While the recent breakout in Gaza attracted Western media, Iran stayed focused on Syria and provided arms to the Palestinian resistance group Hamas. Egypt takes a new role as a new regional leader that could balance the relationships in West Asia/ The Middle East-North Africa (MENA). It is expected that Morsi will face some dilemmas with this leadership identity. Egypt’s economy is quite dependent on US, IMF, EU and as long as this dependency continues it is unrealistic that Cairo will pursue an independent regional policy, which will not favor Israel. There is also chaos and unrest in Egypt at the moment. This is another challenge to maintain legitimacy at home and beyond. Iran has been observing Egypt’s steps in MENA closely. Iran’s regional influence has been conservative even though it is interested in focusing in MENA. In 2011 Iran joined the Egyptian revolution in 2011 to expand the Islamic Revolution. When the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi was elected he chose a moderate islamist role in the region instead of embracing Iran’s Islamic law and support for the Palestenian cause. Egypt is not capable of distancing itself from Camp David Accord yet. When Egypt criticized Assad for his atrocities in Syria in the Non- Alignement Movement Summit in Tehran, Iran’s hopes for a better relationship with Egypt was intercepted but both countries have not given up on building normalized relations in the post-Mubarak era. Iran and Egypt stand opposed on Syria. Iran supports Azad’s rule. Recent outbreak in Gaza impacted the relations between Iran and Egypt and its effect on West Asia. Iran and Egypt both endorse the Palestenian cause with different approaches. While Iran supports Hamas in the military Egypt played a mediator role among all parties. Isreal’s declared condition on to ceasefire was that Iran should stop military support to Gaza. Iran will be continuing to arm Hamas and their justification is that Palestine needs to respond Israeli attacks. It is expected that Iran will remain as a key regional power in the near future and it is to soon to call Egypt a regional power capable of overcoming Iran’s influence.
Middle East (week of march 5)