Thursday, December 01, 2011

If at first...

All the countries that have been affected by the recent uprisings in the Arab world are now in the process of being taken over by extremist Muslim parties (so-called "moderate" Islamists). In Tunisia, Libya and Morocco the far right has won the elections, and in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood is expected to win. The "Arab Spring" has turned into a "Muslim Winter." In Egypt the secular and liberal opposition has effectively vanished and the people have voted their preference. In Syria the opposition demonstrations against the Assad regime are led mainly by the Muslim Brotherhood. That leaves Jordan, Saudi Arabia, that is already Wahhabi and the Gulf States that are more western in their approach.

A cursory look would convince anyone that this trend bodes ill for Israel. The Islamist approach is fanatically anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. A few days ago there was a gathering at the al-Zahar University in Cairo, the leading Islamic Institution in the Arab world (!), and there were chants of "kill all the Jews", etc. These people mean business, this is no idle threat. However, this is not to say that the whole of the Muslim Brotherhood in these countries are as bloodthirsty. But, enough of them are to pose a future threat.

When a Government is formed in each of these countries they will have to deal with severe problems, not least of which is the economic disaster. How can the Government afford to feed 88 million people in Egypt, in effect that is impossible. But, they could try as best they can, which will probably take them 20 years, or they can stir up the masses against Israel. But, their military forces are in disarray, they have been used mostly for repressing their own populations, especially in Libya and Syria. They don't have the funds to modernize and currently they present no challenge to the IDF. What is more likely is a wave of Muslim Brotherhood inspired terrorism against Israel. After all, Hamas that engages in terrorism against Israel, is in fact the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood off-shoot.

We must remember that the last major war fought by the Arab countries against Israel, before the peace treaty with Egypt was signed, was the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Israel fought the pan-Arab armies under Nasser in 1956 and 1967, the Egyptian nationalist forces under Sadat in 1973, and now we have the Muslim Brotherhood finally taking power. The young in Egypt do not remember the past defeats they suffered at the hands of the IDF. No doubt they would like to try again under the auspices of Islam. It may take them some time to get themselves worked up enough, but I predict that if Egypt abrogates the peace treaty with Israel, then there will be the build up to a confrontation again. It may take some years, during which the situation vis-a-vis Iran will perhaps be resolved. But, they feel they have the right and the duty to do this. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!


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