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WSJ: Egypt disturbed American access to Near East

31. January 2011. | 13:39

Source: Tanjug

Riots in Egypt could trigger changes which will undermine American foreign political goals and make the position of Washington in the Near East weakest in last half a century, today Wall Street Journal writes on Monday.

Riots in Egypt could trigger changes which will undermine American foreign political goals and make the position of Washington in the Near East weakest in last half a century, today Wall Street Journal writes on Monday.

Such threats to American interests come from various fronts, the magazine writes.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s departure could endanger Arabian-Israeli peace process, and other American allies in the region will be weakened by the political turmoil at home.

Current and former American officials particularly point to Jordan, United Emirates of the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, as particularly vulnerable to political agitation, WSJ points out.

If those American allies used repressive tactics against their political opponents, they would end up in a discrepancy with President Barak Obama’s administration, which demands tolerance of political opponents.

Those allies could also drift away from USA, believing that Mubarak’s close relations with Washington are the main reason of his unpopularity in Egypt.

Finally, each weakening or distancing of allies from the USA represents a crack in united front against Al-Qaeda and Iran the Americans wish to maintain in the Near East.

Democratic change in Egypt is significant but, in the sense of real-politics it is hard to imagine that new Egyptian government would continue maintaining traditionally close relations to Washington, estimates David Shenker from the Washington institute for the Near East, also a former Pentagon official. He believes it is time for restructuring American safety architecture in the region.

Introduction of a moderate government in Cairo, that would include Nobel Prize winner Mohamed elBaradei, would distance considerably Egyptian foreign politics from Mubarak’s unwaveringly pro-American line.

While elBaradei was the head of International Agency for Atomic Energy, he used to defy American foreign policy, and Muslim Brothers would probably find their place in the new government, who are against the peace treaty with Israel.

In worst case scenario, some American strategists fear that removing Mubarak could have similarities to Islamic revolution in 1979 in Iran.

This year, the USA has already seen dramatic changes in their Arabic allies in Lebanon, when Hezbollah took the government down, while Tunisia, Algeria and Yemen, allies in combat against Al-Qaeda, felt political turmoil.

In following months, Jordan will be major arena for estimation of changes in Near East, American officials agree.

Opinions differ regarding the way Washington should react.

Several former officials finds Washington should position itself more openly alongside the protesters in Egypt and to encourage Jordan, Yemen and other allies to accept democratic changes more aggressively.

If they do not do that, they will expose Americans to charges of double standards, which will help American opponents in the region.

Others, however, fear that overly rapid changes could result in even more instability, as they could enable extremist groups or Iran, to use the situation to their benefit, WSJ writes.


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01. February 2011. 18:24:22

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Not a word about the Suez Canal access?


31. January - 06. February 2011.