With new Egypt, Israel worries about Iran

By Adam Gonn
0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, February 22, 2011
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A symbolic move

Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior researcher at the Institute of Counter- Terrorism at the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, said he believed that the possible passing of Iranian naval ships through the Suez Canal has both symbolic and strategic implications for Israel.

This is the first time in nearly 30 years for the Iranian navy that they will pass two ships through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean and keep them for at least some time in a Syria harbor.

"This has on one hand a symbolic value that it shows the Iranian navy can operate not only in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, but also in the Mediterranean," Karmon said.

According to Karmon, this offers a sign to the America, NATO fleets and various European powers that have interests in the Mediterranean. It can also be seen on the backdrop to what has happened in Lebanon.

"There is also a practical level in the sense that, although the Iranian authority says that the ship is not armed, this is a military ship that can transport military hardware, especially heavy weapons," Karmon said.

Karmon said that the Israeli navy would be watching the ships during their scheduled joint exercises with the Syrian navy, and also monitoring if any weaponry is passed to Hezbollah.

Perhaps if there was not such a turmoil in the Middle East, things would have been different for Israel, and may NATO have reacted to the ships, Karmon argued, adding that because everybody is busy with what is happening in the neighborhood, there has only been rhetorical action.

"What is interesting is that the Egyptians gave permission but did not give a full permission. There is some kind of negotiations about this passage," Karmon said.

He is of the opinion that, while Mubarak has stepped down, many of the officials in the new government used to serve with Mubarak might share his views on Iran.

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