It appears, however, that the quiet Egyptian pivot has not gone unnoticed by the US and its mid-east allies, and on Monday, Saudi Arabia informed Egypt that critical shipments of oil products expected under a $23 billion aid deal have been halted indefinitely, which according to Reuters suggests a deepening rift between the Arab world's richest country and its most populous.
The official narrative is that while Saudi Arabia has been a major donor to Egypt since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seized power in a violent countercoup in mid-2013, Riyadh has become frustrated with Sisi's lack of economic reforms and his reluctance to be drawn into the conflict in Yemen. During a visit by Saudi King Salman in April, Saudi Arabia agreed to provide Egypt with 700,000 tonnes of refined oil products per month for five years but the cargoes stopped arriving in early October as festering political tensions burst into the open.
"They did not give us a reason," an oil ministry official told Reuters. "They only informed the authority about halting shipments of petroleum products until further notice."
So with Saudi Arabia turning a cold shoulder to Egypt, what options are left? Well, one: "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", and sure enough oil minister , Saudi Arabia's main political rival, to try to strike new oil deals, hinting that Egypt may be the latest to join a fledgling mid-east axis which includes Iran, Syria, Russia and just perhaps, Turkey.
With the Russian fleet set to arrive in Syria in a few days, keep a close eye on what Egypt's next move will be.