former ambassador to Egypt was particularly pessimistic Friday after hearing of President Hosni Mubarak's dramatic resignation.
"It's over, Egypt is no longer a superpower," former Israeli Ambassador to Cairo Zvi Mazel told Ynet. "Egypt has completely lost its status in the area, while Turkey and Iran
are on the way up. It's a different world."
"As long as we had Mubarak, there was no void in our relations with the region. Now we're in big trouble," he said.
Israel, Mazel said, had many reasons for concern. "From a strategic point of view, Israel is now facing a hostile situation. It's over, there is no one left to lead the pragmatic, moderate state."
Mazel said it could take time before a new government was established in Egypt.
"The familiar governmental framework of the past 30 years has dissolved, and it will take a year or two or three before a new regime rises to power.
"The next stage is disbanding parliament, as the people won't accept a parliament based on fraud, and holding new elections. Naturally, the opposition will also want to run in these elections and will ask for a longer period of time to gain recognition. The Muslim Brotherhood will take action as well, of course."
Mazel also spoke about the meaning of military rule, which he believes Egypt is expected to experience in the coming years. "It's a whole new world, an unknown world. The army is responsible for the jurisdiction systems, and the military constitutional regime is completely different than civilian rule.
"General Tantawi has been appointed chairman of the Higher Military Council, making him the 'de facto' temporary president. He is a well known person who never even thought about running for president. In any event, there is no longer a familiar legitimate governmental framework in Egypt."
Celebrations at Tahrir Square (Photo: Reuters)
According to the former envoy, the fate of Israel's relations with Egypt in the coming years is hard to predict. "(Tantawi) is okay, but the strategic situation comprises forces we are unfamiliar with. The army will likely maintain the peace agreement, but there will be developments we cannot foresee at this time."
He did say, however, that the Muslim Brotherhood movement has no foothold in the new reality. "At this stage the army is anti-Muslim Brotherhood. They did some screening to let in as few (Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers) as possible, and they won't let them rise."
Mazel believes Egypt is only part of a domino effect.
"We may see a series of upheavals in the region now. Mubarak's downfall supports revolutionaries everywhere, from Yemen to Algeria. The question is whether such Middle East will be manageable. What if there are coups in Jordan, Morocco or Saudi Arabia? Only God knows who will otake power."