Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited what should be nominally friendly territory: Cairo, Egypt.
Not so much, it turns out:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, endured the humiliation of having a shoe thrown at him today as his visit to Egypt turned sour.
The trip, the first by an Iranian leader since the overthrow of the Shah 34 years ago, had been intended as a triumphant occasion that healed the rift created when Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel.
But as Mr Ahmadinejad left the al-Hussein mosque in Islamic Cairo a bearded man burst through the crowd and twice tried to throw shoes at him.
Also, while the cat's away, the mice will play:
A former Iranian prosecutor and associate of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was freed without explanation after two days of detention, state-run media reported.
Saeed Mortazavi was arrested by judicial officials on Feb. 4 after a dispute between Ahmadinejad and long-term rival Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani exploded in public, with the two trading accusations of wrongdoing and improper conduct in the presence of lawmakers.
During the parliamentary session, Ahmadinejad showed a video apparently featuring Mortazavi and which the president maintained, implicated Fazel Larijani, the speaker’s brother, in fraudulent business dealings.
Mortazavi had been held on unspecified charges and no details were given on why he was released from Evin prison at dawn today, according to Fars and Mehr news agencies reports.
Ahmadinejad's visit to Egypt was seen as a realignment between two cold-shouldered rivals, particularly after the Iranian revolution in 1979 where Anwar Sadat granted asylum to the deposed Shah, as well as a state funeral.
Muhammed Morsi seemed particularly eager to mend relations between the two nations, but apparently, Morsi forgot to consult with his own itinerary. At Al-Azhar mosque, Ahmadinejad was publicly upbraided for his Shi'ite incursions into Sunni matters (Azhar is a Sunni mosque) and of duiscriminating against Sunni citizens in Iran.
And then, of course, came the shoes.
If you want to understand the relationship of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to the United States, you need look no further than his attitudes towards Iran, whom he saw as a grave threat not only to the United States and Israel, but to Egypt itself.
Iran understands this, which is why it's very hot to form a working relationship with Egypt as an insurance policy against Israel and the US getting ideas. Too, other attempts to draw Iran into regional dialogues by Egypt have brought everything up to outright hostility from the Saudis.
Here we have two domestically troubled leaders grasping for a plank floating in the Gulf and finding that if each holds onto the other's hand, they might find some buoyancy.
But there are sharks all around.
(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind)