Egypt And Saudi Arabia: Marriage On The Rocks?

Cinzia Bianco is the co-author of this article. This post was originally published at LobeLog.

For several decades, the alliance between Egypt and Saudi Arabia has served as an anchor of a pro-Western geopolitical order in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Dating back to the 1970s, Cairo and Riyadh's mutual interests and concerns about common threats and shared opportunities have fostered strong ties between the Arab world's most populous state and its wealthiest one.

Egypt, which has faced major security, political, and economic challenges in recent years, has grown quite dependent on the oil-rich kingdom for financial aid. The Saudis, long reliant on external support for defense, have counted on Egypt as a strong and experienced military force to confront what they perceive to be Iran's expansionist and "aggressive" operations throughout the region.

Recently, however, the Cairo-Riyadh relationship has significantly deteriorated. In October, Egypt sided with Russia in yet another clash within the United Nations Security Council over Syria by voting with Moscow in favor of a Russian resolution that argued for a ceasefire in Syria excluding Aleppo. The move felt like an unexpected betrayal for Saudi Arabia, which for years has strongly opposed the axis crafted in Syria among Moscow, Tehran, Lebanese Hezbollah, and Damascus. Abdullah al-Muallami, Riyadh's envoy to the U.N., called Cairo's vote "painful," Just a few days later, Saudi Aramco announced its intention to suspend deliveries of petroleum to Egypt, a country that is constantly at risk of energy crises. Click here to continue reading Giorgio Cafiero is the CEO of Gulf State Analytics (@GulfStateAnalyt), a Washington, DC-based geopolitical risk consultancy.

*Cinzia Bianco (@Cinzia_Bianco) is an analyst at Gulf State Analytics and a regular contributor to several think tanks, including the NATO Defense College Foundation, and other outlets such as Limes.