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Concerns Arise Over US Relations with New Egypt

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- While crowds from around the globe have been celebrating the end to Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule as leader of Egypt, questions have arisen about Egypt's uncertain future, its relationship to the U.S. and the political stability of the Middle East.

The major issue: U.S. national security and whether Egypt's role in counterterrorism has been compromised.

"Whether it's our security here, their security, Saudi Arabia's security, Gulf Oil production -- all of these things are at potentially greater risk if al Qaeda can now start infiltrating into Egypt," Michael O'Hanlon of the nonprofit public policy organization the Brookings Institution said.

The second major concern is the future of the Arab world, now that movements of the people -- so well-connected and organized in relatively peaceful protests -- in Tunisia and Egypt have led to historical regime change.

Egypt, with 80 million citizens, is the largest Arab nation, and is viewed globally as the gateway to the Arab world. If notions of revolution spread east to the oil producing nations -- or to Jordan, Syria, or Yemen -- the new Egypt could define a new Middle East.

A third concern is long-term peace with Israel. Today the Jewish state is more isolated and vulnerable, feeling that if the peace is broken, the stakes could be very high if war returns to the Middle East region.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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