Iran and Egypt after Mubarak

April 13, 2011 - 0:0

As the widespread protests in Egypt calm down and people are ready to begin a new era by voting for constitutional reform, it is expected that Egypt will also regain its previous position as a major player in the region.

Many pundits believe that by standing beside a regional power like Iran, Egypt can pursue much more sophisticated diplomacy, which would enhance and deepen regional convergence.
Today, we are witnessing many positive signs from both countries indicating that formal diplomatic ties between the two countries will be reestablished in the near future.
The main reason there have been no diplomatic relations between Tehran and Cairo for the past 32 years was the Tel Aviv factor, i.e., the tendency of Anwar Sadat and his successor Hosni Mubarak to have close relations with Israel and to protect the interests of the Western powers in the Middle East.
In response to this situation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria, and some regional groups banded together and established a resistance front against the Zionist regime.
Mubarak always insisted on his anti-Iran policy, especially during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, during which he always supported Saddam Hussein and provided him with various kinds of weaponry to use against the Islamic Republic.
During the Mubarak era, Egypt publicly supported the United Arab Emirates’ false claims regarding three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf and played a major role in fueling tension in the region.
In addition, alongside Saudi Arabia, Egypt was always regarded as one of the pillars of Washington’s artificial security system in the Middle East.
By receiving billions of U.S. dollars annually and expressing unconditional commitment to the Camp David Accords, Mubarak turned Egypt -- once the standard-bearer of liberation, resistance, and anti-colonialism in the region -- into the backyard of the United States in the Middle East.
However, now that the Egyptian dictator has nothing to do but wait for his trial, and none of those historical factors, especially the convergence with Tel Aviv, can influence the future Egyptian foreign policy, it is expected that Iran and Egypt will begin the process of reestablishing diplomatic relations.
Of course, the future relations between these two regional powers must be based on understanding and mutual respect, which certainly can benefit both sides over the short and the long run.