Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Barry Rubin: The Meaning of the Egypt-Israel Cross-Border Attack

by Barry Rubin
A 35-man seemingly bedouin terrorist team invaded an Egyptian army base in eastern Sinai, stole a truck and armored personnel carrier, and tried to crash the Israel border gate. They killed about 16 Egyptian soldiers but those who tried to cross the border--at least five--were quickly wiped out by Israeli forces.

You will be reading a lot of accounts of this event mostly saying the same things. But what’s really important?
  • The incompetence of the Egyptian military. That a whole platoon size unit of terrorists--one of the largest such forces every assembled for such an attack--could plan, organize, and come together without warning for the Egyptian army speaks poorly for its intelligence capability. That they could break into a base doesn’t bode well for the Egyptian military's competence. Presumably one reason why they wanted Egyptian vehicles--as happened with uniforms on a previous occasion--is to make Israeli soldiers hesitate to shoot or to end up getting Israelis to mistakenly kill Egyptians and set off a wider conflict.

  • The attack was probably carried out by an al-Qaida type group allied with counterparts in the Gaza Strip. These organizations don’t care about the well-being of Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood. By hitting Israel they seek to promote their image to carry out their goals. Yet the more they make enemies of the Muslim Brotherhood branches the more incentive those forces have to suppress them.
Continue reading The Meaning of the Egypt-Israel Cross-Border Attack

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, was published by Yale University Press in January 2012. You can read more of Barry Rubin's posts at Rubin Reportsand  Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media


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