Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Ahmadinejad visits Cairo: How sect tempers Islamist ties between Egypt, Iran

By Kristen Chick


Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (l.) and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, pose for photographers in Cairo




Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Egypt, the first by an Iranian leader since 1979, is historic. It may also prove worthless


JewishWorldReview.com |

SAIRO— (TCSM) Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cairo in the first visit of an Iranian leader to Egypt since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Although Mr. Ahmadinejad traveled to Egypt for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, not specifically to meet with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, his trip highlights the thaw in Egyptian-Iranian relations since an uprising unseated former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Egypt literally rolled out the red carpet for Ahmadinejad and President Morsi greeted the Iranian president with a kiss on the cheek as he welcomed him at the airport. Morsi made the first visit to Tehran by an Egyptian leader in three decades in August, also for a summit.

But while Ahmadinejad's visit is historic, analysts say it does not likely herald the start of close ties between the two regional powerhouses because Egypt has too much to lose with its Sunni Gulf backers and international allies.


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.


"There are very real constraints on Morsi's ability to concretely improve relations with Iran," says Elijah Zarwan, a Cairo-based senior policy fellow for the European Council on Foreign Relations. With Egyptian state institutions like the intelligence service opposed to strengthening ties with Iran, and Egypt's wealthy allies in the Gulf and the US also frowning at the prospect, "the costs to closer ties with Iran far outweigh the benefits," says Mr. Zarwan. The US, European countries, and Cairo's Sunni Gulf allies are all hostile to Shiite powerhouse Iran.

Egypt and Iran cut ties after a 1979 revolution brought hardline clerics to power in Tehran, while in Egypt then-president Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel. Egypt offered asylum to Iran's exiled leader, Shah Reza Pahlavi. Iran named a street in Tehran after the assassin who killed Sadat. Egypt soon became a major US ally in the region, while Iran became an enemy.

A LIMITED OUTREACH
Morsi began improving relations when he visited Tehran in August for a Non-Aligned Movement summit. Yet he used the visit to criticize Iran for being one of the biggest backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has lost the support of most of the Arab world for ordering a violent crackdown on his country's uprising, and to call for Assad to step down. He also made a subtle dig about Shiite Islam in his summit speech.

Still, the exchange of visits would have been unthinkable during Mr. Mubarak's reign.

Morsi is under pressure to distinguish himself from Mubarak's foreign policy, and thawing relations with Iran is part of his effort to establish a more independent foreign policy, says Zarwan. Last fall Morsi proposed an initiative to end the Syria crisis that involved Iran in a regional committee, and offered Iran incentives, including restored ties, to end support for the Syrian regime. Iran did not take Egypt's offer, but the Associated Press reports that the two leaders held a 20-minute talk about resolving the Syrian conflict after Ahmadinejad's arrival. The Iranian president also visited the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, a respected center of Sunni Muslim scholarship and learning.

And there are other benefits to ending the enmity between the two countries, says Mustapha Kamel Al Sayyid, a political science professor at the American University in Cairo. Egypt is on a very short list of nations that do not have diplomatic relations with Iran. "Even the United Arab Emirates, which has a territorial dispute with Iran, has diplomatic relations with Iran," he says. "Iran is a very important regional power, and it's in the interest of Egypt to have relations" with such a player.

THE GULF BETWEEN
But taking serious steps to improve ties with Iran in a more concrete way would come at a high cost for Egypt.

It risks jeopardizing ties with wealthy Gulf Arab countries that are hostile to Iran like Qatar, which recently gave Egypt $2.5 billion to shore up its finances amid a floundering economy. And the US, which accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons and has sought to isolate Tehran diplomatically while also levying sanctions on it, would also be deeply dismayed. The US gives Egypt around $1.5 billion every year, mostly in military aid, and its support is seen as key for the $4.8 billion IMF loan Egypt is seeking.

A State Department spokeswoman told reporters in a press briefing yesterday that Ahmadinejad's Cairo visit is "an opportunity for the Egyptian government to give him the same strong messages that the international community has been giving about their nuclear behavior, about their terrorist behavior, etcetera."

Egypt's foreign minister sought to allay Gulf fears yesterday when he downplayed Ahmadinejad's visit and said "Egypt's relationship with Iran will never come at the expense of Gulf nations."

But the obstacles to closer ties aren't just international. Egypt's intelligence service, which plays an important role in Egyptian foreign policy, would be strongly opposed to serious rapprochement, notes Zarwan.

And many Islamists have concerns about the Shiite theocracy as well. The most organized Salafi group in Egypt released a statement criticizing Ahmadinejad's visit, rejecting "Shiite influence on Egypt." Salafis helped elect Morsi and took nearly a quarter of the seats in Egypt's now-dissolved parliament. Anti-Shiite rhetoric and discrimination against Egypt's tiny Shiite minority are common in Egypt.

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Comment by clicking here.











© 2012, The Christian Science Monitor