Morsi Is Israel's Nightmare, But The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow

Generations of Israelis have feared this very moment, the ultimate nightmare scenario of the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power. But it might not be as bad as it seems, writes Ben Caspit, noting that Morsi will have his hands full dealing with rampant unemployment and poverty, and might just discover that Egypt's quietest border is the one with Israel.

al-monitor Hamas militants hold a poster depicting Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as they celebrate in Gaza City.  Photo by REUTERS/Mohammed Salem.
Ben Caspit

Ben Caspit


Topics covered

poverty, muslim brotherhood, livni, israel, hamas, gaza, egypt, cast lead, caspit, barak, ashkenazi

Jun 27, 2012

We have reached the moment feared by generations of Israeli Intelligence and GSS chiefs. The ultimate nightmare scenario is playing out in front of our very eyes —the same narrative that played a major role in the terror scenarios that starred in the secret war games of the IDF and the Israeli defense system for an entire generation. The moment when Egypt fell — into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The inconceivable is materializing in front of our eyes. The “cliff” — Shimon Peres,[the Israeli President]‘s,  nickname for Hosni Mubarak — has been washed to sea, and is being replaced by the Muslim flood. All this transpires in the largest Arab country, Israel’s major strategic peace partner, the regional anchor, the neighborhood balance factor. It’s over.

The nature of formative historical moments such as these is to dissolve into the puddle of the distressing reality. True, the sun will evidently rise the day after tomorrow. Nothing out of the ordinary will take place. Amos Gilad, [Head of the security-political office at the Defense ministry and previously head of military intelligence] will still fly secretly to Egypt and sit in front of the Fellows from the Intelligence Agency (Mukhabarat) in Cairo. The sky won’t fall on anyone, and war won’t break out with Egypt in the near future. There is no reason to panic, no need to refresh the army’s war reserve-stores unit. The days when the Soviet Union was able to arm an entire Arab army from head to foot free of charge, are long gone. Today, even the United States is no longer capable of doing such a thing.

Morsi will get up every morning and have to feed 87 million Egyptians who multiply exponentially, and to finance unemployment payments to the millions of unemployed. He will look right and left, west, south and east, and will reveal that his only (relatively) peaceful border is the one he shares with Israel. He will understand that between the Sudanese and Libyans and Sinai Peninsula Bedouins — the only ones he can rely on, are the Israelis. He will make the trip to Washington and, yes, eventually he will go to Washington, where he will learn the numbers game.

The Military Council has taken away Morsi’s jurisdiction over foreign affairs and security, and mainly — the power to declare war. They have left him the daily sewage of education, health, the pita and the fava-bean that are staples on every Egyptian table. So it’s too early to get into a funk. On the other hand, at this pace, depression will arrive at some point.

Yes, life will be a lot harder from now on. “Cast Lead 2”? It will not be simple. Third Lebanon War? Same as above. Let’s not forget that during the Second Lebanon War, Mubarak begged Olmert to crush Hezbollah. And with regard to Hamas, the Egyptians danced every time we lopped off heads there. Now, instead of a regional power that hates Hamas, a sister-state to Hamas sits on our southern border. The Muslim Brotherhood views Hamas as colleagues. On this background, we begin to understand the historic missed opportunity of the Cast Lead campaign. We will shed many tears over this bungle. The IDF was surprised from the ease with which it swept over the Gaza Strip; the glorified Hamas fighters went down to the tunnels, all of Gaza swayed in the breeze: all that was needed was one simple decision to bring down the entire edifice. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was ready to go for it but he was opposed by three people that the people of Israel will find hard to forgive: two politicians, Ehud Barak [ Minister of Defense in Olmert’s government] and Tzipi Livni [Minister of Foreign Affairs in that government], who had their eyes on the approaching elections and not on what needed to be done [in Gaza], and one Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who didn’t want to take a chance of spoiling his perfect war track-record.

And now, poetic justice: Barak is erased from politics, Livni as well, and Ashkenazi’s record is no longer perfect. But Hamas? Alive and kicking.

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