Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Are Egypt and Israel Getting Along During This Rioting?

Nadene Goldfoot
At least Mubarak was continuing the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, something Sadat previously had established.  Israelis were even tourists happy to see Egypt for the first time.  I missed the chance of doing so in 1981 and opted to study for my year end exam in Hebrew instead during my Spring break.  Today, I wouldn't do it out of fear for my life.

So what's going on now that Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood Makha, is at the helm?  I found out that as far back as 2007 when Condoleeza Rice was Secretary of State, the USA had the US Army Corps of Engineers in Egypt making plans to improve the security on the border.  The USA has a $23 million dollar project which has seismic sensors there to alert others about invaders through tunnels, etc.  They have another $50 million dollar project to promote development in the region as they feel it takes more than alarms to secure the region.  So America has invested money into Egypt to keep the peace through both Bush and Obama.

Now, just since August 11, we have brought in 700 American soldiers in the region.  16 Egyptian soldiers were killed by 35 masked gunmen in the Sinai. Then they "barreled" into Israel in a truck they stole and an armored vehicle.   Egypt has been getting $1.5 billion per year in arms and military assistance, but it didn't keep out the terrorists on the border.  Morsi must now realize that it's to both Israel and Egypt's good to keep out terrorism.  The question is whether or not Israel will make be forced to make concessions in modifying a 33 year old peace treaty to allow for a more "aggressive Egyptian military presence."  Israelis see Morsi as one who supports the international system of states.  There are people in Egypt who are tying to challenge this.  Since Morsi is a head Muslim Brotherhood person, and this group is all for jihad, I see it is causing difficulties for him to make a decision as to which path to take.

An APC or armoured personnel carrier 

Egypt needs to become sharper and more efficient concerning terrorism. Morsi traveled to the Sinai with his defense minister, intelligence chief and interior minister.  They blame militants in Sinai who were aided by Palestinians in Gaza.  Here again, is the wrench in the works.  The Muslim Brotherhood said in a statement on the Web that Israel had sought to "thwart Egypt's revolution and could be responsible for the attack and that the attack highlighted the need to reconsider the peace treaty with Israel which restricts the number of troops Egypt can station in Sinai.

Israel shut down Kerem Shalom, the one commercial crossing into Gaza.  Egypt closed Rafah where goods and people pass through.  Hamas blocked the tunnels which everything goes through that are smuggled out of Egypt.  The Gazans wound up in long lines to load up on gas and food out of fear of higher prices.

Since then we have had the explosion of anti-American riots where Egypt's American Embassy was the first to be hit.  The security forces did not stop the American flag from being taken down from the outer wall and replaced with a Muslim one.  Somebody there has a talent for scaling walls.  This rioting has spread to over 20 other Muslim countries with religious leaders egging the masses on.

There are foreign peacekeepers in the Sinai today made up from a Multinational Force and Observers base who were just attacked by armed Islamist militants out of the latest protests sweeping the Muslim world.  They threw hand grenades and fired rocket-propelled grenades and had entered the peacekeepers camp and of course raised a black Islamist flag.  5 officers were wounded; 2 Egyptian military officers, 2 Colombians and a British fire chief.  Americans were also there. and they were all part of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.  This happened on Friday at 4:30 Cairo time on September 14, 2012.  Militant had set tires on fire outside the base.  The wounded were evacuated to Israel.  American and fijian troops are now responsible for securing the camp.

What did the Egyptian military do about it?  They sent 4 armored personnel carriers there and sent reinforcements 2 hours later.  They have 12 Egyptian military APCs surrounding the base.  Base officers think local tribal elders were at the base convincing attackers to retreat before the Egyptian military arrived.

Resource:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/world/middleeast/egypt-and-us-step-up-talks-on-security-assistance.html?pagewanted=all&_moc.semityn.www
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2012/0914/Peacekeepers-attacked-in-Egypt-s-Sinai-Peninsula-foreigners-injured
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