CBE receives 24 bids worth $1.15bn for T-bills tender denominated in US currency    Death toll in Indonesia's Semeru volcano eruption rises to 34, over 100 injured    Startups Without Borders to hold hybrid summit in Rome, Cairo    NTRA raises efficiency of mobile services in Sinai with EGP 513m investment    Economic recovery is essential in countering COVID-19 impact on Africa: Shoukry    Egypt advances to 21st in Climate Change Performance Index 2022    UNFPA, Canada delegation visits projects in Upper Egypt    Egypt, WHO discuss mechanisms to reduce antimicrobial resistance    Plastic Bank collects 150 million bottles in 2021, equivalent to 2,700 tonnes of plastic    US awards film residency programmes to Egyptian filmmakers at CIFF 2021    Irrigation Ministry highlights threats to Egypt's water security before Senate    DP World Sokhna: Integrated supply chain for Egyptian sugar    Egypt's PMI unchanged in Nov as higher inflation expectations weigh on: IHS    Egypt's LNG exports at full capacity of 1.6 bcf/d after gas price rise – minister    Indian Embassy in Cairo presents contemporary dance performances    Egypt explores water cooperation with 4 African countries    Al-Sisi visits Police Academy, witnesses admission exams    Soma Bay hosts Oceanman's Final World Championship 2021 for open-water swimming    Lebanese legend Fairuz is Egypt's most-streamed female singer on Spotify in 2021    Egypt, Qatar discuss cooperation in sports infrastructure    Mortada Mansour sets road map for Zamalek, after normalization committee depart    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Egypt selected to host COP27 international climate conference in 2022    Number of British tourists to Egypt seen hitting 500,000 this winter – envoy    The unvaccinated prohibited from entry to Egypt state institutions starting December 1    Egypt, Greece ink deal for first subsea power link between Europe and Africa    SCOHRE sparks discussion on harm reduction, tobacco control    Egypt to receive first of six high-trains from Spain's Talgo in mid-November    Egypt's iron and steel exports jump 197% in 8 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    Brazil calls up 8 EPL players for World Cup qualifying    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Sisi calls on House, Senate to commence second legislative sessions on 3, 5 October    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    Qa'a play showing at Lycee El Horreya Theatre, Alexandria is a must go    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    







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A Reshaped Middle East
Published in Daily News Egypt on 06 - 12 - 2017

November 2017 has seen dramatic developments in the Middle East. For the last few months, indications have been that the region has finally gained the upper hand in its three-year war against the self-styled "Islamic State" (referred to as Daesh or ISIS), after the liberation of both Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, the capital of the so-called "Islamic State."
In Iraq, the central government has demonstrated enough political will to project its authority throughout Iraq in the context of the Iraqi constitution. It has successfully, and wisely, dealt with the Kurdistan referendum of September 25, 2017, and forced Massoud Barzani, president of the Iraqi Kurdistan, to beat a retreat from announcing an independent Kurdistan.
In Syria, the government of President Bashar Al Assad has been regaining steady control over Syrian territories, with the help of Russia and Iran.
With these successes, the Middle East turned a very destructive page in its modern history, and it seemed that a post–Daesh era was about to create relief for the parties concerned. The post-Daesh era would have meant that the policies and the alliances borne out of these failed policies that characterised the last seven years would come to an end, and that a new vision, or, at the very least, new approaches would be adopted by the main belligerents, to deal with the disastrous consequences of those years that have saw the near disintegration of major Arab powers.
4 November 2017 took everyone by surprise. It was an irrefutable proof that the Saudi-Iranian confrontation—that was one of the main drivers for the mayhem in the Middle East in the last few years—is here to stay, and with vehemence, as if the fight against Daesh had put under the carpet the confrontation by proxies, be it in Lebanon, Syria, or Yemen.
The Saudis, after they had received the Iraqi prime minister and decided to return their ambassador to Baghdad, opened up a new front against Iran in Lebanon. They invited the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri to Saudi Arabia and less than 24 hours after his arrival, he read a letter of resignation from his post, accusing Hezbollah of creating "a state within a state" in his home country, saying that Iran is interfering in the domestic affairs of various Arab governments. What was more surprising in his speech was his promise to "cut" Iranian influence in the Middle East. The same day, and according to official Saudi sources, the Riyadh International Airport was targeted by a ballistic missile from the northern part of Yemen populated by the Houthis, Yemen's Shiites.
Saad Al-Hariri, only returned to Lebanon 17 days after his sudden resignation.
He flew to Paris on 18 November, based on the invitation of Emmanuel Macron, the French president, who has been playing a significant role in untangling a regional dilemma. Al-Hariri tweeted on 15 November that he would return to Lebanon a few days later. Michel Aoun, the Lebanese president had said on 18 November that Al-Hariri would be back in Lebanon by 22 November to attend the official celebration of Lebanese independence. Al-Hariri indeed arrived in Beirut the night before the celebrations.
On the eve of Al-Hariri's departure to Paris, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, in a joint press conference with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on Thursday, 16 November in Riyadh, said that there is a "consensus" within the" world community "that Hezbollah must be" dealt with one way or another." Al-Jubeir added that it is a "terrorist organisation par excellence, and it must disarm." Furthermore, he left no doubt that his government is trying to form some kind of an international alliance against Hezbollah, and, indirectly, against Iran, its main regional backer.
One major ally in this confrontation with Iran is Israel. For the first time, Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot gave an interview to an online Saudi news outlet, published last week, in which he said that Israel is prepared to share intelligence information regarding Hezbollah with Saudi Arabia. The two countries share common interests in containing Iran and the pro-Iranian proxies. In this unprecedented interview, the Israeli chief of staff said, "we [Israel] certainly recognise the destabilising influence of Iran. We recognise this ...Saudi Arabia recognises it...."
A new chapter is opening in the Middle East, and it is too early to say, whether it would bring security, stability, and prosperity to the region.
Where does Egypt stand in relation to the coming storms in the Middle East?
That is a question that I will deal with in my next article.
Hussein Haridi, Egyptian ambassador and former assistant foreign minister


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