The Arab world is now worried.

Iran seems to be trying to destabilize the world. While US President Obama is stretching his hand to Teheran, from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, the Arab leaders are instead worried about Iran’s ambitions in the region. Hence, the Arab media are sounding an alert that in the Middle East there is a new cold war between two blocks: a pro-Iranian one, and one lead by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Recently, the Egyptian authorities arrested 49 members of a cell linked to Hezbollah. According to Egypt, the cell was planning terrorist attacks and killing Egyptian officials, while spreading Shiite ideology. According to the media, the cell was also planning to buy a boat that would smuggle weapons into Egypt from Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia. Members of the ring rented villas near the Israeli embassy in Cairo and in the town of Suez overlooking the Suez Canal — the latter to monitor traffic, and, according to reports, even possibly attack American or Israeli vessels. There was also evidence that the ultimate aim of the cell was to destabilize the country and provoke huge demonstrations that could bring down the regime and lead to a military coup.

The Egyptian daily, Al-Ahram, openly accused Iran of being behind the attempt to overthrow the Egyptian government. Moreover, the daily said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hamas head Khaled Mashaal and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahdi Akef, along with Syria and Qatar, were also behind the efforts to destabilize the Cairo government. It is worth noting that the pro-Iranian block is joined not only by Shiites, but also by extremist Sunni movements, which traditionally should have been anti-Shiites, but which united with Iran to pursue common hegemonic goals.

Egypt is not the only country that has been at odds with Iran. A few weeks ago, Morocco broke off its relations with Teheran. The UAE daily, Ittihad, explained that Morocco — which is known for refraining from emotional reactions — would not have taken this diplomatic step unless Iran had interfered in the internal affairs of the country. “Moroccan authorities’ interrogation of a terrorist network revealed the involvement of Iranian fingerprints in whatever that terrorist network was planning to carry out against Morocco”, the daily said. According to Ittihad, Moroccan authorities have also monitored the activities of the Iranian diplomatic mission in Rabat, and found them not to have been in accordance the basic conventions of diplomatic work. The fingerprints of this mission were also evident in attempts to foment sectarian subversion in order to undermine the social stability of Morocco.

Arrests of Hezbollah in Egypt began back in November, but the disclosures have started only few weeks ago. By exposing the destabilizing activities of Iran, Mubarak intended to warn the US about the dangers that an unconditional thawing of the relations between Washington and Teheran might bring about. The question is: would Obama be deterred by the publication of these details about Iran's subversion? From what we can gather from his speeches these days, it is very doubtful.

Recently, the King of Jordan, Abdullah, met with Obama. According to the Saudi paper, Al Hayat, the king went to Washington to express the concerns and fears of the Arab world - among other issues - and to stress that the US should not allow the stability of Egypt to be undermined, whether by a cell, a foreign organization or a state such as Iran. “Hence, a stern message must be sent to Tehran, advising it not to misinterpret the US President and his Administration's enthusiasm towards dialogue and understanding,” the paper wrote.

Al-Hayat also mentioned that the Obama Administration will have now to take a decisive and tough stance towards Iran. “The US President should remind Iran that the United States is a superpower, and that there are red lines that it will not be allowed to cross. If it seeks an agreement, then everything must be placed on the table, from its nuclear ambitions to its regional schemes, from Iraq to Egypt, and from Hezbollah to Hamas. However, if it seeks to pretend that it is willing to compromise while moving forward in its destructive schemes, then the Obama Administration cannot bury its head in the sand in a process of buying time that is very dangerous in reality.”

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