Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Coming War Threat: Terrorists Are Developing A Safe Haven in Egypt to Attack Israel

What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech.... 
--William Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

By Barry Rubin

Or, in other words, do these writers, policymakers, and "experts" care  what happens in the Middle East? War? Bloodshed? Repression? Christians fleeing; women being turned into chattel? Just a possible boost to their careers and a test for their theories. A good luncheon topic. But this is real, all too real.

First, a word on contingencies. Governments and political analysts are supposed to examine likely problems in order they can be evaded or minimized. The time to be alarmed is not when problems become visible but when governments refuse to recognize their existence. Western regimes and analysts are generally taking a best-possible-case view on Egypt and other developing issues in the region. I'm tempted to say they are taking a fantasy view. They dismiss not just worst-case but highly likely case scenarios. Now that's what's alarming.

In the Sinai Peninsula, Hamas is building support bases and arms-manufacturing facilities including those for building rockets. Over time, these rockets will no doubt be upgraded.  In other words, Egypt is becoming a safe haven for anti-Israel terrorism. We know that these attacks will come from the Gaza Strip. The only question is whether at some point they will come directly across the Egypt-Israel border.

Israel had a long experience with three comparable situations....

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 book, Israel: An Introduction, will be published by Yale University Press in January. Latest books include 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).

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