Friday, January 25, 2008

Mubarak pulls Eyptian border forces out of N. Sinai, Washington evacuates US MFO unit from El Arish

Announcing that Egypt would not expel the hundreds of thousands of Gazan Palestinians who continue to crossed the broken border fence into N. Sinai, President Hosni Mubarak redeployed his special border force from the Gazan border to points south of El Arish, Bir Lahfan and Abu Aweigila. This step effectively handed over to the control of Hamas-led Palestinian terrorist organizations and al Qaedal a northern Sinai enclave of roughly 855 sq, km., twice the area of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Early Thursday, Jan. 24, American forces and equipment withdrew from the Multi-force Organization base at Al Gura northeast of al Arish. This force monitors Sinai’s demilitarization under a key clause of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. Washington and Cairo are discussing evacuating the entire base and its 400 multinational personnel. The Egyptian high command was informed that Hamas had begun moving some of its elite units to its new stronghold. Egyptian forces are not capable of contending with this strength or the hundreds of thousands of Gazan Palestinians on the move between Gaza and Sinai since Hamas blew up the concrete border fence Tuesday.

Israeli officials continue to treat the crisis as a problem for Egypt to address, rather than emanating from Israel’s failure to pre-empt Hamas’ well-laid plan with timely and appropriate military action. Senior military sources told DEBKAfile that Hamas’ strategic feat is irreversible. By demolishing the 10-km concrete barrier dividing the Gaza Strip from Egyptian Sinai, Hamas has acquired a new stronghold outside Israel’s military reach while their missiles and guns retain access to Israeli targets from the Gaza Strip.

They wonder why defense minister Ehud Barak has not cut short his attendance at the Economic Forum in Switzerland when the blockade he ordered on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip - but for fuel and other necessities – had become futile.

Comment: Some larger questions need to be asked. All of these years Egypt has had the ability to allow Gazans into Egypt-yet they chose to keep them "fenced in"-why? Why now has Mubarak decided it is OK to allow free passage back and forth? Is Egypt taking any intelligence or military steps to assure the "peaceful and common citizens" who have been "laid siege" by evil Israel that they will now be free of terrorists? Why does the Arab media continue to distort the truth? Oh, we already know this answer. When will Egypt close the border, under what circumstances will it stop the peaceful population exchange?

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