent the transfer of advanced Iranian missiles and guidance systems through Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon and may thwart the (attempts of the Iranian-backed militias to open another front with Israel in the Golan Heights).
The Russian military presence in Syria makes Israel more of a player in this conflict than the United States of America, which maintains a limited force in eastern Syria to fight “ISIS”, but has left Israel to fend for itself in the rest of the country.
The only way that Israel can continue its repeated air attacks on Iranian targets in Syria is if the “Russian Air Force” agrees to Israel’s use of Syrian airspace.
Therefore, we can explain the reasons for the repeated visits by Israeli former Prime Minister “Benjamin Netanyahu”, which amounted to ten visits to Russia between 2015 and 2020, in order to secure the cooperation of the Russian President and to ensure that the operations of the Russian and Israeli air forces in Syria will not get in the way of each other. Likewise, once “Naftali Bennett” became prime minister in 2021, he wasted no time in reaffirming those arrangements on a visit to the Kremlin in October 2021.
But in January 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that (Russian and Syrian planes conducted a joint patrol over the Syrian Golan Heights occupied by Israel, and that these patrols will continue). This was a (symbolic warning shot) by Russia and Syria to “Israel”, that if “Putin” wanted, he could easily end the Israeli military operations in Syria. If Israel is considering openly siding with the United States on Ukraine, Moscow has indicated that there will be a heavy strategic price to pay.
The United States of America is trying to follow a new global mechanism and spread it around the world regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, especially with the American keenness to issue repeated warnings of an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine. The United States is publishing “secret information” about Russian moves in an unprecedented way. But, the analyzes indicate that the United States does not care in the first place that its information on this current crisis appears in “transparent and more open”, but the truth is that what Washington is doing is nothing but a “new form of war”.
All media analyzes refer to all US advertisements and statements to publish detailed information about Russia’s moves and attempts to mislead the media, as part of its preparations to attack Ukraine, despite Moscow’s denial of its intention to attack it.
It may not be a coincidence that (the Russian intervention in Syria in September 2015, occurred a year after the attack on eastern Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea). The Russian move in Syria was not just a consolidation of its traditional influence there, but rather revealed a new dynamic in the Russian role militarily in the face of Western influence.
Here, the Russian side, at the height of this global interest in the Ukrainian crisis, announced that it had conducted several (naval exercises in the Mediterranean, and the transfer of bombers and aircraft equipped with hypersonic missiles to the Russian air base in Syria). This is one of the indicators that the (Middle East and North Africa region) represents a piece of a global chessboard around which the roles and the struggle for influence between the major powers are attracting.
After extending almost complete Russian influence in Syrian territory, whether through its military forces or through (Wagner mercenaries), we note Moscow’s direction after that towards North Africa and the sub-Saharan region, through the deployment of thousands of (Wagner elements), to become a major player in the Libyan crisis and in the conditions of a number of (West and Central African countries).
The impact of the crisis on the countries of the region will be largely related to the nature of the scenarios according to which the current crisis may develop. Experts draw different scenarios for the outcome of the open power struggle between the West and Russia, ranging between the (scenarios of a widely or limited war, a scenario of continuation of severe tension, and a scenario of the crisis heading towards détente based on a temporary or long-term settlement).
If the expansion of Russian influence in the region occurred during a period in which the influence of European countries witnessed a decline, especially (France and Italy), it also coincided with the direction of the United States to (re-arrange its priorities in the world and reduce its role in the region, towards focusing mainly on China as an enemy).
The most important thing remains for us, (analyzing the potential impact of Russia’s military campaigns and its penetrations into the spheres of influence of the traditional Europe and the United States, all influential Western powers to reconsider their calculations), and even the extent to which this could lead to the restoration of the Middle East region to its place in the American strategy?
If this happens, it may start from a Western perspective, by closing some of the “strategic gaps” that have appeared in the last few years in the relations of traditional allies of the United States, such as: (Egypt and Saudi Arabia), which have opened large channels of military and economic cooperation with Russia. We can notice that, Russian-Egyptian exchanges recorded a growth of 10% during 2021, and Russia regained its presence as a (main supplier of arms to Egypt).
