Egypt and the Specter of Hamas

[] Daniel Kurtzer - Egypt's long-term complacency about the security situation in Gaza came to a shocking and abrupt end two years ago when Israel pulled out its settlers and army. Not only did Egypt find itself face to face with Palestinians without an Israeli buffer, but Egypt also was a target of Palestinian terrorism in Sinai. The Gaza border suddenly became Egypt's problem. As long as Egypt's Islamist problems were confined to Egypt, the regime and the security service seemed well-prepared to deal with the problem. The question now, however, is whether Hamas' takeover of Gaza will embolden Egypt's Islamists. For an Egyptian regime that had been confident of its ability to "tame" Hamas and insistent that Hamas be accepted as part of Palestinian politics, this specter of Hamas as an example that Egyptian Islamists may seek to emulate has got to be terrifying. The writer is former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and Israel.

2007-07-16 01:00:00

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