Resetting U.S.-Egyptian Relations

March 28, 2014 Topic: Global GovernanceTerrorism Region: EgyptUnited States

Resetting U.S.-Egyptian Relations

How to get two historic partners back on track.

Second, candid conversations among the two countries’ top leaders aimed at sensitizing one another to their respective priorities and concerns. With a narrower gap in narratives and greater understanding of one another concerns, both sides may move to refrain from actions—such as restricting certain forms of aid on the U.S. side and jailing secular-liberal critics and protesters on Egypt’s side—that poison U.S.-Egyptian relations. Indeed, such engagement would give the U.S. opportunities to incentivize the Egyptian military to allow the youth and liberal organizations a much greater role in politics, thus increasing their chances of becoming one day a third political force. The common interest of both sides in combating terrorism makes such engagement not only necessary but also urgent.

Abdel Monem Said Aly is Chairman of the Board, CEO, and Director of the Regional Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo, Chairman of Al-Masry Al-Youm, and a Senior Fellow at Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East Studies; Shai Feldman is the Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Brandeis Crown Center. A more detailed version of this article appears simultaneously as a Crown Center Middle East Brief.

Image: Flickr/mikeporterinmd. CC BY-SA 2.0.

[1] David D. Kirkpatrick and Mayy El-Sheikh, “Citing Deadlock, Egypt’s Leader Seizes New Power and Plans Mubarak Retrial,” New York Times, November 22, 2012.="#_ftnref1">

[2] Ibid. See also Roger Cohen, “The Egyptian Disaster,” New York Times, January 27, 2014. ="#_ftnref2">

[3] See Bobby Ghosh, “Viewpoint: Egypt No Longer Matters,” TIME, August 18, 2013; Aaron David Miller, “Obama’s Egypt’s Policy Makes Perfect Sense,” Foreign Policy, August19, 2013; Aaron David Miller, “America Has Nowhere to Go on Egypt,” New York Times, November 12, 2013.