Tuesday September 2, 2014
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01.09.2014
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Report: US secretly suspends military aid to Egypt
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Dan Margalit

Diplomatic legwork

For Israel, conducting a diplomatic campaign to help Egypt's military regime is a bad move. It's bad both for Israel and the Egyptian military. But it's the lesser of two evils. There is no better option.

The return of the Muslim Brotherhood to power, which it lost several weeks ago, was the cause of endless trouble. With the Muslim Brotherhood in charge, Egypt was plunging back into the Middle Ages. In the Muslim Brotherhood's eyes, the only respectable place for women is in the kitchen; and religious zealots and demagogues without solutions are preferable to academics and scientists.

It would be a resounding tragedy for the entire region if various ayatollahs controlled Tehran, Ankara and Cairo, as well as Beirut to some extent. It would also be problematic for Europe, which is now facing a threat to its rail network from Islamic terrorists. Some Europeans are indifferent, others are fearful, and none are rising to the challenge. And it would be a perpetual headache for Israel. With a Muslim Brotherhood regime in charge of Egypt, the peace deal signed by Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat in 1979, which has withstood many tough tests since, would be under constant threat.

After Sadat was assassinated by a dark fanatic, Begin insisted on attending Sadat's funeral. No one could imagine an Israeli prime minister would have followed the coffin of Hosni Mubarak had he been assassinated (the Egyptian military regime is probably right, but not wise, to release Mubarak at this time, a step that will add more fuel to the fire). Israel will pay a certain price even if the Egyptian military manages to stabilize the country. The Egyptian military will have to show some detachment from Israel. It is in fact liberal circles, not the Muslim Brotherhood, who are currently calling for the annulment of the peace deal with Israel. If Col. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vanquishes his opponents, he will be forced to listen to the terrifying screams coming from Tahrir Square.

But a victory by Sissi is the easy option. If the Americans and Europeans succeed in turning the wheel back by toppling the military regime, relations between Jerusalem and Cairo will be unbearable. Whoever the next Mohammed Morsi is won't overlook Israel's diplomatic effort to turn the hearts of the U.S. and Europe toward the military regime. The price paid by Israel will not be low.

There is something alarming about the fact that Israel needs to knock on the doors of Western foreign ministries to explain the Egypt situation. They should be able to understand it on their own without outside help. The West's strange behavior regarding Egypt requires thorough study. Perhaps the West has lost the will to engage in the battle over who will control the Suez Canal, which links Europe with Asia. Maybe Obama is naive. And it could be that Europe is deterred by Islamic wrath, due to the many Arabs who have settled within its borders.

The Americans and Europeans are observing events in Egypt as if hypnotized. Israel must therefore deviate from the non-interventionism that has characterized its conduct in Egypt and Syria so far. The ease with which the Egyptian military is pulling the trigger is frightening. But it is engaged in a life-or-death struggle. The side that blinks first, gives into outside pressure, or is not willing to go all the way -- won't be able to go anywhere at all. Sissi knows this, The Muslim Brotherhood knows this. But Obama and Catherine Ashton pretend like they don't know. "Beware of hypocrites," Alexander Yanai advised his wife and heir.

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