Cairo/Istanbul: Four years back, the countries like Egypt and Turkey who were a part of the attempt to overthrow the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government with Saudi Arabia’s support currently seem to have changed their positions. This claim has been made in an article published by the ‘Center for American Progress’, a study group based in the US. It is being claimed that the new stance adopted by the countries like Turkey and Egypt which are considered to be amongst the prominent countries in the Middle East, would be reassuring for President Assad. It is also being said that Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict has been instrumental to the change in positions of these Middle Eastern countries.
Iran is insistant for Egypt to participate in the talks concerning Syria at an international level in October. Later, Egypt voted in favour of the resolution drafted by Russia on issues concerning Syria at the United Nations Security Council. A few days back, Syria’s head of security bureau, Ali Mamlouk made a public foreign visit to Egypt. Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, had assured his approval to send a peacekeeping force for helping pro-Assad national armies in Syria in an interview held in November.
The change in President Sisi’s stance is attributed to many factors as claimed by the American analyst Brian Katulis. The factors like Arab Nationalist resurrection of the 1960’s in the Middle East, threat from refugees and the ‘IS’, attempts of internal rebellian, Turkey’s growing clout amongst global Islamic nations and the recent change of regime in the US. Due to these factors, President Sisi seems to have put the challenges like end of financial aid from Saudi Arabia and imposing threat of Iran on the back burner.
On the other hand, change in Turkey’s aggressive stance of uprooting Assad regime has come as a shock. A few days ago, the Turkish President Recep Erdogan while speaking on issues concerning Syria assured that Turkey’s involvement in Syria is only limited to its fight against terrorism. Turkey has refrained from commenting on the Russian military preceedings in Aleppo against the Syrian rebellion. This reaction from Turkey comes as a surprise as Turkey had supported the rebellion fighting against the Assad government on a large scale. It is being claimed that the change in Turkey stance can be attributed to its trade agreements with Russia being prioritised.
The change in positions of countries like Egypt and Turkey by disengaging with Saudi Arabia and by supporting Assad’s regime will possibly pose a new challenge to the US and its allies like the Saudi Arabia.