Egyptian Special Forces heading for drills with Bahrain Forces in April, 2018- Press photo
CAIRO – 5 May 2018: The Egyptian constitution stipulates that sending military troops to a foreign country occurs only upon Parliament’s approval and under certain conditions, rules and principles regulated by constitutional and legal items, according to the undersecretary of the defense committee at the House of Representatives.
Yehia Kedwany, undersecretary of Parliament’s national security and defense committee, told Egypt Today on Saturday that the Egyptian constitution regulates the conditions and motives of sending military troops outside state territory. “Sending troops abroad must be approved by the Parliament and must take place under the U.N. umbrella,” he added.
“I rule out sending troops to foreign countries for any reason, except as a part of the U.N. peacekeeping missions to Syria or any other country,” Yehia stressed.
He asserted that Egypt has been exerting sincere efforts to maintain Syrian integrity and achieve the Syrian people’s aspirations. “Syrians should decide their fate alone, without foreign influence or interference so as to preserve Syrian stability,” he added.
Parliament's National Security and Defense Committe Deputy General Yehia Kedwani - File photo
Egypt does not send forces outside its territory, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement on Friday, stressing that such a decision is only subject to constitutional mechanisms and specific political and legal regulations.
The statement came to clarify Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s remarks to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram that sending Arab troops to Syria is a possible option in response to some questions raised over this topic.
Mohammad Rashad, former undersecretary of Egypt’s General Intelligence, said in press remarks that Egypt will continuously refuse U.S. requests to send armed forces to Syria. He added that Egypt is not interested in military intervention in Syria.
Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid
Constitutional steps to send Egyptian troops abroad
According to Article 152 of the Constitution, the president of the republic cannot send military troops to combat outside the state territory, except after consultation with the National Defense Council and the approval of Parliament with a two-thirds majority of its members.
I. The president, as per the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, has to submit a request to send Egyptian troops outside the state territory.
II. The supreme commander of the Armed Forces must specify the roles and motives behind sending troops abroad.
III. The National Defense Council will convene to discuss the request.
IV. The Parliament will convene and discuss the matter, which must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the parliamentarians.
If the Parliament, for any reason, does not exist, the matter of sending troops on a cross-border mission must be approved by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the Cabinet and the National Defense Council.
Egypt’s official stance on Syria
On November 22, 2016, Portuguese television interviewed President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who publicly expressed, for the first time, Egypt’s support for the Syrian army’s unity, while at the same time rejecting the possibility of Egyptian troops operating in Syria as part of U.N. forces.
"It is better for a country's national military forces to protect its own security and stability, so that sensitivities will not arise because of the presence of other forces,” Sisi noted in the interview.
President Sisi stressed that “the priority is that we support the national armies to impose control over the territory, deal with the extremists, and impose the necessary stability in Libya, Syria and Iraq.”
President el-Sisi, pictured with Portugal's president, right, during a state visit to Lisbon in November, 2016. (Jose Manuel Ribeiro/AFP)
U.S. proposal to send Arab troops to Syria
Earlier in April, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country, as a part of the U.S.-led coalition, may send troops to Syria.
In a news conference in Riyadh with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Jubeir noted that Riyadh had previously proposed this idea to former U.S. President Barack Obama.
As the U.S.-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes in Syria against ISIS since mid-2014, Riyadh expressed its readiness to send ground troops to Syria if necessary many times.
In February 2016, Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, advisor to the Saudi defense minister, told Al-Arabiya TV that his country “is ready to participate in any ground operations that the anti-ISIS coalition may agree to carry out in Syria.” In September 2014, the anti-ISIS coalition led by the U.S. started conducting airstrikes inside Syria. However, observers said the attacks did little damage to the terrorists; rather, they targeted the country’s infrastructure, according to media reports in 2014.
In September, 2015, Russia launched its own air offensive against ISIS terrorists. The Russian intervention was welcomed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as Moscow has been a powerful ally to the Iran-backed regime.
Saudi soldiers march past posters of Saudi royals including the king (AFP- File Photo)