How Syria is pushing Egypt and Iran closer

On Oct. 10, Saudi Aramco reportedly informed the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, Egypt’s state oil company, that it would halt the supply of refined oil products. However, a day later, an Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation official announced that such supplies would be resumed.

The big picture appears to be that the recent string of meetings between senior Iranian and Egyptian officials could signal the beginning of unprecedented cooperation between the two countries. This warming could lead to a final normalization of ties and also potentially coordinated action on the Syrian crisis. In this vein, the confusion surrounding Iran’s participation in the Oct. 15 multilateral talks on Syria in Switzerland is particularly noteworthy.

According to an Iranian diplomat who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, Tehran initially refused to attend the meeting and only decided to do so on the condition that Iraq and Egypt be included as well. Indeed, on Oct. 14, a day before the talks, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari announced that Iran, Egypt and Iraq would join the meeting.

This maneuver is far from good news for the United States and Saudi Arabia, as it suggests that the weight of the Iran-Russia axis in the multilateral dialogue on Syria could be growing. Nonetheless, although the Syrian crisis could be a game-changer in Iran-Egypt ties, it remains to be seen whether Egypt will fully side with the Iran-Russia axis and stand up to Saudi and US pressures.

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