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Desperate Cairo turns to China

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WASHINGTON – Egypt’s economic desperation is forcing Cairo to turn to China, which itself is seeking a bigger presence in the Middle East and will be all too happy to help, especially if Western financial assistance is slow in coming, according to report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Egypt has been waiting for sorely needed loans of $1.6 billion from the United States and $4.8 billion from the International Monetary Fund, which needs U.S. approval.

However, such help for Egypt’s chronically ill economy hasn’t been forthcoming, due largely to politics stemming from U.S. objections, particularly from the U.S. Congress, on the political direction of the Muslim Brotherhood of which Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is a member.

Analysts say, however, that it isn’t China alone on which Morsi will focus. There also is India, a fellow member in the Non-Aligned Movement of countries. India is Egypt’s second largest destination for its exports.

These analysts suggest that Morsi is thinking about joining the BRICS group of countries with India’s backing. The BRICS countries are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The combined population of the BRICS countries greatly exceeds that of the West and opens up major economic opportunities for Cairo. At the same time, these countries see Egypt as an avenue for them to extend their influence in the Middle East.

Egypt also is looking to Japan and used the third annual Japan-Arab Economic Forum held last December to seek more Japanese investment in the Egyptian economy.

Similarly, Egypt and South Korea recently have worked out economic agreements, with Samsung, for example, deciding to set up a factory in Egypt, which would be the company’s first factory in the Middle East.

Morsi also wants to set up free trade agreements with Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam as a way to handle Egypt’s economic woes.

Analysts say that Morsi’s turn to Asia may be a welcome relief to the general Egyptian population, which wasn’t thrilled with Egypt’s foreign policy initiatives under deposed President Hosni Mubarak, especially the strategic alliance he had with the U.S. and Israel.

In their minds, the Egyptian people see their deteriorating economic situation amplified by a decline of Egyptian influence in international affairs – when Egypt once was at the center of the entire Arab world.

In attempting to chart a new course, Egypt not only is looking eastward but recently has made diplomatic overtures to Iran and to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, as WND/G2Bulletin previously has reported. Both were regarded as adversaries during the Mubarak period.

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