Walaa Abu Steit – Cairo
A former Egyptian government official has accused Turkey of adopting what he described as “fascist” policies, calling on the international community to take firm action against Ankara for its blatant interference in the affairs of the counties of the Middle East region.
Mohmed al-Orabi, who served as Egypt’s foreign minister in 2011, stated during a seminar organized in Cairo by the Tahrir Centre for Studies, an Egyptian think tank, that World War II erupted when the world fell silent over Germany’s fascism. “The world does not need to forget this”, Orabi said. “Turkey will cause harm to the world”.
Orabi stated that Arab countries, especially Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are mindful of the moves of the Turkish government. These countries, he observed, had started rallying the international community against Turkey. “This is especially true with Turkey making its presence felt in more than one Arab state”, he noted.
He pointed out that Turkey occupies territories in countries like Libya, Syria and Iraq. It also, he said, builds military bases in other countries, such as Qatar and Somalia. “Turkey also supports Islamist movements, including the Islah Party in Yemen and the Ennahda Party in Tunisia”, he noted.
Orabi warned that the current conditions faced by Arab countries in the region are unprecedented.
These conditions, he said, test the strategic plans of any country in the region: “For the first time in history, eight armies are deployed in an Arab country, namely Syria”.
Fast-paced developments in the region were making it difficult for regional strategic planners to carry out their appointed tasks.
Orabi then commented on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak which started in China and then spread to the rest of the world. He stated that it has undermined China’s credibility to the point where some African states have stopped importing goods from China. He stated that China needed to work hard in the coming months to restore confidence with the international community.
The United States, he observed, had accused China and the World Health Organization (WHO) of being responsible for the spread of the pandemic. US President Donald Trump had blamed China for the emergence of the disease and even called it the “Chinese virus”. Trump had accused Beijing of hiding information about the disease and accused WHO of glossing over the mistakes that China had made in this regard.
The Belt and Road Initiative
Orabi spoke about the Belt and the Road Initiative, which has been proposed and advanced by China, aimed at connecting Beijing with the rest of the world within an economic and political framework. He observed that this initiative has been negatively impacted by the reaction of the world to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The pandemic has caused the initiative to come to a screeching halt”, he concluded. He also questioned some of China’s positions, including its involvement in the conflict between Iran and the US. China, he suggested, was getting embroiled in a volatile region, which may not bring any gains to it. Orabi also pointed to some of China’s initiatives, which do not deal objectively with some of the issues of the region, as he saw it.
“We will not, of course, forget its position towards the Ethiopian Nile dam”, he observed. China’s support for the construction of the dam, he contended, will deprive Egypt of a sizeable portion of its water share from the Nile River. “This raises questions about China and its policies”, he noted.
Not a military match
Orabi also analysed the China-US geopolitical and military situation. He concluded that the Covid-19 pandemic had detrimentally impacted upon China’s position in the world. He concluded that, at this point, the US has more power than China: “At the end, this discredits expectations by some people that China can prove to be an actual rival of the US”.