Rubin Reports: Egypt is a Volcano, The West Snoozes, But Israel Won’t Play the Role of Pompeii (JEWISH PRESS) By: Barry Rubin 03/16/12)
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“Interchangeable ever were the terms of abuse with which the
aggressor discredits those about to be ravaged!”
–Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano
Reality: Those who are, or will soon be, governing Egypt view
themselves as being at war with Israel for all practical purposes.
It matters relatively little that there is still a peace treaty. In
Cairo, there are no thoughts of peace.
This is the second biggest disaster of the “Arab Spring.” The same
applies to the Egyptian government’s attitude to the United States.
That is the biggest disaster.
It is a disaster that U.S. policymakers and journalists have not even
begun to recognize, much less counter. Same applies to the British.
Here’s the latest example. The Egyptian parliament voted unanimously
to demand the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador and the halt of all
natural gas exports to Israel. Isn’t going to happen? Well, not this
month. Of course, the military junta is still in control, but it
won’t be by the end of June. And then the deluge begins.
The mechanics of this step are especially significant. The
parliament’s Arab affairs committee issued a report that stated:
“Revolutionary Egypt will never be a friend, partner or ally of the
Zionist entity (Israel), which we consider to be the number one enemy
of Egypt and the Arab nation. It will deal with that entity as an
enemy, and the Egyptian government is hereby called upon to review
all its relations and accords with that enemy.”
It’s rather difficult to be at peace with your “number one enemy”
isn’t it, especially when you treat it as an enemy in all aspects of
policy? And in this report and successful resolution, Israel is
referred to as an “entity” and not a state thirty years after the two
countries made peace and “ended” their conflict. That’s the same term
used by Iran, Hamas, and Hizballah. And the report calls for a total
boycott of Israel, which would mean that even if there would be an
Israeli embassy in Cairo no Egyptian official would meet with its
The report also endorses Palestinian resistance “in all its kinds and
forms” against Israel’s “aggressive policies.” That is an endorsement
of terrorism and of Hamas firing rockets, missiles, and mortars from
the Gaza Strip. If, for example, a Palestinian were to get inside an
Israeli kindergarten and machine-gun all the toddlers, that would be
justified in the eyes of Egypt’s new rulers. And that’s no
In a sense, then, this is a declaration of war. Oh, it isn’t a formal
war with the Egyptian military building up its forces in eastern
Sinai or launching a cross-border attack. But war nonetheless.
It means—as I’ve been warning for a year—that Egypt will do almost
anything to help Hamas wage a war against Israel from the Gaza Strip.
This will mean: the free flow of military supplies, money,
terrorists, and even Egyptian volunteers. It also means the building
of Hamas weapons’ manufacturing factories, bases, and training
installations in eastern Sinai.
And there’s something else here that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
The vote was unanimous. There is not a single Egyptian in parliament
who would dare say:
“Wait a minute! Is this wise? Is this accurate? Didn’t we get back
the Sinai as a result of peace, which means the reopening of the Suez
Canal and the operation of our oilfields there? Aren’t we in danger
of sliding into a disastrous war? Haven’t we been down this path
before? Don’t we want to avoid foreign adventures and focus on
dealing with our social problems and economy? Shouldn’t we try to
maintain a good relationship with the United States?”
Nobody, or close to nobody, will say such things, even the few who
dare think them will not dare speak them. This is how the hysteria
and demagoguery build into war, bloodshed, and catastrophe. If they
don’t say it now, they certainly won’t say it a year from now.
This does not mean that Egypt is going to go to war by means of its
army attacking Israel. It does, however, mean that Egypt will do
everything up to that point. And it is possible that through
ideological fanaticism, miscalculation, or the actions of
subordinates even this line will be crossed in future.
And the West doesn’t have a clue that there is a volcano steaming
away, throwing rocks into the air, rumbling, and getting ready to
When I talk to Western diplomats and journalists they keep saying
something like: But it doesn’t make sense for Egypt to become a
radical state eager for a confrontation with Israel. It isn’t in
their interests given all the country’s internal and economic
The Western governments, media, and “experts” are still pretending
that good old material interest will solve everything and keep
everyone moderate. Pay no attention to Egypt’s willingness to try
more than a dozen Americans as espionage agents even though that
action jeopardizes future aid. There’s nothing to worry about.
Precisely the opposite is true. Since the new rulers cannot solve or
even reduce those things such extremism is precisely the answer to
their political problems. Whip up hysteria, ensure mass support, and
get people to forget or ignore their “real” problems. There is an
Arab expression often used as the battle cry of this method: Let no
voice rise above the din of battle. Or, to put it another way, Shut
up! We’re busy trying to kill Jews here!
In my opinion, the coming developments in Egypt are going to dwarf
any threat from Iran, certainly for the next two years. (© 2012
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