The sun sets on the minarets and the Great Pyramids of Giza in Old Cairo, December 31, 2013.
Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

In an era where Arab regimes seem to be in constant battle, Egypt and Saudi Arabia—the cornerstones of a moderate Arab pro-American camp and counterweights to Iran—have not only continued their old alliance but have strengthened it, too. Following a U.S. retreat from its historically intense role in the Middle East, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are now finding themselves, for the first time in years, having to form policies without U.S. input. They must now decide how to face the possible implications of the Iran nuclear deal, the ongoing crises in Syria and Yemen, and the growing threat from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS).

Indeed, at the beginning of the year, Cairo and Riyadh announced that they were seeking to establish a joint military force, with Saudi Arabia providing most of the funding and Egypt providing most of the fighters. Then, in August,

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  • YOEL GUZANSKY is a Research Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of The Arab Gulf States and Reform in the Middle East.
  • OFIR WINTER is a Neubauer Research Associate at INSS and a lecturer at Ariel University.
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