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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Israel - Hamas Conflict Puts Pressure on Egypt's Morsi

The barrage of rockets Hamas terrorists launch at Israel and Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense to stop Hamas -- this is more than a conflict between two enemies.

Egypt's President Morsi is now involved as well.
  • Not just because Hamas sees him as their new protector.
  • Not because Israel expects Egypt to keep their treaty.
  • Not just because Obama proposed Egypt as a key broker for negotiating a cease-fire
Beside all of the above, it is in the best interest of Egypt that regardless of the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood, extended violence will hurt Egypt.
Dennis Ross writes that Egypt needs Israel and Hamas to agree to a cease-fire soon:
Because the last thing Morsi needs is a conflict that drags on and actually leads to Israel feeling it has no choice but to send ground troops into Gaza and root out Hamas in a bloody, prolonged conflict.

Egypt’s public would probably demand that he break the peace treaty under such circumstances. But the treaty is not a favor that Egypt does for Israel; it has saved countless Egyptian lives. Leaving aside over $60 billion in U.S. assistance that Egypt received over the years, monies the Muslim Brotherhood may erroneously claim went to Mubarak and not the Egyptian people, it is the treaty that remains the linchpin for making it possible for Egypt to receive essential assistance, loans and investment that it needs to confront its collapsing economy.

Who is going invest in Egypt if there is no peace treaty and in its place is the prospect of conflict and confrontation? Morsi understands that, and that is why, with all his tough rhetoric toward Israel, he is not saying he will revoke the treaty.
Read the whole thing.

Elliott Abrams also writes on the problem facing Morsi, that the Israel - Hamas conflict raises dangerous passions in Egypt:
It might require, for example, that he break relations with Israel or renounce the Camp David accords, two things he has very strikingly not done. While Israeli rockets strike Gaza, all he has done is bring his ambassador home. That is, he has drawn a careful separation between the interests of Hamas, and those of Egypt. Similarly, Hamas’s hopes that he would immediately after taking power open the border between Gaza and Sinai have gone unmet. The border is sometimes open and sometimes not, but he has not erased the distinction between the entity called Gaza and his own country, despite Muslim Brotherhood ideology.

One can take this line of reasoning too far, of course. And it remains to be seen, after this war, whether Egypt blocks Hamas efforts to restock its missile supply–especially with the long-range Fajr missile from Iran. But if one asks who is more disappointed with Morsi’s conduct today, Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel or Khaled Meshal of Hamas, the answer is easy: Meshal. He wanted to mobilize Egypt on behalf of Hamas. Morsi is not—yet anyway—letting the tail wag the dog.
Read the whole thing.

In the Middle East, where there are angles upon angles of agendas and alliances, I suppose it should not be surprising that Morsi -- who so far has survived internal challenges -- is now facing his first real external challenge. And that challenge comes from the terrorists of Hamas who see Morsi as their natural ally and the key to their next step in displacing Abbas and the Palestinian Authority as the true leaders of the Palestinian Arabs.

And the week is not even half over yet.

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