Where Will Morsi’s Embrace of Ahmadinejad Lead?

August 24, 2012 1:29 pm 0 comments

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photo: wiki commons.

After Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi embraced Iranian President Muhammad Ahmadinejad at the summit of the Organization of Islamic States Saudi Arabia, sources in the office of the Egyptian presidency announced that Morsi was planning to visit Tehran for the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at the end of August. The NAM grouping of mostly Third World countries was first established in 1961 as a neutral alternative to the West and the Soviet bloc. This year it is holding its meeting with heads of state in Iran.

This would be the first visit of an Egyptian president to Iran since the fall of the Shah and the Islamic Revolution that followed in 1979. The reports of Morsi’s possible visit to Tehran have generated wide speculation whether he, as the first Egyptian president from the Muslim Brotherhood, could manage to pull off a major reconciliation between Sunni Muslims, led by Egypt, and the Shiites, led by Iran.

This reconciliation has been an aspiration of the Muslim Brotherhood since the days of its founder, Hassan al-Banna. There were also Iranian militants who modeled their organizations on the Muslim Brotherhood, like the Iranian “Fedayeen of Islam” and their assassination squads who operated in the 1940s. In fact, it was no less than Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who translated into Persian the writings of the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief ideologue Sayyid Qutb, who was put to death by the Egyptians in 1966. The admiration between the two Islamist movements was mutual. After the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and its previous general guide, Muhammad Mahdi Akef, began to openly support Iran.

But despite this history, there are presently a number of challenges that will make any Sunni-Shiite reconciliation facilitated by President Morsi a daunting task. First, of all there is the Syrian uprising and its likely impact on the Arab world in the years ahead. It is now indisputable that Iran is not only backing the regime of Bashar al-Assad with funding and weapons. Tehran is also deploying its Revolutionary Guards on the ground and they are involved in attacks on Syrian civilians.

In other words, from Homs to Allepo, Iranian Shiite soldiers are killing Sunni Arabs. These Persian-speaking troops have launched a blood vendetta with the Sunni Arab world that will not be quickly forgotten. How Morsi can embrace the Iranian leadership in Tehran who are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Sunni Arabs, including members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, is difficult to fathom.

Second, within the Muslim Brotherhood there are still powerful voices who opposed any reconciliation with Iran. Since 2008, Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi, regarded as the spiritual head of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, has warned that the Shiites want “to invade” Sunni societies with the backing of Iran and convert Sunnis to Shia Islam. He also described the Shiites as heretics. His language played on the insecurity of Sunni Arabs who felt that with the fall of Saddam Hussein, they had lost control of Iraq which came under the domination of its Shiite majority.

A third constraint on any reconciliation between the Sunnis and the Shiites, led by Iran, comes from the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have no illusions about Iran’s goals and its use of Shiite Islam to threaten their vital interests. The perpetrators of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, according to U.S. court documents, were Saudi Shiites who were recruited and trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon. Their orders came from senior levels in the Iranian government.

This year the U.S. disclosed a plot by the Revolutionary Guards to use a Mexican drug cartel to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is waging a proxy war with Iran over the Shiite rebellion in Bahrain; in Yemen, where Zayidi Shiites have been engaged in an insurgency against the Yemeni government; and in Syria, where both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supplying the war against Assad’s Alawite regime, which as already noted, has been terrorizing Syrian Sunnis.

Thus if Morsi wants to build a new relationship with Iran, he will face serious problems with Riyadh, to whom he has recently turned for financial help. There have been reports that, in the end, one should not be surprised if Morsi does not go to Tehran, but his calculations will undoubtedly be influenced by the fact that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has decided to attend the NAM summit. Whatever Morsi decides, it will take a great deal more than a hug with Ahmadinejad, for the Muslim Brotherhood to alter the relations between Iran and the Sunni Arab states.
This post first appeared in Israel Hayom.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the morale of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.