Who says Iran is isolated? Just months after Egypt’s familiar “one man, one vote, one time” extravaganza and its subsequent reversion to autocracy under the leadership of Mohamed Morsi, we are already witnessing a tentative but palpable rapprochement between Cairo and its erstwhile Persian rival. Indeed, with the induction of the powerful Arab state into Tehran’s “Axis of Resistance” (aka Axis of Evil), even the European Union seems eager to join the club.
“A friend, a neighbour, [and] a partner” is how European Council President Herman Van Rompuy described Morsi’s Egypt during the first ever visit by the Islamist dictator to Brussels last week. Fawning over the new Caliph of Cairo for his purportedly “unwavering commitment” to democratic values, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso put his money where his mouth was, offering to more than double Brussels’ financial assistance to Egypt to well in excess of a billion euros.
Less than a month before this red carpet reception, Morsi was in Tehran for a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. This in itself was an historic occasion; the first time an Egyptian president had visited Iran since relations were cut off between the two states in 1979. But this was no mere courtesy call. Meeting with Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the summit, Morsi made it known that “Egypt recognises Iran as its strategic partner”.
So if Iran is a partner of Egypt, and Egypt is a partner of the EU, doesn’t that make the EU a partner of Iran?
Also discussed during Morsi’s visit to Brussels was the establishment of a “task force” to negotiate a deepening of trade relations between Egypt and the EU. Coincidentally, this came almost at the same time as the news that a “joint committee” had been formed to explore a similar free trade deal between Egypt and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. It’s a simple quid pro quo: “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch the terrorist next door’s.”
Life has not been easy for Hamas of late. Born of the Muslim Brotherhood that now controls Egypt and nurtured by Iran, one might describe the Palestinian death cult as the bastard child of the current Egyptian and Iranian regimes. But with the marriage of Egypt to Iran, and with a generous wedding present from the EU, Hamas might just thrive again.