A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
January 1, 2008 Changes in Egypt
The New Year was greeted by renewed clashes in Gaza between supporters of Fatah and Hamas. Today was the anniversary of FatahÕs creation. Any Fatah supporters in Gaza who attempted to celebrate were beaten up and arrested. Many were arrested in advance of the day.
Hamas is taking no chance that Fatah can get any traction.
Egypt is making some changes in its policies, some good some troubling. In the short term, it seems there has been a major change in EgyptÕs policy regarding Hamas. Until now, Egypt seems some to have been Ōlooking the other wayĶ at the smuggling, not truly caring. Suddenly the ties that exist between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood have become clearer to the Egyptian leadership. Hamas has spoken of the Muslim Brotherhood as its strategic depth. This and some additional statements by the Muslim Brotherhood have woken up the Egyptians. This explains their sudden closing of the border to returning pilgrims. What took so long for them to reach this realization is hard to understand, but better late than never?
On the other hand, Egypt seems to be strengthening its ties to Iran. This seems to be happening throughout the Sunni world. The American intelligence report is seen as a major sign of American weakness. That weakness tells moderate Arab states that Iran will continue to grow in strength and that the United States will not confront that strength. Therefore, being practical, they are slowly but surely improving their ties to Iran; Saudi Arabia invited Ahmadinejad to the Hajj; the Egyptians meeting with Iranians to talk about Atomic cooperation.