Friday, December 25, 2009

Egypt back on centre stage?

The steel wall Egypt is erecting on its border with Gaza has given Egypt a whiff of the former importance it once held in the Arab world. Seen as a puppet of the United States, Egypt has, since the signing of the peace deal, moved when the United States has ordered it to, spoken when the United States has ordered it to, and remained silent when ordered to do so. As a result, the role of Egypt has been usurped by countries such as Syria and even Saudi Arabia. But the erection of the steel wall has given Mubarak's regime a leverage that it has long been missing. Iran might be a little concerned about the wall, and Larijani's visit to Cairo last Sunday may be taken as a sign of this worry. Khaled Mishaal in turn has also gone to Tehran, most likely to discuss how Hamas is to deal with Fatah and Egypt during the upcoming negotiations that we will be hearing of.

Where to from here? Iran will allow Egypt a "prominent" role in the Hamas-Fatah negotations, as a broker. A little bone is thrown to Mubarak before he dies and Egypt repays some of the political debt that it has accumulated.


qunfuz said...

Isn't it more likely that this is a sign of Egypt's weakness? With Hariri and the Sauds visiting Damascus, and Turkey leading the region, with its good relations with Syria and Iran, Egypt is shown to be irrelevant, and has to scramble to make nice to those it has insulted over the years. With this criminal wall, Egypt is falling ever deeper into Mubarak's gangster hell.

Maysaloon said...

Well yes and no. It's also helped put the Egyptians back on the centre stage, for all the wrong reasons. They will now have a say in the Palestinian negotiations, the attention of Iran and make themselves a more useful asset to Israel and the United States.

Lirun said...

i wish the egyptian were more conciliatory..

i dont like the sitting duck approach.. there is so much they could do to make this region more peaceful..

qunfuz said...

I agree with Lirun. They could actually start mowing down Palestinian civilians rather than just starving them. They could move into Gaza, kill a couple of hundred thousand, then send some planes to bomb south Lebanon. They could send a special assassination squad to take out the Algerian football team. Then they could convert to Judaism en masse, burn all the buildings in the country older than 20 years, put the star of David on their flag. They could make speaking Arabic illegal. Perhaps it's unrealistic to expect all this. But just two or three of these steps would start to bring Egypt into line with true human (as opposed to untermenschen) values.