As Egypt and Hamas work together to try to seal up the Gaza boarder, it may be time for the inevitable “postmortem.” The first question of which is usually “who won?” War is not a football game where victories can be computed in touchdowns and field goals and since this is a war of attrition, you can’t tell by a territory exchange.The Goal of the “broken wall” has more to do with Egypt than it had to do with Israel. Hamas is a off shoot of the Egyptian Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which also suckled American groups such as MAS and CAIR. The Egyptian Brotherhood organization wishes to take of the Egyptian government. They cannot do so democratically because, well, Egypt is not a democracy, so they will work toward their goal of turning Egypt into an Islamic theocracy any way it can. And with the destruction of the Gaza wall its offspring Hamas, may have just handed them Egypt on a silver platter:
The Gaza Breakout January 29, 2008 What if Gaza were to conquer Egypt? The possibility is not as remote as it may seem just by glancing at the map. Egypt has more than 50 times the population of its former colony and 2,800 times the landmass. But Gaza is sovereign Hamas territory, Hamas is the Palestinian branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and Egypt — not Israel — is the country that has most to fear from a statelet that is at once the toehold, sanctuary and springboard of an Islamist revolution. No wonder liberal Egyptians are reacting with near-hysterical alarm to last Wednesday’s demolition of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai. The Brotherhood organized at least 70 demonstrations throughout Egypt early last week to protest Israel’s economic blockade of the Strip, itself a reaction to Hamas’s rocket barrages into Israel. “Arm us, train us and send us to Gaza,” chanted the demonstrators, along with “O rulers of Muslims, where is your honor, where is your religion?” The independent Egyptian daily Almasry Alyoum also described conversations between Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, to coordinate their activities. “We will take to the streets and defend our brothers in Gaza, even if we are all tried in military courts,” Mr. Akef was reported as saying. As Middle Eastern power plays go, Hamas’s decision to dismantle the Gaza-Sinai border was a masterstroke. Gaza’s economic woes are almost wholly self-inflicted, but they are real. Dynamiting and bulldozing the border of a neighboring country is legally an act of war, but it was made to seem like a humanitarian necessity and a bid for freedom. Flooding that neighbor with hundreds of thousands of desperate people is a massive economic burden on Egypt, but one that it shirks at its political peril. Above all, Hamas exploited the myth of pan-Arab solidarity with the Palestinians in order to explode it. Having whipped itself into its usual frenzy over Israel’s “siege” of Gaza, it was a delicate matter for the state-run Egyptian press to make the government’s case for deploying truncheon-wielding police to turn back the Palestinian human tide. It’s an equally delicate matter for the Egyptian government to arrest Brotherhood protesters peacefully demonstrating “for Palestine,” even if the Brotherhood’s real target is Hosni Mubarak’s regime and the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty that it supports. For Palestinians who have spent squalid decades in the refugee camps of Lebanon (which forbids Palestinians from owning property or having any sort of gainful employment), or have been systematically abused as laborers in the Gulf sheikdoms (Kuwait expelled its Palestinian population en masse following its 1991 liberation from Iraq), or have had a country denied to them by a Hashemite regime in Jordan, the lies of the Arab world are well known. Still, it must have seemed to Palestinians an especially galling contrast that Israel announced the resumption of fuel supplies to Gaza just as Egypt was cutting its deliveries of fuel and foodstuffs to its border towns of Rafah and El Arish in the Sinai, in order to keep the Palestinians out. For good measure, Egyptian sources tell me that yesterday the government also arrested 3,000 Gazans who had made their way to Cairo — yet another betrayal that will surely linger in Palestinian memory for a long time. For the Brotherhood all this is excellent news. Yesterday, Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian minister in President Mahmoud Abbas’s cabinet, reportedly sought a meeting in Cairo with Supreme Guide Akef in order to negotiate a new border arrangement. Mr. Akef declined to see him, a telling indicator of the Brotherhood’s newfound political confidence. It can now lay firm claim to the Palestinian cause, never mind that its “brothers” in Hamas are the real source of current Palestinian misery. By contrast, the Egyptian government faces a serious quandary, and not just as a matter of rhetoric. By its treaty with Israel, it is forbidden from deploying its army in large numbers to the Sinai. In previous years, it used this restriction as an alibi in its lackluster efforts to prevent the arms flow from Sinai to Gaza. Now that flow threatens to go in the opposite direction, endangering not just Israel but also Egyptian tourist resorts such as Taba and Sharm el-Sheikh. “The situation in Sinai now poses the greatest threat to Egypt’s national security,” writes one perceptive Egyptian blogger. “Any Palestinian crossing the border could take with him weapons and explosives and supply them to Al Qaeda affiliated groups in Sinai.” The Egyptian-Israeli treaty may ultimately have to be revised to take account of the changing facts on the ground. Israel, too, will have to rethink some basic strategic assumptions. Supporters of Ariel Sharon’s “disengagement” plan — present company included — can take a measure of satisfaction in noting that Gaza is increasingly becoming an Arab problem rather than an Israeli one. But in addition to the physical challenge of having to defend against incessant (if so far rarely deadly) rocket attacks from Gaza, and reinforce its long desert border with Egypt, Israel must also now consider the possibility that the current regime in Egypt may not long survive the death of its soon-to-be octogenarian president. Who and what comes next is anyone’s guess, though it would be foolish to gamble on Gamal Mubarak, the president’s West-leaning son. Egypt is a military regime, and the younger Mubarak, who never served in uniform, is not well-loved among the generals who will have the final say in matters of succession. A more serious question is whether the military might take a more indulgent view of the Brotherhood, either because it has been infiltrated by Islamist officers, or because it seeks a condominium with the Brotherhood in order to shore up its own legitimacy. (In this connection, U.S. efforts to “engage” the Brotherhood in a political dialogue would have a disastrous effect, as it would signal to the military that it could cut its own deal with the Islamists without having to pay a price in U.S. support.) In the meantime, the border with Gaza is again being sealed, bringing the crisis to a temporary end. It won’t remain quiet for long, and neither will Egypt — the next great foreign policy crisis on the American horizon.