As a candidate, Mr Biden had said there would be “no more blank checks for Trump’s ‘favorite dictator'” – that is, Mr el-Sisi, whose authoritarianism growing has attracted much criticism. Although the Egyptian president was the first Arab leader to congratulate Mr Biden after the election, Mr Biden waited until last week to return the appeal.
But after this cold start to their relationship, Egypt sought to capitalize on the Gaza crisis to solidify its ties with the new administration. Mr. Blinken will meet with Mr. el-Sisi in Cairo, offering the Egyptian leader the opportunity not only to reaffirm his nation’s relationship with the United States, but also to promote Egypt’s status as a regional broker and leader among Arab countries.
Although this status has faded for years as Egypt fell into domestic turmoil and richer Arab states asserted themselves in the region, Cairo has enjoyed generally harmonious relations with Washington in recent years until when the Biden administration arrived, which put human rights at the center. of its foreign policy strategy.
The administration, however, has not fundamentally changed the terms of the relationship with Cairo, which focuses on the $ 1.3 billion in military aid that Egypt receives annually from the United States, a sub -historical product of its peace deal with Israel in 1979. The State Department approved a $ 197 million arms sale to Egypt in February, around the time Egypt halted the cousins of an Egyptian-American dissident, Mohamed Soltan, in what Soltan said was an attempt to pressure him to stop criticizing him.
The conflict could also serve to continue to mend the U.S.-Jordan relationship that had been largely sidelined under the Trump administration. At least two million Palestinian refugees live in Jordan, and its Hashemite monarchy is the guardian of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites.
Blinken’s visit comes at a difficult time in Israeli politics, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading a caretaker government that may be in its dying days, after four inconclusive elections in two years, and without clear picture of what lies ahead.
Experts in the region said Blinken should maneuver carefully between expressing his administration’s unwavering support for Israel and its security while not handing out any gifts that could be seen as interfering with Mr. Netanyahu’s predicament.