Obama's second BFF also welcomes AhmadinejadErdogan welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with open arms at least as far back as 2009. And, Morsy has done so as well. But now, for the first time, Ahmadinejad has visited Egypt.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Egypt on Tuesday on the first trip by an Iranian head of state since the 1979 revolution, underlining the thaw in relations since Egyptians elected an Islamist head of state.
President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood politician elected in June, kissed Ahmadinejad as he disembarked from his plane at Cairo airport. The leaders walked down a red carpet, Ahmadinejad smiling as he shook hands with waiting dignitaries.
Visiting Cairo to attend an Islamic summit that begins on Wednesday, the president of the Shi'ite Islamist republic is due to meet later on Tuesday with the grand sheikh of al-Azhar, one of the oldest seats of learning in the Sunni world.
Such a visit would have been unthinkable during the rule of Hosni Mubarak, the military-backed autocrat who preserved Egypt's peace treaty with Israel during his 30 years in power and deepened ties between Cairo and the West.But full ties between Egypt and Iran are unlikely to be restored anytime soon. It's a matter of money.
The Morsi administration also wants to safeguard relations with Gulf Arab states that are supporting Cairo's battered state finances and are deeply suspicious of Iran. Morsi wants to preserve ties with the United States, the source of $1.3 billion in aid each year to the influential Egyptian military.
Morsi's government has established close ties with Hamas, a movement backed by Iran and shunned by the West because of its hostility to Israel, but its priority is addressing Egypt's deep economic problems.
"The restoration of full relations with Iran in this period is difficult, despite the warmth in ties ... because of many problems including the Syrian crisis and Cairo's links with the Gulf states, Israel and the United States," said one former Egyptian diplomat.Egypt was a very strong supporter of the Shah of Iran before 1979. I'll bet a lot of you didn't know this little tidbit.
Egypt gave asylum and a state funeral to Iran's exiled Shah Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown by the 1979 Iranian revolution. He is buried in a medieval Cairo mosque alongside his ex-brother-in-law, Egypt's last king, Farouk.Aren't you glad that the Obama administration continues to give the Egyptians arms and $1.3 billion in annual aid? What is the US getting in return for all that?
I'll answer that last question for you: The US is buying the myth that there is an Arab country that made peace with Israel which is intended to last permanently. The US is paying $1.3 billion plus per year for the myth that 'land for peace' works. Unfortunately, the puncturing of this myth is well on the way. Ahmadinejad's visit to Egypt proves it.