Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Israeli offensive in Gaza is that, for the moment at least, Israel and Egypt seem to be allied. Haaretz reports that Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni traveled to Cairo to inform Hosni Mubarak that Israel would be striking Hamas. The Egyptian government is explicitly blaming Hamas for continuing to fire rockets into Israel in the face of repeated warnings from the Israelis that there would be a response. And now Egypt is sealing its border with the Gaza strip and opening fire on Palestinians seeking refuge.
Why do Israeli-Egyptian relations suddenly seem warmer than they’ve been at any time since Anwar Sadat was shot? One word: Iran. Mubarak now sees Iranian dominence of the Middle East as the primary threat to Egyptian interests. “Iran wants to devour the Arab world,” Mubarak has quite astutely observed. Hamas, of course, is backed by Iran. That Mubarak is now willing to ally his government with the Jewish state is huge news, and if he can bring other Arab leaders along with him could represent a sea-change in the dynamics of Middle East geopolitics.
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