A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
February 22, 2009--Bombing in Cairo, Tension Between Iran and Bahrain, Livni Not Likely to Join Coalition
There was bombing in Cairo tonight. At least one tourist was killed and over 20 people were wounded. Egypt is blaming Iran. Tensions have been rising between Iran and Egypt for a while now, and they were intensified by events surrounding Israel's war with Hamas. Egypt recently held large-scale military exercises in the Western part of the Sinai Peninsula. While some so this as a veiled threat towards Israel, other observers believe it was more directed as a response to the recent public displays of Iranian military power- the Sunni response.
Another situation that has received very little publicity has been the growing tensions between Iran and Bahrain. Iran is claiming that Bahrain was always part of Iran, separated out by the British. They claim that it should return to Iran. This is eerily familiar to what happened between Iraq and Kuwait. Bahrain is 60% Shiite but the Sunnis and those tied to Saudi Arabia control most of the economy. Egyptian President Mubarak recently visited Bahrain, and Bahrain made it clear that they want no part of being a part of Shiite Iranian country.
Netanyahu and Livni met for the first time tonight to discuss the possibility of a unity government. Before the meeting Livni met with the Kadima Knesset faction. She received full support for her position that the key issue is not what cabinet positions each party get but more importantly, there needs to be an agreement on the goals of the government. If an agreement on those items is not reached, it is better to be in the opposition.
At the meeting Livni demanded that any government that was formed needed to be based on the concept of a two state solution. Netanyahu said there were many things that they agreed on, the need to fight Hezbollah, to fight Hamas, to deal with the economic crisis and they need not agree on everything in order to form a government. Livni, for her part after the meeting, stated that no progress had been made. She agreed to meet again but did not think it was possible to overcome their differences. She seems content to become the leader of the opposition.