2021 ECFA Annual Conference on “U.S.-China strategic rivalry and its repercussions on the Middle East”
The 2021 annual conference of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, under the theme “U.S.-China strategic rivalry and its repercussions on the Middle East”, emphasized the need to launch initiatives aimed at unifying Arab countries within the framework of the League of Arab States, and mobilizing African brethren to support issues, visions, and positions of Arab countries on various issues. In this context, the idea of formulating a comprehensive Arab strategy for Arab national security was raised, especially since the participants in the conference, an elite group of experts, specialists and diplomats, have agreed that a new world order is about to be born, with growing possibilities of the formation of a multipolar world order giving a greater role to middle countries or regional powers to play a stronger role, more likely than the possibilities of the formation of a bipolar, or multipolar global order.
Discussions during the conference sessions, held on December 28, 2021, revealed the subversive role played by non-Arab regional states threatening the region’s security and stability. In this context, it was emphasized that the rift that afflicted the Arab order is what led to the growing regional influence of these countries, which requires the Arab countries to activate a mechanism for collective security and consensus on the nature and priorities of the risks and threats facing the region, including attempting to revive efforts aimed at establishing the joint Arab force, which was led by Egypt in 2015 which did not bear fruit, due to the positions of some Arab League states. The session also clarified that the overlapping economic interests between the two rival U.S. and Chinese powers would impose more movement restrictions on the Arab countries, and that the only way to confront this is to try to establish as balanced relations as possible with each of them.
One of the Conference’s sessions valued the principles of modern Egyptian foreign policy; in terms of diversifying political options and sources of armament, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, preserving their territorial sovereignty, not taking sides at the expense of another side to the detriment of the national security of other states, and resolving disputes by peaceful means. In this context, the session called for the importance of Egypt moving forward in reducing dependence on the outside, diversifying the Egyptian foreign policy options vis-à-vis the various forces, as well as building on the policy of diversifying armament that Egypt started in 2014, and also strengthening a network of new alliances, alike the tripartite cooperation between Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, thus to achieve their interests and enhance the flexibility of their movement in light of the ongoing international fluctuations and the developments that follow; including the need to activate and revitalize the Egyptian role in the Arab world and Africa, since this role is closely linked to the process of economic recovery and the achievements of the Egyptian state at the domestic level.