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Ahmadinejad arrives in Cairo for 1st visit by an Iranian leader since 1979. Meanwhile, 19th Israeli Knesset sworn in.

In Uncategorized on February 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, pose for photographers in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency)

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, pose for photographers in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency)

>> Note: The e-book version of my novel, The Twelfth Imam, is available for free today from a number of bookstores, including: Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and from CBD. The third novel in this trilogy, Damascus Countdown, releases March 5th.

New political tremors rippled through the epicenter today as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Radical Shia Muslim, arrived in Cairo to meet with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a Radical Sunni Muslim. This is the first time an Iranian leader has visited Egypt since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Is this the beginning of a true rapprochement between the two extremist leaders of the major Shia and Sunni powers? If so, the implications for regional security — and notably for Israeli security and U.S. interests in the region – could be troublesome. Then again, maybe the two leaders are just taking each other’s measure. Either way, it’s a development worth noting and watching carefully.

“President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discussed the crisis in Syria with his Egyptian counterpart Tuesday in the first visit by an Iranian leader to Cairo in more than three decades, marking a historic departure from years of frigid ties between the regional heavyweights,” reports the Associated Press. “Ahmadinejad’s three-day visit, which is centered around an Islamic summit, is the latest sign of improved relations between the countries since the 2011 uprising ousted Egypt’s longtime ruler President Hosni Mubarak and brought an Islamist government to power in Cairo. Such a visit would have been unthinkable under Mubarak, who was a close ally of the U.S. and shared Washington’s deep suspicions of Tehran. Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi gave Ahmadinejad a red-carpet welcome on the tarmac at Cairo airport, shaking the Iranian’s hand and exchanging a kiss on each cheek as a military honor guard stood at attention.”

“The two leaders then sat down for a 20-minute talk that focused on the civil war in Syria, security officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. Iran is Damascus’ closes regional ally, while Egypt is among those that have called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down,” AP reported. “In September, Morsi offered a package of incentives to Tehran to end its support for Assad. The proposal included the restoration of full diplomatic ties, which would be a significant prize for Iran given that Egypt is the most populous Arab nation and a regional Sunni powerhouse. Morsi’s offer garnered no response from Iran, although officials from both countries have continued to hold talks on the Syrian conflict in recent months….Once close, Egypt and Iran severed their relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution when Cairo offered exile to Iran’s deposed shah. Relations further deteriorated after Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.”

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