Even more cooperation looks to be in the offing after a high-level meeting between Egypt’s president and Saudi Arabia’s king yesterday. The AP:
A Saudi official told The Associated Press the two leaders discussed el-Sissi’s proposal for a joint anti-terrorism force to tackle regional threats, particularly from Yemen, Libya and Syria. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.In an interview with the pan-Arab Al-Arabiya news channel broadcast this weekend, el-Sissi said the force would not be used for attacking “but for defending the security of our countries.”He said Jordan has expressed interest in creating such a force, which could include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Saudis appear to be summoning Sunni states across the Middle East to take a stand against both Iran and its proxies, and ISIS.Egypt might normally prefer to look almost exclusively westward, where the chaos in Libya both poses an explicit threat to its own security (radicals and weapons moving across the border) and an opportunity (huge oil reserves that somebody needs to guard). But the Saudis want and need Egypt to look east—Yemen in particular is where Saudis see their security as deeply threatened by Iran-backed forces.