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Egypt and the 3 Circles of Power

Egypt and the 3 Circles of Power

Al-Etihad, UAE, May 16

Egypt, in its geopolitical position, is the center of three circles, as defined by Abdel Nasser: the Arab circle, the Islamic circle, and the African circle. This positioning hasn’t been disputed since the revolution of July 23, 1952. Egypt is also the homeland that the Egyptian people have been associated with since ancient times. It is one of the oldest human civilizations and it has been the clashing ground for many foreign empires. It witnessed invasions from the northeast (the Arabs), from the north (the Greeks and Romans), and from the south (Sudan and Abyssinia). Therefore, isolating Egypt from its surroundings is a fatal act – both for Egypt and its surrounding nations. This was the goal of colonialism, which sought to marginalize Egypt and detach it from its circles of power. But Egypt is like a heart pumping blood into the organs; it is crucial for the survival of the countries that depend on it. The strength of Egypt depends on the extent to which it carries out its responsibilities in these three circles. In many ways, Egypt’s role in its Arab and Islamic circles is akin to Germany’s role in Europe or America’s role across the Atlantic: It is a center of gravity for the entire region. Therefore, Cairo’s policy has always been positive neutrality and nonalignment. Egypt embodies patriotism, pan-Arabism, and Islamism as interconnected, and equal, parts of its national identity. It has also played its role in supporting national liberation movements across the Middle East, including in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Yemen. Thanks to Egypt, the Middle East went through a process of Arabization. If you look at reform movements throughout the region, you will most certainly trace back many of them to Egypt. Therefore, maintaining power in these three circles is not only important to Egypt but also beneficial for the region. –Hassan Hanafi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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