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Paradoxes of Egyptian-Saudi Relations

David Schenker and Simon Henderson

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Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst

December 2009

During the 1960s, Egypt and Saudi Arabia fought an eight-year proxy war in Yemen so fierce that Egypt repeatedly deployed chemical weapons against its Saudi-backed adversaries, the Yemeni royalists.

Fifty years on, the revolutionary ideology of Egypt's former president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, is a distant memory, and while Cairo and Riyadh have since periodically engaged in non-lethal competition for the mantle of Arab leadership, today regional developments -- in particular the ascendance of Iran -- have conspired to bring the Sunni, pro-US authoritarian states closer.

© IHS (Global) Limited, Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst. Reproduced with permission.