In what appears to be a shift in the position of the “Biden’s administration”, due to the fear of the Russian war against Ukraine and the American role to prevent this and defend Ukraine, (Washington raised its reservations about major arms deals to Saudi Arabia and the UAE), after the two Gulf states were under the pressure of the (Yemen war), and the conflict with Iran has opened channels of military cooperation with Russia and China, which do not set preconditions before concluding arms deals. Which is considered an attractive factor for the tendency of a large number of Arab countries to (request support from “Putin”, in the face of Western pressures or popular and internal security entitlements).
The North African region, which includes (Tunisia and Morocco), that considered mainly as allies of Washington, has maintained its position within the arrangements established during the administration of former President “Trump”, in particular, after (the strengthening of military cooperation agreements with Morocco and Tunisia as major non-NATO allies), which confirmed that the extent to which the United States can benefit from them is at the heart of the American strategic interest in the African continent as an area of heated competition with China and Russia, which is the same trend that President “Joe Biden” supported.
Based on the previous analysis, here the Ukrainian crisis could contribute to “strengthening the American alliance and coordination with North African countries during the coming period”, depending on the state of momentum that has been achieved between American and European allies within “NATO” in the face of China and Russia. In addition to continuing to rely on partnership with traditional regional allies, led by (Israel and Turkey).
We can observe new elements in the conflict, which are (derived from technological and cyber developments and a new type of conflict tools that are not limited to conventional and strategic weapons, including nuclear ones and by virtue of their qualitative impact on the nature of the conflict, they give the cconfrontation of an unconventional character this time). Strategists are considered that (it’s new generations of wars and conflicts).
Hence, the repercussions of the Ukrainian crisis on the countries of the regions of North Africa and the Middle East are not only related to the nature of the interests that link the countries of the region to the parties to the conflict, i.e. Russia, Ukraine, then the United States and Europe, but (they are dynamic interests, not only by virtue of interaction and change in relations, but also due to the emerging and evolving nature of the tools of influence in those relations).
The great developments in the crisis between the West and Russia have shown once again (the importance of the strategic position occupied by Ukraine as a sensitive area of contact between Russia on the one hand and Europe and the rest of the “NATO” member countries), and many other countries on the other hand.
Here we can analyze the extent (the competitive role that Ukraine can play as a main source of basic foodstuffs), such as: (grains, oils, and meat), which Ukraine exports to a large number of Arab countries, which depend on wheat imports through the “Black Sea”, which in turn is in the heart of Military tension.
It is expected that grain prices will increase by 20%, and the outbreak of war in Ukraine may lead to two things, first: a rise in oil prices in the world, which in turn will affect food prices, and consequently the costs of sea and land transportation within countries will rise, second: this will lead to a rise in wheat and grain prices in general, because Russia and Ukraine control a large amount of grain imports in the world, so grain prices will rise by no less than 20%, unlike the increase in oil prices, which can also reach 20%, so prices will be affected internally and externally.
And we will note that the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine will affect Egypt’s import of grain from Ukraine, because (in the event of war, all the ports of Ukraine will be closed, so it is expected that transportation costs will rise), especially with ships having to impose a risk allowance in areas where there are wars, and therefore, the end result is higher import costs for wheat.
The outbreak of war will (negatively affect the Egyptian import of grains such as wheat and maize for fodder and edible oils, which will affect Egypt’s strategic stock), because the strategic stock of Egypt is one third in stores, one third on boats at sea, and one third in contracts, so one third of the contracts will be affected until the problem of contracting contracts with Ukraine is resolved if war breaks out.
Perhaps, it will become (the alternative plan for Egypt in the event of the outbreak of war, is to move to France, given that it is the closest facilities exporting wheat, and then Australia, then we will resort to distant facilities such as Canada, the United States and Brazil), given that the mother of wheat in these countries is much better in the quality of wheat in Russia and Ukraine, because Russian and Ukrainian wheat is less than international prices by 10%, because its types are lower than American, Australian and French wheat, but this difference will increase wheat prices, in addition to increasing the price of oil if war breaks out.
