As country after country falls to Islamism, the third instructive parallel between the two presidents' Middle East policy becomes evident: consequences. Before the American embassy was attacked in Iran, the Israeli embassy was sacked and its flag replaced with the PLO banner. The Israeli diplomats managed to escape, hiding out for a week before leaving the country. During that time, the Israeli military attaché was approached by his American counterpart and the ambassador, who offered him sanctuary in their embassy. Amazed by their naivety, he warned them that they were next — to no avail. The embassy of the Great Satan was targeted four days after that of the Little Satan.
The attack on the American embassy in Cairo was preceded by an attack on Israel's embassy a year earlier. Since the fall of Mubarak, Egypt and Iran have renewed the diplomatic ties which had been cut by Iran when Anwar Sadat signed Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. There is increased talk in Egypt about officially revising the treaty.
Back in 1980, a joke went around: "What's flat as a pancake and glows in the dark? Iran, after Reagan becomes president." The election, which Reagan won, fell on the first anniversary of the hostage-taking, with the diplomats still in captivity. They were released on the day of the new president's inauguration. In the 2012 election, Iranian Islamism was still a primary issue, but now joined by Arab Islamism spreading across the Middle East.
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