Powered by WebAds

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Will Egypt try to save itself by going to war with Israel?

Lee Smith reminds us that - Wednesday's events notwithstanding - the Egyptian army is not a popular institution in that country, and wonders whether the army might not set off a war with Israel in a bid to distract the population from its economic problems and possibly even gain some international aid.
The bigger problem is that the Egyptian army has no plan to stabilize the country. And even if the army takes over, what price is it willing to pay to keep the streets quiet? Shooting protesters? How many? Egyptians, contrary to received wisdom, do not love the army, or else hundreds of people wouldn’t have flashed laser lights at a military helicopter the other night in an effort to blind the pilot and crash it. The army can’t bring order because the energies unleashed with the fall of Mubarak two-plus years ago can’t be put back in the bottle.
The Egyptian army has only one card left to play. Western journalists and other true believers in the promise of the Arab Spring may be shocked by the suggestion that Egypt may be headed to war with Israel in the not-too-distant future. But as the country implodes, war has become the easy way out. It doesn’t matter that the Egyptian army doesn’t want another catastrophic contest with Israel—neither did Anwar Sadat 40 years ago when he saved Egypt by going to war with Israel, which in turn helped him acquire the superpower patronage of the United States.


Egyptians are definitely angry at the state of their country’s economy. But the fact that staples like bread, rice and oil have skyrocketed is to be blamed almost entirely on the fact that protesters have filled the streets since January 2011. In bringing down Mubarak and prosecuting the regime’s technocrats who won high marks from the IMF for reforming the Egyptian economy and attracting foreign direct investment, the revolutionaries ensured that it would be at least a generation before any Egyptian official sought to implement the same policies.
It was in order to avoid unrest that Morsi balked at cutting subsidies and otherwise reforming the economy to satisfy the IMF’s requirements for a $4.8 billion loan. If Qatar wasn’t floating the Morsi government a few billion dollars every couple of months, Egypt would starve. And how do the Egyptians repay Doha’s munificence? By claiming that Morsi’s fall will return Qatar to its proper and, compared to Egypt, insignificant place in regional affairs. Maybe Qatar’s newly enthroned emir will decide he’d rather build more air-conditioned soccer stadiums than feed the inhabitants of the Nile River valley.


A competent leader, likely not Morsi, will soon come to see that he has no choice but to make a virtue of necessity and export the one commodity that Egypt has in abundance—violence. So, why not bind the warring, immature, and grandiose Egyptian factions together in a pact against Israel, the country’s sole transcendent object of loathing? Indeed, it’s not entirely clear why Egypt’s venomous strains of anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic sentiment have not yet hit fever pitch. 
Yes, Morsi doesn’t want to get the White House angry. And there’s also the obvious fact that Egyptians are too divided against themselves right now to be unified against anyone else. But that can’t last for long, or else Egypt will implode.
So, here are the facts that Egyptians and Western reporters alike would rather not face: There is simply no way that today’s Egypt can feed its own people, or fuel the tractors that harvest its crops—let alone attract tens of billions of dollars in foreign investment to grow a hi-tech miracle along the banks of the Nile. That’s fantasyland stuff—like the fantasy of an American-style constitutional democracy run by the Muslim Brotherhood and guaranteed by the Egyptian army. 
So, what’s left? A short war today—precipitated by a border incident in Sinai, or a missile gone awry in the Gaza Strip, and concluded before the military runs out of the ammunition that Washington will surely not resupply—will reunify the country and earn Egypt money from an international community eager to broker peace. Taking up arms against Israel will also return Egypt to its former place of prominence in an Arab world that is adrift in a sea of blood. But even more important is the fact that there is no other plausible way out: Sacrificing thousands of her sons on the altar of war is the only way to save Mother Egypt from herself.

Read the whole thing.

The scenario of Egypt going to war with Israel reminds me of The Mouse that Roared.  But there are two small differences. Israel is not a superpower. And Egypt's economy requires a lot more help than just about any country in the world can give.

Labels: , , , ,


At 12:43 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

He might be right, I was thinking the same thing this morning Morsi out won't feed the people in the street, Obama angry that his new BFF is out will try to hurt the little people in the street they in turn will turn on the 'old enemy'. And my guess Qatar is furious to have lost their Billions of $ 'investment' in Egypt and out go's the Godfather of the brotherhood.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger MUSHI said...

I don't think egypt will start a war with israel right now, the chances of loosing that war are very high as well as the price to pay. Just imagine if israel gets the sinai peninsula again. With the current population numbers, won't be necessary to give it back...

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Unbeliever said...

I don't see it. More likely Egypt fights a few skirmishes with its African neighbors over Nile river water resources. Israel is too likely to respond with the disproportionate force that the media loves to talk about, and if not, then money flooding in would be unlikely.

At 2:30 AM, Blogger Rob said...

This is pure horse manure. Egypt cannot afford to feed its 80 million plus people let alone fight a war.

Also, the Saudis are funding the Junta now partly because Morsi and the Brotherhood made a lot of kissy kissy gestures towards Iran - and the Saudis are smart enough to know that with Obama in the White House, they may need the Israelis to take out Iran's nukes.

With the MB out, Israel has swapped an overtly hostile regime for one that will adhere to the cold armistice of the Mubarak days and do a lot better job taking out tunnels and controlling Egypt's border with Hamasistan.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I would like to clarify something. e Egyptian DO NOT hate their army. The June 30th Revolution was made by the people to bring down the regime the military only helped manifesting the people's will. So this is not a military coup whatsoever. As for the laser thing, whenever a helicopter or an apache would fly above the crowd would cheer and try to show their gratitude, love, and admiration by pointing the lasers that's it not to crash them. And yes the economic state is bad but for a country with such a state it is holding off pretty well any other country would have crumbled. Thank you


Post a Comment

<< Home