Hamas' Escalation Calculation

(Now Lebanon) Tony Badran - Hamas' war with Israel was, in fact, a failed attempt to reconfigure its power relationship with Cairo. Gaza's gateway to the world is Egypt. Hamas saw the fall of Mubarak, and the ascent to power of the Muslim Brotherhood, as its opportunity to lift the stifling constraints that existed under the Mubarak regime. From Hamas' perspective, the dawn of unlimited populist support for the "resistance" by Muslim Brotherhood governments was here, and Hamas was to be the vanguard of this new regional order. However, the new Egyptian government was even stricter in enforcing control over the smuggling tunnels in Sinai. Hamas moved to rewrite the rules and impose them not only on Israel, but also on Egypt. The steady escalation of rocket attacks on southern Israel was the new normal that Hamas sought to establish. Hamas, however, misread both the Israelis and the Egyptians. At the end of the day, Hamas ended up with the status quo ante, with net losses. Most importantly, Hamas angered the new Egyptian president. Gaza does not set the terms for Egypt. Ultimately, Morsi acted like the president of Egypt, not the leader of an ideological movement. Hamas now finds itself further under Egypt's thumb. The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

2012-11-23 00:00:00

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