I’m going to make a prediction here that, unfortunately, I’m sure is going to
come true. Any good analyst should be able to see this, yet few will, until it
happens within the next two years: The Egyptian revolution will make another
Israel-Hamas war inevitable, with a lot more of an international
And I’ll go a step further: An incompetent and mistaken US policy
makes such a conflict even more certain.
First, Hamas, which rules
the Gaza Strip, is a revolutionary Islamist movement which genuinely views
itself as directed by God, considers Jews to be subhuman, believes that a
willingness to court suicide and welcome death will ensure victory and is
certain that it is going to destroy Israel and then transform Palestinian
society into an Islamic Garden of Eden. The well-being and even physical
survival of the people it rules is of little importance to it.
this, there are only two ways to stop Hamas from waging war on Israel. The
shorter-term solution is deterrence through strength. The defeat Hamas suffered
in the 2008- 2009 war forced it to retrench and become cautious for a
The only longer-term solution is the overthrow of the Hamas regime
in the Gaza Strip, with the maximum possible destruction of the
Events in Egypt, and US policy, have destroyed the
shorter-term option, and made the longer-term one impossible.
weapons, Hamas will go to war. It’s only a matter of time.
Egyptian revolution removed a regime that defined the national interest as
having an anti- Hamas policy. The Mubarak government did not maintain sanctions
and an (albeit imperfect) blockade of weapons for Israel’s benefit.
did so because it saw revolutionary Islamism as the main threat to the nation.
This was not, as current US officials would have it, some cynically manipulated
mirage to justify dictatorship.
In addition to the direct threat of Hamas
subversion in cooperation with other Islamist groups, the Mubarak government saw
Hamas as part of a broader, Iran-led strategic threat.
A new government,
whether radical nationalist, Islamist or “liberal democratic,” will have the
THE MUSLIM Brotherhood views Hamas as its closest ally and
wants it to overthrow the Palestinian Authority as well as destroy Israel. The
nationalists support Hamas as part of the larger Arab struggle against Israel.
The “liberal democrats” do so because they know this is a very popular position
with Egyptians, and therefore to oppose it would reduce their already tiny base
And so Hamas knows it now has an ally rather than an enemy at
Moreover, there is no incentive in Egypt – or among its
nationalist and Islamist-sympathetic officers – to block arms smuggling into the
Hamas is thus greatly strengthened and made more confident,
and hence arrogant. It is more able to fire mortars and launch rockets and
cross-border attacks, and far more eager to do so.
As for US policy,
while supporting some sanctions on Hamas and refusing to engage with it, the US
government has not supported overthrowing the Gaza regime, though any serious
assessment of US interests shows this should be a priority – part of the war
against Iranian hegemony in the region, revolutionary Islamism, terrorism and
instability. Even more, doing so would aid the moribund peace process by keeping
the Palestinian Authority in power.
But there is no appreciation for
these points in Washington today.
What makes matters worse is the Obama
administration’s demand – after about a half-dozen Islamist militants were
killed on a ship after they attacked IDF soldiers – to minimize
Thus, the Obama administration is not just rearranging the
deck chairs on the Titanic, it’s enlarging the hole below the water
This ensured that there would be a genocidal, revolutionary
Islamist, subversion- spreading, anti-American, brutally repressive,
anti-Christian, misogynist Iranian client on the Mediterranean.
really alarming is that the description in the previous sentence is not in the
We’re talking about a regime like the Taliban
Now, US support for a transformation of Egypt, with no idea where
that will lead, has helped turn that nation into a Hamas ally. The Obama
administration has also supplied one more reason why revolutionary Islamists
feel the future belongs to them, America is finished in the region and why they
should be even more aggressive.
What we are seeing now is Hamas getting
new weapons and escalating its use of terrorism. In addition, we are not even
seeing significant international action or even criticism of this
On the contrary, the more terrorism Hamas commits, the more
Israel is criticized in the Western media.
Terrorism works; aggression
goes unpunished. Why be surprised that Hamas becomes increasingly confident?
It’s only a matter of time until Hamas once again launches a larger-scale
assault on Israel. At that point, Israel will have to respond with a major
counterattack on the Gaza Strip.
Will Egypt remain neutral? Will its
government stop the Muslim Brotherhood and its sympathizers, or rush arms, money
and even armed Egyptian volunteers into the Gaza Strip? Will the West blame
Israel for the violence? Will the US take any productive action?
This crisis is
inevitable, though it might take a couple of years. Yet nobody outside Israel
sees – or wants to see – what’s coming.
The writer is director of the
Global Research in International Affairs Center and editor of the Middle East
Review of International Affairs Journal and Turkish Studies.