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Thursday, February 10, 2011

It is not a democratic Egypt that Israelis fear

Former Israeli ambassador to the United States Sallai Meridor does a good job of summing up what worries Israelis about Egypt.
It is not a democratic Egypt that Israelis fear but the prospect of Egypt being hijacked by enemies of democracy, of Israel and of the United States. Within every revolution are some who hope to use democratic processes to establish oppressive regimes. This was, to a large extent, what triumphed in Iran in 1979 and what happened in Gaza only five years ago. Many Israelis wonder why it would be any different in Egypt, which is home to the world's most powerful and popular Islamist movement.

Should the government of Hosni Mubarak be replaced by one not truly committed to freedom and peace, the consequences for Israel could be devastating. As Egypt struggles toward an internal balance that appeases all forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, peace with Israel could be the price of an Egyptian compromise. And the risks are worse if the Brotherhood, an organization deeply hostile to Israel, America and the West, gets to call the shots.

Consider what an Egyptian official once told me: "There is no war without Egypt." From 1948 to 1973, Israel had to fight four wars against coalitions of Arab armies. Since the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, however, there has not been even one war between Israel and Arab states. The lives of many Israelis and Arabs have been saved over the past four decades, and the security burden on Israel's economy has become more bearable. Yet if the peace with Egypt dissolves, the risks to the Jewish state and its citizens cannot be overstated.

The implications for the region could be massive. If Israel's western neighbor turns hostile, where would that leave our eastern neighbor, Jordan? Would it remain at peace with us? What would be the impact on other pro-American regimes? How many weeks, or days, would the new alignment of interests between Israel and most Arab regimes last against an aggressive and nuclear-armed Iran? If there is a negative outcome to the events unfolding in Egypt, the world will be living with a new Middle East, but it will be very different from the one we all aspire to.
Read the whole thing.

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At 2:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the drunk begins to puke in the street all a bystander can do is get out of the way--the time to intervene was the night before or try again the morning after...Mubarak isn't staying or leaving either to please those who fear the Muslim Brotherhood and put their faith in his state apparatus or to please or spite those in the streets who want him gone--he's on his own internal gyroscope and events will have to play out


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