Ahmadinejad woos Egypt into alliance
Ahmadinejad dreams of praying in Jerusalem! And yet, he cannot make it. So, Gaza appears to be a reasonable alternative even if he needs Israeli approval to do it. Obviously, his aspirations are huge. He aspires to expand his influence in the region and to liberate Palestine. He underscores that such an objective is doable if the Egyptian and Iranian positions are the same.
No doubt, this is a religious message with political ramifications. He resembles those who ran away from hell but found no one but themselves to speak to. But his move does not work anymore. Iran has some commercial ties with Israel and denying that is impossible. The reality is that Iran tries to fool everyone through deception and political hypocrisy. Even the fallacy of resistance was exposed the moment the weapon of “resistance” was directed at the Syrians and Lebanese.
Both Egypt and Iran are experiencing political crises. In Egypt, the crisis is with the people. The Muslim Brotherhood leadership seeks to make the state and its institutions subject to their domination. Interestingly, the Brothers of Egypt, despite their strong relations with Washington, are inspired by the Iranian security model. In this light, a senior security delegation recently flew to Cairo for the sake of securing coordination between Tehran and the Brothers. But Iran has been experiencing a crisis vis-à-vis the external world. It supports terrorism and extremism, defends Assad, has some pockets of influence in different regions and exploits every opportunity to display its hostility toward the West and Israel. Iran thinks, that by antagonizing the West and Israel, it can gain sympathy and can be seen as a victim.
Ahmadinejad lives in a crisis and a struggle with clergymen. Also, Tehran is living the same last moments of the regimes of Saddam and Qaddafi. Because of economic and political challenges, both Saddam and Qaddafi resorted to metaphysical discourse to address the other instead of solving the problems. Saddam pushed his intelligence services and informers to create the impression that his pictures appeared in the moon, and Qaddafi did similar things when he wrapped his speeches in spiritual and metaphysical concepts. A few years ago, Ahmadinejad tried to turn the table on the clergymen and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He stressed that he and Rahim Mashaei could communicate with the hidden or absent imam. He added that the hidden imam would appear in America and that they had to get ready to receive him.
The visit of Ahmadinejad to Cairo should not be taken at face value. It is true that it took place within the context of an Islamic conference, but sinking people always speak the same language and that they live the idea of the redeemer. They insist that they have huge aspirations while their people suffer from a lack of development and the likelihood of an internal national split.
The festive reception of Ahmadinejad had various reasons. It is not easy to relinquish power. The American administration facilitated their assumption of power by having the military cooperate. But now the Americans are telling them that the Brothers’ success depends on addressing the problems of the people. Against this backdrop, the Brothers have nothing but this useless religious language. Prior to his visit to Cairo, Ahmadinejad insinuated that an alliance with Egypt was possible and that Tehran was ready to solve Egypt’s financial problems and to help enhance Egypt’s regional role. Put differently, the Iranians are looking for another ally in case Assad departs and in case the Iraqi spring becomes a reality.
After the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood to attract Arabs and Muslims and after their failure to blackmail the UAE and Kuwait, they are seeking to blackmail the others by cultivating a relationship with Iran. Ahmadinejad emphasized mutual interest and he played the economic card to sway the Egyptian president. He offered Egypt an interest-free loan. Obviously, the new Iranian-Egyptian relationship is one that is based on interests and reflects the desire of both countries to send different messages to different players.
The position of Al-Azhar is worth noting. Al-Azhar insists that Iran respects the sovereignty of Egypt and has stopped exploiting the needs of the Egyptian people to spread the Shiism. Equally important, Al-Azhar called on Iran to take an anti-Assad position and stop messing with the Gulf countries’ internal affairs. Additionally, Salafists expressed their concern over this visit because of the implicit and undeclared objectives that can destabilize Egypt.
Iran, as well as Ahmadinejad, is going through a real crisis. By striking some Syrian sites, Israel exposed the vulnerability of Iran. Iran should be embarrassed after the strike as it kept saying that targeting Syria was the same as targeting Iran. Evidently, Iran is in a political and economic crisis even though it spends billions to support a weak state. The irony is that the Iranian people are suffering due to the economic situation. In their bid to win, Iranian leaders used everything possible, including monkeys and the hidden imam, as political propaganda.
Some sources say that Washington had told Tel Aviv that it did not object to a strike on Iranian and Syrian military targets. The Israeli air force discovered some chemical gas emanating from the Biqa’ Lebanese area after an explosion at one of Hezbollah’s sites. The explosion was possible due to bad storage practices. This begs the question: Has Chuck Hegel, the new American Secretary of Defense, received an approval from the president to arm the Syrian opposition? Hegel will tour the Gulf region to discuss the Iranian nuclear program.