On March 12 the Egyptian parliament declared, “Revolutionary Egypt will never be a friend, partner or ally of the Zionist entity [Israel], which we consider to be the number one enemy of Egypt and the Arab nation.” Along with this statement, the report halted oil exports to Israel, expelled the Israeli ambassador from the capitol, and ordered a review of Egyptian nuclear policy in light of Israel’s arsenal. This proclamation did not receive sufficient media attention, particularly in how it pertains to Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.
While some have called this a symbolic action because only the ruling military council, which is mainly compromised of former members of the U.S. supported Mubarak regime, can effectively implement such declarations, there is no doubt there is strong passion behind these words. This resolution was pushed through by the Muslim Brotherhood, which controls almost half of the seats in parliament, and is looking to win the Egyptian presidency. This illustrates the danger of democratization in countries characterized by belligerent extremism. Egypt has initiated war with Israel several times in the past, including the Yom Kippur War and Six Day War when coalitions of Arab states attacked Israel. If the U.S. backed Shah was not in power in Iran during those conflicts, it is likely Iran would have joined in on the side of Egypt. Iran’s increasing militancy is only emboldening these growing factions in Egypt and around the Arab world.
Egypt’s hostility highlights also the danger of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. If Iran obtains nuclear weapons capability, the balance of power in the region will be altered dramatically. Similar to the way in which the United States provides a nuclear umbrella to its most important allies, Iran could guarantee a nation like Egypt nuclear protection in the event they again decide to make true on their promises to assault Israel. While the Israeli nuclear arsenal is used for protecting their nation from surrounding states that have attacked without provocation in the past, there is no such assurance that Iran, which like Egypt has vowed Israel’s destruction, would pursue such peaceable aims.
Along with giving gravitas to Egypt’s declarations, Iranian nuclear proficiency would strengthen Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that owe their existence to Iranian support. Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas in Gaza recently stated the organization promised liberation of Israeli “occupied lands” in addition to thanking Iran for material support of the movement. Growth in Iran’s hard power would translate to similar gains in the strength of their auxiliary terrorist networks. As Benjamin Netanyahu said in a March 14 speech to Knesset, “Gaza is Iran.”
Is there any doubt what an imminent danger an Iranian nuke poses to the United States’ greatest strategic ally? It would again open the door to brazen multinational attacks on Israel, however with nuclear weapons on the opposing side, a repeat of the victorious defenses of the Jewish homeland would not be so certain and achieved only at an unacceptable loss of life. We have waited long enough, and Iran’s disingenuous approach to negotiations is apparent. Immediate military action is needed to guarantee the collapse of the current Iranian regime, which would waterfall to the weakening of the Assad administration, the substantial disarmament of terrorists in Gaza and around the world, and the delegitimizing of Egyptian saber rattling.