Knowing that Ukraine and Russia’s wheat exports represent about 23% of the volume of global exports, and world food prices are currently approaching their highest levels in 10 years, and the two countries’ market share means that (any disturbances in exports may cause a rise in grain prices in Egypt and the region).
According to “USDA data”, the Middle East is considered (the third largest buyer of wheat from Ukraine) was between 2020/2021, and more than 40% of Ukraine’s wheat exports were destined for the Middle East or African markets alone.
It was one of the most important consequences of the rise in the prices of some commodities, especially in Egypt, because (Egypt imports a group of strategic food commodities from the Ukrainian side, especially wheat, as Egypt imports 13 million tons of wheat annually from Russia and Ukraine together), and Egypt also imports from Ukraine also produce corn, barley and soybeans, as well as edible oil, iron and steel and its products.
Expectations indicate that (the prices of some of these commodities will rise by 20%, due to the outbreak of a war between Russia and Ukraine, in contrast to the increase in global oil prices), with its effects on Egypt and the countries of the region.
Here, the “International Monetary Fund’s expectations” indicate that (energy costs and commodity prices in many countries, including Egypt) will rise in the event of a conflict.
There are fears that the impact of the conflict on the Middle East may be much worse, especially as it is a conflict between two of the world’s major suppliers of grain, which will have a (negative impact on prices, while there is already a feeling of shortage of wheat globally and in countries Middle East and Egypt).
We note that the countries in the Middle East that consume the most wheat, are: (Lebanon, Libya and Egypt), which are considered among the largest importing countries of wheat from Ukraine in the region, there are some other countries, such as: (Yemen and Syria) are depending on the (World Food Program’s purchases) of Ukrainian wheat as a aid.
We understand, through the previous analysis, the extent of the impact of the development of the Ukrainian crisis and the Russian-Chinese support in the face of “NATO” and its prominent members in the West and the United States of America. And perhaps this is what the former US National Security Adviser, “Zbigniew Brzezinski”, expressed about the danger behind the potential alliance and the policies pushing towards it, when he explicitly asserted that: “the worst scenario that the United States could be exposed to, is the formation of a large defense and security alliance between China and Russia”. The US policy against Russia and China, which is now pursued by the current US leadership of President “Joe Biden”, and expresses the current prevailing trend of the US administration, is pushing Russia and China to achieve this scenario, which is considered the (worst case for the United States of America).
Iran and Sudan’s Rapprochement in 2023: New Changes in the Regional Geopolitics of the Middle East
The Middle East is a strategic region that connects Asia, Africa, and Europe and has significant natural resources, especially oil and gas. The Middle East is also a source of various conflicts and crises that pose threats to regional and global peace. The change in Middle East politics can shape the social and political transformations of the people and societies in the region, as well as their relations with other regions. With that, Iran and Sudan’s rapprochement has brought a new dynamic into the politics of the Middle East.
Iran and Sudan have been allies since the 1989 coup that brought Omar al-Bashir to power, but their relations have been strained by the political and economic crisis in Sudan, the US sanctions on both countries and the regional rivalry with Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The rapprochement between Iran and Sudan in 2023 adds a new dimension to the regional geopolitics of the Middle East. It has strengthened Iran in the region, as it gained Sudan as a strategic ally and a potential gateway to Africa.
Currently in Sudan, the civil war erupted in April 2023 after a failed coup attempt by a faction of the military against the transitional government that replaced al-Bashir in 2019. The instability and conflict in both countries have affected their domestic and foreign policies. Iran has been facing internal challenges, such as protests, corruption, inflation, and environmental crises. Iran has also been involved in regional conflicts, such as the war in Yemen, the civil war in Syria, the tensions with Israel, and the nuclear standoff with the US. Sudan has been undergoing a political transition since the ouster of Omar al-Bashir in 2019, but the process has been disrupted by a military coup in October 2021. Sudan has also been dealing with humanitarian crises, such as food insecurity, displacement, and violence in Darfur and other regions.
