Straight out of "communist" China -- where he secured a red carpet welcome from President Hu Jintao and vice-president Xi Jinping -- the Egyptian president lands in "evil" Iran as a true Arab world leader.
Tampa-Tehran. Talk about the ultimate snapshot of the current geopolitical divide. On one side, the 1% crowd yelling for blood -- be it from Barack Obama or from assorted Muslims. On the other side, the bulk of the real "international community," practically the whole global South (including observers such as China, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico) refusing to bend over to imperial military/financial diktats. Reaffirming its impeccable journalistic credentials, US corporate media dismisses it all as just "a Third World jamboree."
Anyway, the big news is that Egypt is back. In other news, the Washington-Tel Aviv axis is apoplectic.
Those were the (long gone) days -- over three decades ago -- when Tehran broke relations with Cairo over Egypt's signing of the Camp David accords. Morsi's attendance of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran may not yet signal the return of full diplomatic relations, as Morsi spokesman Yasser Ali has been spinning. But it's an earth-shattering diplomatic coup.
Enter the new great game
A quick recap is in order. Morsi's first crucial foreign trip was to Saudi Arabia, for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Mecca. The House of Saud regards the Muslim Brotherhood with extreme suspicion, to say the least. Right after that, Morsi got a personal visit from the Emir of Qatar, and a US$2 billion check with no strings attached; then he immediately sacked the old leadership of the Orwellian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
Meanwhile, Morsi had already launched Egypt's plan to solve the interminable Syrian tragedy; a contact group uniting Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. No Syrian solution will be achieved without these key foreign players -- with Egypt being careful to position itself as the mediator between Iran and Turkey/Saudi interests (which amount to the same; in 2008 Turkey struck a strategic, political, economic and security accord with the GCC).
With just one stroke, Morsi cut off the head of a fake snake being sold to Washington for years by the Jordanian King Playstation and the House of Saud; that of an "evil" Shi'ite crescent from Iran to Lebanon via Iraq and Syria undermining the "stability" of the Middle East.
What Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and Jordan's younger Abdullah II in fact fear is the unrest and rage of their own populations, not to mention the mere idea of democracy; it's easy to blame rampant Shi'ism for everything because Washington is gullible -- or expedient -- enough to buy it.
The "Shi'ite crescent" myth can be debunked in a number of ways. Here's just one -- that I have witnessed in person, on the spot, for quite a while during the mid-2000s. Tehran knows that the majority of Iraq's powerful clergy are totally adverse to the Khomeinist concept of the Islamic Republic. No wonder Tehran is very much worried about the renaissance of Najaf in Iraq as the premier holy city in Shi'ite Islam, to the detriment of Qom in Iran.
Washington buys this propaganda because it's right at the heart of the New Great Game. Whatever the administration in place, from Bush to Obama and beyond, a key Washington obsession is to neutralize what is seen as a Shi'ite axis from Lebanon, via Syria and Iraq, across Iran and all the way to Afghanistan.
A mere look at the map tells us this axis is at center of the humongous US military deployment in Asia -- facing China and Russia. Obviously the best intel in Beijing and Moscow has identified it for years.
The Russians and the Chinese see how the Pentagon "manages" -- indirectly -- a great deal of the region's oil reserves, including the Shi'ite northeast of Saudi Arabia. And they see how Iran -- as the gravity center of the whole region -- cannot but be Washington's ultimate obsession. The nuclear row is just a pretext -- the only one in the market, actually. Ultimately, it's not a matter of destroying Iran, but of subjugating it to the condition of a docile ally.
Into this hardcore power play steps in Brother Morsi, reshuffling a deck of cards as lightning quick as a Sheldon Adelson-employed Macau croupier. What might have taken months and perhaps years -- the sidelining of the old SCAF leadership, Qatar being privileged to the detriment of Saudi Arabia, a presidential visit to Tehran, Egypt stepping up as a leader of the Arab world -- was accomplished in barely two months.
Of course it will all depend on how the Egypt-Iran relationship develops, and whether Qatar -- and even Iran -- are able to help the Muslim Brotherhood to keep Egypt from not collapsing (there's no money for anything; a $36 billion annual deficit; nearly half the population is illiterate; and the country imports half of its food).
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