Monday, September 03, 2012

Egypt, Like Iran, Does Not See A Need To Take Obama Administration Seriously

Egypt has recently turned down a U.S. request to stop an Iranian ship carrying weapons to Syria, according to a report in Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper.
Haaretz, Egypt turns down U.S. request to inspect Iranian arms ship on way to Syria

Barry Rubin writes about the significance of the Egyptian refusal to accede to the US request to inspect the Iranian ship:
I could write a 300-page book on how the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy has damaged Israel. I could write an 800-page book about how the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy has damaged U.S. interests. But why bother?

This is all you need to know:
The U.S. government asked its good buddy Egyptian President al-Mursi to inspect an Iranian ship suspected of carrying arms to Syria while it passed through the Suez Canal. Remember that to do so is arguably in Egypt’s own interest since Cairo is supporting the rebels while Tehran backs the regime.
Read the whole thing.
Rubin points out the Egypt has turned down the request despite
  • Three decades of massive U.S. aid,
  • Licensing to produce advanced American tanks and other equipment
  • Strategic backing
  • An invitation for Morsi to Washington to meet Obama
Even though this refusal does not signify an alliance between Egypt and Iran against US interests, it does illustrate that Egypt and Morsi will only help US interests if they advance its own interests.

Does this mean Egypt is going to ally with Iran? No, Egypt will fight Iran for influence tooth and nail. The two countries will kill the others’ surrogates. But it means al-Mursi feels no friendlier toward America than he does toward Iran. And Cairo will not lift a finger to help Washington against Tehran unless by doing so the Egyptian Brotherhood advances its own cause of putting more Sunni Islamists (anti-Americans, of course) into power.

This contrasts with Defense Secretary Panetta's unwavering faith that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are interested in democracy:
I was convinced that President Mursi is his own man and ... that he is truly committed to implementing democratic reforms here in Egypt.
Just one more indication that the Obama administration's foreign policy towards Egypt, like its policy towards Iran, is based more on wishful thinking instead of taking action.

And that Egypt, like Iran, sees no reason to take the Obama administration seriously.

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