By restoring ties with Sudan, Iran can expand its economic and political influence, as well as its access to natural resources and markets. Sudan can also serve as a counterweight to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which have been hostile to Iran and have supported the opposition forces in Sudan’s civil war. This has challenged the Saudi-led coalition in the region, which has been trying to contain Iran and its allies. Saudi Arabia and its partners, such as the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel, have formed a bloc to counter Iran’s regional ambitions and to promote their interests. The rapprochement between Iran and Sudan can undermine their efforts and create new security threats for them. For example, Sudan can provide Iran with access to the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, which are vital for Saudi Arabia’s oil exports.
The change in the US outlook on the Middle East has reduced its involvement and influence in the region. The US has shifted its focus to other strategic priorities, such as countering China’s rise, addressing climate change, and dealing with domestic challenges. The US has also withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and reduced its military aid and arms sales to its allies in the region. The US has also adopted a more balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, supporting a two-state solution and restoring aid to the Palestinians. The US has also resumed negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, which was abandoned by the previous administration. The change in the US policy has created more space for regional actors to pursue their interests and initiatives without external interference or pressure.
Iran’s interest in Sudan’s Red Sea coast is mainly driven by its strategic and economic objectives. Iran wants to strengthen its influence in the region. Iran has decided to send military support to the Sudanese army in 2023, following talks between the foreign ministers of Sudan and Iran in Baku in July. Iran wants to secure the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, which are vital for its oil exports and maritime trade. Iran has been hosting its naval fleets in Port Sudan for decades, to the dismay of Saudi Arabia, which lies opposite Port Sudan on the other side of the waterway. Also, Iran wants to expand its economic and political ties with other African countries, especially with the involvement of China as a mediator. China’s role can help reduce tensions and violence in the region, as well as foster greater integration and cooperation.
The position that the rapprochement between Iran and Sudan has reduced the US leverage in the region, as it lost a key ally and a potential partner in Sudan. The US has been supporting the democratic transition in Sudan and has lifted some of the sanctions that were imposed on the country for its human rights violations and its support for terrorism. The US has also provided humanitarian and development assistance to Sudan, as well as diplomatic and military support to the transitional government. The US has hoped to use its influence in Sudan to advance its interests and values in the region, such as promoting peace and stability, countering extremism, and resolving the conflicts in South Sudan, Darfur, and Ethiopia. However, the rapprochement between Iran and Sudan can undermine these efforts and weaken the US position.
It has increased challenges for the US in the region, as it faces a more assertive and resilient Iran and its allies. Iran and Sudan have been subject to US sanctions for their alleged support for terrorism, human rights violations, and nuclear activities. The sanctions have hampered their trade and investment opportunities, as well as their ability to import essential goods and services. The US has been pursuing a dual-track policy of pressure and diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear program and its regional activities. The US has imposed severe sanctions on Iran and its proxies, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis, and has supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian threats. The US has sought to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to curb influence in the region. However, the rapprochement between Iran and Sudan can complicate these objectives and increase the risks of confrontation.
From a regional perspective, Saudi Arabia and its partners, such as the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel, have formed a coalition to counter Iran’s regional ambitions and promote their interests. They have also intervened militarily in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Libya to support their proxies and allies. Saudi Arabia has also offered economic and military assistance to Sudan and other African countries, such as Djibouti and Somalia, in exchange for cutting ties with Iran. Previously, Sudan has been a major contributor to the Saudi-led coalition fighting against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015, but its participation has been controversial and costly for the Sudanese people.
The easing of tensions between Riyadh and Tehran has enabled Iran to restore ties with some of the Sunni-led Arab states that were previously aligned with Saudi Arabia against Iran, such as Sudan, Oman, Iraq, and Qatar. Also, it challenges the influence of UAE and Egypt in Sudan, which have been supporting the military-led transitional government since the ouster of Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The UAE and Egypt have been wary of Iran’s presence in the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa, and have sought to limit its access to ports and trade routes in the region. The Sudan-Iran rapprochement could undermine their efforts and create more competition for resources and influence in Sudan.
