Strange Bedfellows: Egypt Warming Up to Iran

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- There are signs that longtime foes Egypt and Iran are drawing closer together, a development that would bode ill for both Israel and the West.

"We are a little bit worried," said Zvi Mazel, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt.

"What we understand is the new government is trying to give the impression they are trying, they would like to change the strategical alliance of Egypt and to re-establish relations with Iran," he said.

The move comes 32 years after Egypt signed a peace treaty to become the first Arab country to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. Experts say major Islamic differences between Sunni Egypt and Shiite Iran should keep the two apart.

"Iran is considered as a natural enemy of Egypt since the interests of Iran is to penetrate into the Middle East, to create an Islamic Shia revolution, and to take over and to impose a regime -- a Shia regime -- on every one of the countries in the Middle East," Mazel explained.

"Egypt has no interest to re-establish relations, to be friends with Iran because it will be like putting the wolf into your house," he added.

On the other hand, such a move would benefit Iran, which is gaining influence in the Middle East. 

"Iran would like to have relations because it would give it a better stand in the region," Mazel said.

Islamic historian and scholar Moshe Sharon says one thing could unite the two countries: a common hatred for Jews.

"Theoretically, that is already happening between Iran and Syria, which is primarily Sunni," Sharon told CBN News. "For both the Jews and Christians are considered enemies of Islam, but the Jews are the top of everyone's hatred."
Sharon also says Iran's end time theology includes killing all the Jews as it prepares the way for the Shiite messiah, the Mahdi.  

On the Egyptian front, Mazel said the growing influence of the radical Islamic Muslim Brotherhood should sound an alarm. 

"They are preparing for a very important election campaign to take over as many seats as possible and maybe to get a majority or at least about 40 percent and to be the most important political party, because without this party, it will not be possible to set up a government," Mazel told CBN News.

Mazel warned that a Muslim Brotherhood could lead to sharia law in the land and the end of peace with Israel.

"It will be a disaster for Egypt, a disaster for Egypt, a disaster for Israel, a disaster for every country in the Middle East because it will encourage all the Muslim Brothers in all the countries to try to take over -- even by force," he said.

Though some say many signs point to this radicalization, Israeli experts still hope Egypt's September elections will yield positive results for the Jewish state.

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CBN News
Julie Stahl and Chris Mitchell

Julie Stahl and Chris Mitchell

CBN News Jerusalem Bureau

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