Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak said that he would be visiting Russia in the beginning of November. The visit is said to become an important political event for Russia from the point of view of the current state of affairs in the Middle East. In addition, the Egyptian president is a very rare guest in Moscow.
Mubarak said that he was going to discuss the questions of Mideastern conflict regulation during his stay in Russia's capital. After the Moscow talks the Egyptian leader will fly to Beijing to discuss similar questions with Chinese politicians. Apparently Egypt intends to join forces with Russia and China – permanent UN Security Council members – taking into consideration the fact that Russia and China often share the same opinion on most important questions of regional politics. These particularly include the countries’ attitude to the nuclear program of Iran or the Lebanese crisis. Unlike Russia, however, China tries to stay aloof from big politics, gradually increasing its influence in the Arab world.
President Mubarak was one of the Arab leaders who did not welcome political activities of Hamas in Palestine. Furthermore, he did not try to conceal his aversion to Hezbollah. Both Hamas and Hezbollah are considered to be the enemies of the Egyptian regime, which tries to do its best to maintain the secular state structure and show resistance to radical groups in Egypt. It is an open secret that the cooperation between Egyptian and Israeli special services in the field of the Gaza Strip situation undermines the positions of Hamas in the Middle East.
It is worthy of note that such cooperation does not seem to be attractive to Russia. If radical forces lose their influence in the Middle East, the region will not need Russia’s assistance at all. Moscow can participate in Mideastern peace talks only if there are certain groups there that raise severe concerns with the US administration.
Even if Hosni Mubarak’s visit to Moscow will be held in the traditional atmosphere of warm declarations, Russia and Egypt will not be able to become political associates. Egypt’s present interests in the region contradict to those of Russia. Egypt stands closer to Israel or Jordan at this point and does not approach Russia, Syria or Iran as political partners. The situation is likely to change in the future, if Mubarak fails to preserve the succession of power gives an opportunity to radical leaders to take the government of Egypt. This scenario is hard to imagine today, but if it happens someday, Egypt will become another center of regional instability. In this case its new president will have something to talk about in Moscow indeed.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov