it was only a matter of time before today's Israeli offensive ran into a snag. The complication: Egypt, which has long been treading the fence being both a pro-US regional power (someone has to provide those joint guarantees on Egyptian bonds, and to supply the local tear gas canisters in exchange for a friendly Suez Canal administrator), as well as a pro-Muslim presence. Today, the government was taken to task by the ruling Islamist Muslim Brotherhood which felt the need to be true to its name and express disgust at the Israeli action in Gaza. From AFP: "Egypt’s Islamist Freedom and Justice Party, formerly headed by President Mohammed Mursi, said on Wednesday Egypt would no longer stand by as Israel attacked Palestinians after air strikes killed a Hamas leader. The FJP, the political arm of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement, said Israeli air strikes that killed top militant Ahmed al-Jaabari in Gaza earlier on Wednesday required “swift Arab and international action to stop the massacres.” The party, which fielded Mursi in a June election to replace toppled president Hosni Mubarak, said Israel “must take into account the changes in the Arab region and especially Egypt.” Egypt “will not allow the Palestinians to be subjected to Israeli aggression, as in the past,” the party statement said."
The problem is what happens when outgoing regional presence Hillary Clinton makes a phone call to Mursi and reminds him just who runs the country. Should Egypt even then continue pretending it is willing to risk its US alliance and push for solidarity with Palestine then all bets are off, including bets that Suez Canal access to key Israel ally - the US - will remain uninhibited.
Mubarak, overthrown in early 2011, was criticized by his opponents for his response to an Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2008-2009 following rocket fire by Palestinian militants.
Mursi, a vociferous supporter of the Palestinians before his election, had been expected to open up to the blockaded Gaza Strip bordering Egypt, but his government has backed off from his pledges.
And then this:
— Ghanem Nuseibeh ???? (@gnuseibeh) November 14, 2012
Not surprisingly, Enduring America's "snap analysis" agrees:
This campaign against Gaza puts the Middle East in an awkward spot. Clearly, "Arab Spring" was, if nothing else, a referendum on human rights. If leaders like Egypt's Morsi, or others in the region, see that their populous views today's events similarly to events in, say, Syria or Libya, then this could force regional leaders to put significant pressure on Israel.
It's too early to speculate, but to say that the region is highly susceptible to instability at the current moment is an understatement.
The ball is now in Israel's court. Because while the small country may be willing to engage three regional powers at the same time, one wonders if going full retard and adding Egypt to the countries provoked will be something even Israel is willing to do.