In conclusion, the Middle East is an arena of competition and cooperation among various regional and external powers. So, the rapprochement between Sudan and Iran has brought change in Middle East politics can alter the balance of power and interests among these actors, and create new opportunities or challenges for dialogue and partnership.
Sisi and the “New Republic” model in Egypt
Egypt’s participation came through President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in the G20 meetings held in the Indian capital, New Delhi, over the course of September 9 and 10, 2023, as confirmation of what the new Egyptian Republic has achieved during the era of President “El-Sisi” at the Arab, regional and international levels, and what the new Egyptian Republic enjoys. From a pivotal and influential role in the region as a result of the vision and efforts of President “El-Sisi” in restoring Egypt to its position on the global stage. In addition to President Sisi’s vision of the new republic of Egypt in an attempt to re-integrate it to create balance with the new world order, and to emphasize its shift from unipolar control, to creating one world under the umbrella of “One Family… One Future”, India also chose a name and slogan for that summit. The reason for inviting Egypt to attend the G20 summit in India comes as a result of its status among the major countries organizing the summit, as the summit includes the largest international economic and political bloc, accounting for 85% of the global economic output and 75% of the volume of global trade. The observation worth noting remains that the differences between the major powers around the world, such as the United States of America, China and Russia, have been reflected in each party’s attempt to find new allies, by deepening the concept of a multi-power system, by creating a stronger world based on increasing the involvement of developing countries in the global economic processes, such as welcoming Egypt, the Emirates, and Ethiopia to join the BRICS economic group earlier at the G20 summit in India, in an effort to win the favor of many international parties from African and developing countries to reduce the financing gap and restructure debts that limit countries’ abilities to grow, and thus gain new allies from before. Various international powers. This was reflected in the agenda of the Egyptian leadership of President El-Sisi through understanding the mechanisms of this competition between China and the United States of America in neutralizing differences and diversifying Egypt’s economic relations with various international partners.
During his participation in the G20 summit in India, President El-Sisi is trying to present (the features of the new Egyptian Republic), which were reflected in the transformation of Egypt into a leading global commercial, logistical and industrial center, thanks to the national projects that were established in the new Egyptian Republic, whether in infrastructure and ports, in addition to establishing 17 industrial cities that include thousands of new factories, in addition to encouraging the establishment of factories to provide production requirements and raw materials in the new Egyptian Republic. Building the new republic during the era of President Sisi and promoting its most prominent features and projects confirms that Egypt is at the heart of the map of international and regional interactions, presents visions and approaches to Egypt’s economic dealings around the world at this time, and creates a kind of balance for Egypt in its relations around the world. In addition to marketing the national economy in Egypt, and confirming the merit of the political transformation in the new Egyptian Republic, in addition to reserving a role for Egypt in the economic partnerships and international blocs that are now being formed, such as Egypt’s joining of the world’s leading BRICS group of countries immediately before the G20 summit in India.
The conditions for holding the G20 summit internationally at the present time come in the midst of the Russian military operation in Ukraine and its effects on the shape of the international system and the Middle East, where the global order is being restructured again, as well as the architecture of the Middle East again, and it is in the interest of Egypt and the major G20 economic countries, to not be far from all these developments, and to restructure their relations in a way that allows them to benefit from all these developments. In light of these variables, the importance of President Sisi’s participation to discuss the mechanism and ways of providing effective support from the G20 countries to developing countries to achieve sustainable development goals, to confront the negative repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war on the economy, food, and energy, and what it led to many successive global crises. Also, in view of the multiple regional, continental and international roles that Egypt plays and the influential and major role it has now enjoyed with all parties, the features of the Egyptian project for modernization and development through which the new republic in Egypt, led by President “El-Sisi”, presents a model for comprehensive and sustainable development, as it adopts a multi-dimensional strategy.
