In Shift, Egypt Warms to Iran and Hamas, Israel's Foes

(New York Times) David D. Kirkpatrick - Egypt is charting a new course in its foreign policy, planning to open the blockaded border with Gaza and normalizing relations with two of Israel and the West's Islamist foes, Hamas and Iran. Egyptian officials say that they are moving toward policies that more accurately reflect public opinion. Egypt's shifts are likely to alter the balance of power in the region, allowing Iran new access to a previously implacable foe and creating distance between itself and Israel, which has been watching the changes with some alarm. "We are troubled by some of the recent actions coming out of Egypt," said one senior Israeli official, citing a "rapprochement between Iran and Egypt" as well as "an upgrading of the relationship between Egypt and Hamas." "These developments could have strategic implications on Israel's security," the official said. Egyptian Ambassador Menha Bakhoum, spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, emphasized that Egypt is keeping all its commitments, including the peace treaty with Israel. But she said that the blockade of the border with Gaza and Egypt's previous enforcement of it were both "shameful," and that Egypt intended soon to open up the border "completely." Many Egyptian analysts, including some former officials and diplomats who served under Mubarak, say they are thrilled with the shift. "This is the new feeling in Egypt, that Egypt needs to be respected as a regional power," said Emad Gad, a foreign policy expert at the official Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

2011-04-29 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive