|Morsi’s remarks should not be taken seriously||
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi recently made some controversial remarks at a media festival in Cairo that greatly surprised the world.
In his remarks, Morsi described Iran as a threat to the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf. He also called for the establishment of a defense alliance comprising Egypt and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.
However, given the special situation of Egypt and its government and considering the unofficial context in which the speech was made, pundits say that the remarks should not be taken seriously. Morsi uttered the words in response to a journalist’s question, and thus the remarks should not be regarded as the Egyptian president’s official stance on Persian Gulf regional issues or his official stance on Iran.
Some Arab governments are concerned about the increasing influence of Iran in the Persian Gulf region, and media outlets affiliated to them use each and every opportunity to try to give the impression that Egypt does not want to cooperate with Iran. Morsi is certainly aware of this and only made the remarks to placate the rulers of wealthy Arab countries in order to secure more financial assistance from them in the future.
The proposal for the establishment of a NATO-like defense alliance by Egypt and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf is not related to Iran and is rooted in the Arabs’ general concern about the security of the Persian Gulf region and also the increasing threat emanating from pirates in the Red Sea. In addition, despite its long history of fighting with Israel, the Egyptian military is currently not in very good shape and can never meet the aspirations of Arab countries to strengthen the security of the Persian Gulf region.
The Persian Gulf Cooperation Council has always enjoyed Western military support, but it is ostensibly trying to gain more independence in the areas of security and defense. Thus, the idea of a defense alliance is not aimed at Iran, and Morsi’s support for the initiative is just a move meant to placate the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.
Jafar Qannadbashi is an expert in African politics based in Tehran.
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