If we analyze the final statement of the G20 Summit in India in the presence of President “El-Sisi”, we will see that it reflects the Egyptian agenda in the international action necessary to confront the challenges that the world is currently witnessing, whether on the security, military, political, economic and development levels, or the problems of hatred and discrimination and the importance of respecting the cultures and beliefs of peoples or anything related to confronting them. Climate problems. The statement also adopted the Egyptian point of view regarding Africa’s demands and the need to support the development efforts of its people. Knowing that the African Union has been accepted as a member of the G20, which is a major and notable qualitative development in the African march of advancement led by Egypt, under the leadership of President “El-Sisi”. This is if we focus on the speech of President “El-Sisi”, in his capacity as Chairman of the Steering Committee of Heads of State and Government of the “African Union Development Agency” (NEPAD), and his announcement of setting specific goals in consultation with African partners to support the countries of the continent, including enhancing continental economic integration, implementing the African development agenda and activating Continental Free Trade Agreement.
The note worth noting for me remains that President Sisi’s meetings during the G20 summit were not limited only to the leaders of the participating countries, but rather extended to the heads and representatives of international organizations and groups on various continents and those responsible for them, the most prominent of which is President Sisi’s participation in the African-European Summit. The mini conference, which was held on the sidelines of the G20 summit. The most important agenda put forward at the top of President Sisi’s agenda, during his participation in the summit of the Group of Twenty major economic countries, was the emphasis on strengthening Egyptian and international efforts to facilitate the integration of developing countries into the global economy in an equal manner, against the backdrop of the mutual opportunities and advantages that this provides. It contributes to attracting investments and achieving economic growth and development for all parties. Also, in light of Egypt’s previous hosting of the “COP27” climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, President “El-Sisi” will be keen to determine the extent of developed countries’ commitment to their pledges within the framework of international agreements and mechanisms to confront climate change, and to enable developing countries to increase their reliance on new and renewable energy sources.
Accordingly, President “El-Sisi” was keen to present the features of the new Egyptian Republic during the G20 Summit in India, which was a source of great confidence from all international partners in the strength of the Egyptian economy. This is not the result of the moment, but the result of great economic work undertaken by Egypt since years during the era of President “El-Sisi”, and it reflected positively on the increase in foreign investment inside Egypt, and on the occurrence of many successes in the field of cooperation between Egypt and major international companies, especially with the strength of the Egyptian economic situation now, as a result of the reform measures taken by the new Egyptian Republic during the era of President “El-Sisi”. Therefore, during his participation with the permanent members of the G20 in the India Summit, President “El-Sisi” was keen on a pioneering plan aimed at enhancing trade between India, Egypt and various countries of the Middle East and Europe, as it will thus link the regions that represent about a third of the global economy, which represents the pinnacle of success for the New Republic of Egypt during the era of President “El-Sisi”.
The Surge in Saudi Arabia’s Tourism
Saudi Arabia, a land traditionally synonymous with oil and Hajj pilgrimages, is making headlines with its burgeoning tourism sector. Over a three-month period, the kingdom witnessed a staggering inflow of 7.8 million people, generating a revenue of $9.86 billion in the first quarter of this year. This unprecedented growth has not only stimulated the Saudi economy but has also thrown a spotlight on the country’s untapped potential in sectors beyond oil.
Saudi Arabia has long been a destination for religious tourism, particularly for the Muslim pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah. With the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina within its borders, the Kingdom has drawn millions of devout Muslims from around the world. This influx has inevitably contributed to the revenue stream, especially in sectors like hospitality, food, and travel.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, an ambitious blueprint for diversifying its economy, aims to reduce dependency on oil revenues and invest heavily in various sectors, including tourism. Spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Vision 2030 encompasses transformative projects like the Red Sea Resort and NEOM, a planned $500 billion megacity. These initiatives intend to open Saudi Arabia to international tourists, attracting a demographic that goes beyond religious pilgrims.
Saudi Arabia has gradually eased its travel restrictions and visa policies to make it more tourist friendly. The introduction of the e-visa system, in particular, has made it easier for travelers to visit the Kingdom.
