Egypt and Middle East: The Perspective of a Senior Diplomat | Mohamed Badri, Egyptian Ambassador

On December 19, 2019, Dr. Mohamed Badri, the current Egyptian Ambassador to China, gave a lecture entitled “Egypt and Middle East: The Perspective of a Senior Diplomat” at the Institute of International and Area Studies (IIAS) of Tsinghua University.

First of all, Dr. Badri analyzed the difference between the Arab revolution in 2011 and the European Revolution. He believed that the “Arab Spring” was a reaction to the failure of the post-colonial political system constructed by the Westphalian system and the Sykes-Pico system. He believed that the problem with the “Arab Spring” is that its reforms were too radical and changed the foundation of the national rule. The current challenge for governance in the Middle East is that the region is full of heterogeneity, that is, there are multiple legitimacy and the main competitive discourse is concentrated between the nation-state and Islamic universalism.

Subsequently, he reviewed the modern and contemporary history of the Middle East countries to interpret the current situation. Dr. Badri pointed out that at the time when the caliphate system in the Islamic world was about to end in the 19th century, Egypt modernized through its military to become the first nation-state in the Middle East, breaking the Islamic universalism represented by the Ottoman Empire at that time. In Egypt’s 2013 revolution, the army once again used nationalism to break the universalism represented by the Muslim Brotherhood. History is always repeating itself, and the current nation-state construction is the best solution to break the heterogeneous predicament of the Middle East.

Finally, Dr. Badri had a lively interaction with the audience on issues such as China-Egypt relations and Arab nationalism.

By Duan Jiuzhou