Saturday, May 2, 2009

Deep rift in the Arab World

Last month, Egypt broke up what it called a terrorist cell linked to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi'ite militia. Nine captured suspects were charged with spying for Hezbollah, working for a foreign state, and seeking to harm Egypt's national security. The arrests were attention-grabbers. But even more astonishing were the public denunciations of Hezbollah and its patron, Iran, issued by President Hosni Mubarak.

The incident cast light on what is becoming the central rift in the Middle East, pitting Sunni Arab states such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Morocco against Iran, its allies Syria and Qatar, its proxy Hezbollah, and the Palestinian movement Hamas. As President Obama develops policies for Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he cannot ignore this reality.

In a speech, Mubarak plainly accused Iran and its agents of trying to harm Egypt's security. "We will not allow any interference by foreign forces . . . who push the region towards hell out of a desire to spread their influence and their agenda on the Arab world," he said. More on this in the Boston Globe

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