The recent revenue of $9.86 billion from tourism serves as an immediate economic shot in the arm for Saudi Arabia. The numbers are impressive, especially when compared to other nations with robust tourism sectors. The surge in tourism directly translates into increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment opportunities. The tourism sector has started to become a pivotal component of the Saudi economy, potentially contributing to a percentage rise in the annual GDP. The massive inflow of tourists is also expected to generate job opportunities, especially in hospitality, retail, and transport.
Saudi Arabia has recently been grappling with a fragile economic situation, exemplified by a current account deficit. The influx of tourism revenue significantly ameliorates this concern, facilitating a healthier balance of payments and boosting financial reserves. The robust earnings from tourism herald a new phase of financial diversification for Saudi Arabia. As the country reduces its dependency on oil revenues, a balanced economic portfolio incorporating tourism revenue minimizes vulnerability to global market fluctuations in the oil sector.
The surge in tourism is also a strong magnet for foreign investment. Investors are likely to see the economic uptick as a signal to invest in Saudi tourism and related sectors. Moreover, it opens doors for international collaborations and partnerships. Whether it’s in marketing strategies to promote tourism or technology transfer for sustainable practices, global partnerships are expected to enrich Saudi Arabia’s tourism landscape in multiple dimensions.
The tourism boom also brings a wave of cultural interchange. The conservative nation is now exposed to various global perspectives, which could be a step toward more progressive societal norms. However, this sudden rise in international exposure raises questions about the country’s cultural ethos. How will a traditionally conservative Saudi society balance its deeply rooted customs and religious norms with the more liberal attitudes of a diverse global tourist populace?
Saudi Arabia’s staggering earnings in a short period elevate it to the league of nations like the United Arab Emirates, which earned $44.4 billion in tourism. It is clear that Saudi Arabia has not only joined the tourism competition but has also managed to give some of the leading nations a run for their money.
Impact on Industries
The sheer number of tourists flocking to Saudi Arabia in such a short span undoubtedly places a considerable demand on the hospitality industry. Hotels, resorts, and other lodging options need to be ready to accommodate millions, which creates a positive ripple effect in related sectors like construction, interior design, and facility management. Moreover, there’s a corresponding need for improved public infrastructure, including roads, airports, and mass transit systems to cope with the influx of visitors.
As part of the country’s broader digital transformation goals, the Saudi government is looking at adopting smart city technologies not only for its futuristic NEOM project but also in existing cities to facilitate smooth tourism operations. This could mean the rise of app-based services that guide tourists, digital information kiosks, electronic payment gateways, and similar tech-savvy enhancements that modern travelers expect.
With a multicultural visitor base, the demand for a diverse range of food options is inevitable. This change is likely to fuel a boom in the food and beverage industry, perhaps even encouraging a more cosmopolitan culinary scene in Saudi Arabia, which is traditionally dominated by Middle Eastern cuisine.
Any surge in tourism comes with environmental ramifications, and Saudi Arabia is no exception. From pollution and waste management to natural resource consumption, the country needs to invest in sustainable practices to mitigate the environmental impact of its booming tourism sector.
Saudi Arabia is located in a geopolitically sensitive area, and thus security is a significant concern. The country will need to invest in both physical and cyber security measures to protect its visitors and its newfound economic interests.
Saudi Arabia’s astronomical rise in tourist numbers and the corresponding billions earned in revenue mark an unprecedented shift in the country’s economic and social landscape. It is a bellwether not just for Saudi Arabia but also for how countries can pivot their economies in the 21st century. The transformation from a mono-economy, dependent on fossil fuels, to a diversified portfolio that includes a burgeoning tourism sector, could serve as a model for other nations seeking to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing global marketplace.
The next ten years will be crucial for Saudi Arabia, not only to maintain this momentum but also to address the associated challenges effectively. If managed wisely, this sea change in Saudi tourism could be a cornerstone in the country’s long-term growth and stability, fundamentally altering its role and reputation in the global arena. With strategic planning, investment in sustainable practices, and a commitment to evolving without losing sight of its cultural heritage, Saudi Arabia is well on its way to defining a new future for itself and setting a precedent for the world to follow.
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