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Sick Man on the Nile

Egypt's power wanes.

3:30 PM, Sep 2, 2010 • By DAVID SCHENKER
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But the impact of an increasingly diminished ally in Cairo goes beyond the crisis with Iran.  When Egypt was strong, its powers of persuasion helped Washington articulate and promote policies advancing the causes of regional moderation and peace with Israel.  Now that Egypt can no longer play this role, it will be harder for the U.S. to accomplish many of its policy goals in the Middle East. 

Of course, the decline of Egypt is only the latest in a series of problematic developments for Washington in the region. The recent re-orientations of the Turkish and Lebanese governments away from the west and a strengthening Iranian-Syrian axis should constitute a clarion call to action for the Obama administration. Unless Washington does something dramatic to reverse it, the weakening of Egypt will constitute another example of diminishing American power in the region. 

David Schenker is Aufzien Fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 

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