Cairo Viewed from Gaza: Too Soon to Celebrate

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Mark A. Heller - Under Mubarak, Egypt actively repressed its own Islamists and cooperated with Israel in trying to enforce tight controls over movement of people, goods, weapons, and money into and out of Gaza, while simultaneously serving as a patron for Hamas' Fatah rivals in the West Bank. An Islamist takeover in Egypt is not the only scenario that could work to Hamas' advantage. It might also benefit indirectly from general Egyptian sympathy for the Palestinians, which a post-Mubarak government, regardless of its ideological complexion, might feel obliged to accommodate. Finally, there is the possibility of continuing political disorder, exacerbated by the economic demands of newly-empowered labor and professional organizations. Weak government control, particularly in eastern Sinai where there is traditional Bedouin resentment of domination by Cairo, would facilitate large-scale smuggling of weapons and the provision of training and other support from Iran and elsewhere. The writer is Principal Research Fellow at INSS.

2011-03-02 00:00:00

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