The Gaza War and Its Fallout

(Weekly Standard) Elliott Abrams - Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood (MB) president, Mohamed Morsi, consistently separated Egypt's interests from those of Hamas. He did not go to Gaza during the war, did not break relations with Israel, and did not threaten to cancel the peace treaty. It was clear that he did not want the tail to wag the dog - did not want the leaders of 1.5 million Gazans to harm the interests of 85 million Egyptians. He did not want a ground war that might have forced his hand on relations with Israel, and he does not want to see acts of terrorism against Israel launched from Egyptian territory. Significantly, Morsi's position appears to be that of the MB as an institution. During the war, Khairat al-Shater, perhaps the single strongest leader in the Brotherhood (and its initial candidate for president), sharply criticized Hamas in a meeting of the MB leadership reported in Al-Ahram. Al-Shater denounced Hamas for entangling Egypt in a potential conflict with Israel, and said the army must do a better job of stopping the smuggling of arms into Gaza. People who create crises between Egypt and the West and threaten the vital foreign aid Egypt needs are working against Egypt's interests, he said. Getting Egypt to close the smuggling tunnels and police the border should be a main goal of U.S. diplomacy. The supply of Fajr missiles by Iran to Hamas may remind European leaders and our own - as does the presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hizbullah soldiers in Syria - that Iran lies at the heart of the region's troubles. The writer is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

2012-11-28 00:00:00

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