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Last week, I published an article in this column under the title “How were our national security capabilities designed?” Which sought to clarify two main ideas; The first is that national security capabilities are often established on the basis of an accurate diagnosis of the energy and types of threats, and the second is that the change in the nature of these threats dictates the need to develop our national security capabilities in a way that responds to the challenges they impose.
Last week, President El-Sisi spoke to citizens, during the 32nd educational symposium of the armed forces, on the sidelines of the celebrations of the glorious October victory, and from what he said during this seminar that “Egypt cannot be defeated by a war from outside.”
The president had also spoken during his inauguration of a number of development projects on the sidelines of the celebrations of the “June Revolution”, more than three months ago, referring to the concept of Egypt’s national security as “it does not end at its political borders.”
We understand from the two speeches of the president, which are a little more than a hundred days apart, that he is preoccupied with the developments that have occurred in the concept of Egyptian national security on the one hand, and that he seeks to re-diagnose this concept with the formulation of capabilities that can bear the burden of new challenges on the other hand.
In his own statement that the concept of “Egypt’s national security does not end at its political borders,” we understand that the Egyptian state is aware, aware and working to expand this concept in a way that is different from what it has been used to during the nearly four decades following the glorious October War, a concept that ranges between regional interventions The frugal and limited one on the one hand, and the regional strategic latency that seemed dominant over the past two decades on the Egyptian foreign policy on the other hand.
This change in the leadership’s discourse regarding the scope of the Egyptian national security will explain to us what we witnessed when the President drew red lines for the Turkish intervention in Libya in a way that changed the balance of the conflict in that sister country and formulated new rules for it, and what we are witnessing of Egyptian activities aimed at securing our national security capabilities and protecting our interests at sea. The Mediterranean, and what we know about efforts aimed at enhancing our African strategic depth against the backdrop of the challenges of the “Renaissance Dam”.
On the other hand, the president’s clear expression that Egypt cannot be defeated by a war from outside, but rather confirms on the one hand the ability of the armed forces and their readiness to repel any external attack; It is something we all know that the state has spent enormous efforts and resources to ensure it, while indicating on the other hand that undermining Egypt’s national security remains a possibility when the targeting is done at home.
While our current national security capabilities are promoting deterrence of external threats through their strategic readiness, solid fundamentals, and the degree of their balance with potential threat sources, threats targeting the home still raise questions. With regard to threats targeting the home, there is a big problem that President El-Sisi has always emphasized on their seriousness and called for a response. This problem is simply related to the demise of the line between the tactical and the strategic in these threats. Given that it targets collective awareness, civil cohesion, public confidence and rates of satisfaction with national performance, it goes beyond the scope of direct targeting by a solid, hostile force, and it uses a thoughtful mixture of ideas and technology that does not hinder it from achieving its goals.
Due to the nature of threats targeting internally, special national security capabilities must be created to address them. These are capabilities that the dividing line between strategic and tactical will naturally disappear, and their development will require a cultural, political and social sense as well as security approaches.
What is the nature of those capabilities? How do we own it? This is the subject of a future article, God willing.
- The situation in Egypt