The Writing Is On the Wall

Accusing Iraqi Shiites of treason, Hosni Mubarak implies his desire to restore Sunni hegemony in Iraq. When the Americans leave then Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan will support the Sunnis while some Shia militias will enjoy the support of Iran.

From the perspective of foreign Arab powers, support for Iraqi Sunnis makes sense not only on cultural but on realist grounds.

Iraq and Iran are the only countries in the Middle East that have oil and water. It would be impossible for the gulf states to resist an Iraqi-Iranian alliance because without water the oil states lack the population to match the size of Iraq's and Iran's armed forces.

Therefore the gulf states and their clients Egypt and Syria depend on an Iraqi-Iranian rivalry. Moreover, the weaker the base of an Iraqi government, the more leverage Arab governments will enjoy in Iraqi politics.

Clearly, Mubarak anticipates both an American withdrawal and the failure of Iraqi communities to settle their differences. His rhetoric positons him to pursue Egyptian interests vigorously. When Egypt brings its support to bear in the form of training, equipment, and advisors, oil money will finance her efforts.