Egypt’s accusations against Hezbollah to put an end to Arab reconciliation
Azerbaijan, Baku, April 15 / Trend , U.Sadikova /
Charges of Egypt against pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah Party is aimed at weakening Iran's influence on the policy of the Arab region, but it could lead to a resumption of the differences between the pro-Western Arab states and allies of Tehran.
"Iran appears to be looking to destabilize Egypt at a sensitive time," David Schenker, Senior Fellow and Director of Program in Arab Politics at Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Trend via e-mail. - The Hizballah-Egypt affair highlights the regional struggle between the militants and moderates [in Middle East].
The Egyptian government accuses the Lebanese Hezbollah Party of spying and preparing acts of terror in Egypt. Chief Prosecutor of the country Abdel Magvid Mahmoud accuses Hezbollah of recruiting young people and the employees of the Egyptian special service, preparing acts of terror, Al Jazeera website reported.
In this regard, 49 people, including citizens of Lebanon, Egypt and Sudan, were arrested in Egypt. They are accused of delivering arms through underground tunnels on the border of Egypt with the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Hamas Movement, which has been controlling the enclave since 2007, RIA Novosti reported.
However, the head of the Lebanese party Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah officially denied Cairo's accusations of preparing acts of terror in Egypt. Making a speech on Lebanese television channel Al-Manar, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah does not intend to commit acts of terror in Egypt or in any other part of the world, RIA Novosti reported.
The leader said that Hezbollah is "a purely Lebanese party and has no branches anywhere." The only enemy of Hezbollah is Israel, and the goal of the movement is to "liberate occupied lands from Israeli occupation", he said.
Hezbollah, which holds 23 out of 128 seats in the Lebanese parliament and has a portfolio of the Minister of Energy, has a network of military bases, as well as schools, universities and hospitals.
Due to continuous military support from Tehran, Hezbollah possesses a large arsenal of weapons and rockets in Lebanon and has a well-trained army.
Hezbollah provides arms to Hamas Movement, against which the Government of the Palestinian Autonomy, as well as the moderate Arab countries, including Egypt, protest.
Exacerbation of differences between the Lebanese party and Cairo resulted from disputes between pro-Iranian and pro-Western Arab political blocs for influence in the Arab world, observers say.
"This dispute between Egypt and Hezbollah is a continuation of something has been going on for a several time, which is similar to cold Arab cold war," Nadim Shehadi, analyst on Lebanese policy at Chatam House analytical center, told Trend in a telephone conversation. - The problem is serious because it does have foreign element which includes Iranian collaboration according the military supports.
Political differences were particularly obvious during the war in Gaza between members of Hamas and Israel, when the Arab countries were divided into two camps: the supporters and opponents of Hamas.
During the 22-day Israeli attacks across Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, which have strong ties with the United States, called upon Hamas to stop rocket attacks on Israel, while Syria, Qatar and Hezbollah supported leaders of Hamas.
Then Hezbollah urged Egyptian people to overthrow the regime in Cairo, which closed checkpoint Rafah on the border with Gaza.
During the last summit in Doha in March, Arab leaders agreed to reach an inter-Arab reconciliation and put an end to the differences.
Arab leaders consider it necessary to weaken Iran's pressure on Hamas and Hezbollah and prevent Tehran from controlling internal policies of Lebanon and the Palestinian Autonomy.
However, one step taken by Iran, could exacerbate existing regional tensions, says Shenker, a former Pentagon adviser on Lebanon and Syria.
Egypt is seeking to break Iran's influence through its ally Hezbollah to stabilize the situation in Palestine and Lebanon, experts say.
What is happening between Egypt and Hezbollah is part of the "Regional Game" between Iran and Egypt, said Khalil Al Anani, leading analyst of Egyptian Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies.
However, it is not excluded that Iran will increase support for its allies - Hamas and Hezbollah to retain its influence in the region.
"Differences between Egypt and Hezbollah can lead to increased Iranian influence on the security in the Arab region, Main Rabbani, former editor of Middle East Report magazine, told Trend in a telephone conversation from Amman. - Egypt wants to preserve the Arab control over security and prevents the resumption of political disputes of Arabs. "
Differences between Cairo and the Lebanese party can get worse, since it affects the interests of internal security of Egypt, Shihadi said.
"Now the benefits of Egypt and all depend on how much Cairo wants to escalate the dispute [with Hezbollah], because we are speaking about interference in to internal affairs, about the security," he said.
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