Wednesday, June 4, 2008

EGYPT: Bond With U.S. Becomes a Chain

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Jun 4 (IPS) - A deal brokered by Qatar last month succeeded in ending the longstanding political standoff in Lebanon -- at least for the time being. Some local analysts see Qatar's success as Cairo's failure, saying Egyptian diplomacy has been hamstrung by the ruling regime's closeness to Washington......

In contrast, say local analysts, Egypt -- by consistently towing the U.S. line -- has since lost much of the diplomatic credibility it once enjoyed.

"Egypt totally alienated Hezbollah by publicly condemning it for starting the war in 2006," says Sabahi. "And Cairo has staunchly supported the resistance group's rivals in Beirut, with the blessings of Washington, ever since."

"By resolutely siding with one side of the conflict against the other, Cairo effectively neutralised its ability to mediate," agreed Thabet. "Qatar, on the other hand, has shown a level of diplomatic savvy absent from recent Egyptian and Saudi policymaking.""

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