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Egypt Opening its Door to Iran - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I have read more than one Egyptian opinion stressing the necessity for Egypt to abandon its antagonism towards the Iranian regime, which was a highly controversial feature of the Mubarak regime’s foreign policy, and a prop upon which all existing alliances have been created. The bulk of calls to end such an antagonism have been issued by the former opposition, who now constitute part of the revolution; including the Nasserite forces and the Muslim Brotherhood, who established a special relationship with the Tehran regime after the Khomeini revolution took place. These people today are active in determining the future direction of Egyptian politics.

We are now facing a new Egyptian regime which may be significantly different to the one we experienced in the past, and it may be revolutionary in the fullest sense of the word. It could be a revolutionary regime like Iran; which seems intent on challenging the world. It may choose to return to the model of Egypt prior to 1969, by opening a confrontation front with Israel. Egypt may also tend towards a confrontation with the West, or perhaps disagreements with regional powers, in a manner totally contrary to the Mubarak regime, against whom the revolution was staged. Mubarak’s policy was to avoid opening fronts with any party. He did not go to any war except when he sent a symbolic force to participate in the liberation of Kuwait some 20 years ago, as part of a 70 country agreement to form a military alliance, which lasted for a few weeks. Mubarak declined to wage wars against Israel, Sudan, Ethiopia, Iran or even Hamas, although each of these entities had provoked his regime at some stage.

If the new Egyptian regime, which is yet to be formed because of the interim period we are now experiencing, chooses to build up an alliance with Iran – which would be a major shock and would greatly disturb the balance of power in the region – it would be the Egyptian people’s choice and their natural right, and no one would be able to object.

However, I seriously an Egyptian shift towards Iran, although my readings of the events are incomplete, for the situation keeps reacting and changing constantly, and it is hard to predict how it will end, and in what direction events will go. Present-day Egypt has social features that are conceptually different to Iran. The revolution was staged mostly by youths who do not share the Iranian revolutionary mentality, rather they contrast completely with it. Above all, Iran itself is now in a state of revolution, despite Ahmadinejad’s attempts to dictate his extremist religious current to the people. In fact, he is facing a youth revolution exactly as happened in Egypt. The Iranian regime will definitely have to change; if not because of revolution in the street, then as a result of the enormous pressure exerted from abroad today.

In fact, there are no more revolutionary regimes in the world today, except North Korea and Venezuela. Even Cuba now is going through a bloodless coup d’etat. Regionally, revolutionary regimes have also been undermined; and the revolutionary status of Libya, Syria and Sudan has been eliminated, as a result of the recent developments. Thus, it would be an overstatement to speak of an Egyptian-Iranian alliance, but Egypt will definitely come to a stage where it must assess its options, both internally and externally.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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