Crucial Threat to Israel from Western Border
The developments on Israel's western border might be far more crucial to its strategic situation, even compared to the Iranian nuclear threat. The August 5 terror attack in northern Sinai, killing 16 Egyptian policemen, supplied the perfect excuse for the newly elected Mursi regime in Cairo. Under the pretext of finally dealing with extremist Islamic terrorism in the peninsula, the Egyptian President is aiming for something more: re-defining the terms of The Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement, especially regarding the security situation in Sinai.
Israel had previously ignored, or sometimes secretly approved, Egyptian violations of the treaty. These always concerned deploying more battalions than agreed, but only for a short period of time, in order to fight the terrorist groups. This time, Cairo is aiming for a more serious goal. Not only had it moved to Sinai more battalions and even tanks, with no prior consent from Jerusalem, but the Egyptian media is full of reports of fighter aircraft and heavy artillery batteries about to be deployed. These reports are not all necessarily accurate, but what's important is that they are part of a bigger plan – undermining the peace agreement, without actually deserting it altogether.
Why is the Islamic Brotherhood government doing this? The most logical explanation would be that it's done because of internal political reasons. Changing the security part of the treaty had been one of the party's promises during the election campaign. The Islamists claimed that the current treaty was a humiliation for Egypt's national honor. I assume they will be going for a de-facto change, believing Israel has no alternative but to agree, since the Mursi regime would find it hard to actually sit down formally and re-negotiate the contract with the Israelis.
For the time being, it's safe to assume that Mursi is not interested in escalating the military situation with Israel. He still needs the US and because of the economic situation in Egypt would not risk playing too many dangerous games in Sinai. But Israel should follow events very carefully. This is not only a matter of the situation in the peninsula. Perhaps more importantly - if Netanyahu finally decides to strike Iran's nuclear sites, shouldn't he consider a possible scenario, in which Mursi (soon to visit Teheran for a conference), orders two army divisions to cross the Suez Canal into Sinai?
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|Preparation [107 words]||A.T. Halmay||Aug 23, 2012 16:16|
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by Khaled Abu Toameh
The "Arab Spring" did not erupt as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was the outcome of decades of tyranny and corruption in the Arab world. The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis who removed their dictators from power did not do so because of the lack of a "two-state solution." This is the last thing they had in mind.
The thousands of Muslims who are volunteering to join the Islamic State [IS] are not doing so because they are frustrated with the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The only solution the Islamic State believes in is a Sunni Islamic Caliphate where the surviving non-Muslims who are not massacred would be subject to sharia law.
What Kerry perhaps does not know is that the Islamic State is not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all. Unlike Kerry, Sunni scholars fully understand that the Islamic State has more to do with Islam and terrorism than with any other conflict.
by Steven J. Rosen
Palestinian officials have generally been silent about security cooperation with Israel. They are loath to acknowledge how important it is for the survival of the Palestinian Authority [PA], and fear that critics, especially Hamas, will consider it "collaboration with the enemy."
"You smuggle weapons, explosives and cash to the West Bank, not for the fight with Israel, but for a coup against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli intelligence chief visited me two weeks ago and told me about the [Hamas] group they arrested that was planning for a coup... We have a national unity government and you are thinking about a coup against me." — Mahmoud Abbas, PA President, to Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, if the IDF leaves the West Bank, Hamas will take over, and other terrorists groups such as the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State would operate there.
In recent months, Abbas has been making a series of threats against Israel. If Abbas becomes another Arafat, it could be the Israeli side that loses interest in security cooperation.
by Burak Bekdil
It was the Islamists who, since they came to power in the 2000s, have reaped the biggest political gains from the "Palestine-fetish."
But the Turkish rhetoric on "solidarity" with our Palestinian brothers often seems askew to how solidarity should be.
by Raheel Raza
One blogger writes that Malala hates Pakistan's military. I believe it is the other way around.
I would so like to see the day when Malala is welcomed back in Pakistan, with the whole country cheering.
by Francesco Sisci
Democratic evolution in China was being seriously considered. The failures of U.S. support for democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Libya gave new food for thought to those opposed to democracy. Lastly, the United States did not strongly oppose the anti-democratic coup d'état that overthrew a democratically elected government in Thailand.
On the other hand, Russia -- dominated by Vladimir Putin, a new autocrat determined to stifle democracy in Russia -- provided a new model.
The whole of Eastern Europe and most of Latin America, formerly in the clutches of dictatorships, are now efficient democracies. This seems to indicate that while democracy cannot be parachuted into a country, there is a broader, longer-term global trend toward democracy and that its growth depends on local conditions.
As economic development needed careful planning, political reforms need even greater planning. The question remains: is China preparing for these political reforms?