Arabian Rational Actor Model

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Egypt’s handover of Tiran Islands to Saudi Arabia
Analyzed by the Rational Actor Model Linda Bongers

In the last couple of months, Egypt´s president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and both their foreign ministers have held a number of high-level talks. It seems that they have not only continued their old alliance, but are strengthening it too. Last April, after one of those meetings, president Sisi announced that he will transfer two small islands, Tiran and Sanafir, located in the Red Sea, to Saudi Arabia. These islands are controlled from Cairo since 1950, subsequent to the request from Saudi Arabia’s founder King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud to protect it. Because of their location, the islands are strategically important for various countries, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Despite the authorities are emphasizing that the islands had always been Saudi territory, president Sisi faces sharp criticism for ‘selling out’ Egyptian land.
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The foundation of the Rational Actor Model is the assumption that every decision or action is motivated by a conscious calculation of advantages, thus motivated by rational behavior. By following the Rational Actor Model, we can thus assume that the choice to give the Tiran islands to Saudi Arabia was, after considering all the alternatives and their resulting consequences, the most value-maximizing rational
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