Sultan Knish blog on Jul 31, 2014
While Israelis are fighting and dying, families huddling in bomb
shelters and soldiers going off to face death, the men and women in
suits and power suits moving through the great halls of diplomacy are
using them as pawns in a larger game.
the Cold War, Israel was a pawn in a larger struggle between the US and
the USSR. Now it is back to being a counter in a larger game.
function within the great halls of diplomacy was always as a lever on
the Arab states. It was not an end, but a means of moving them one way
or another. When the Arab states drifted into the Soviet orbit, the
“Special Relationship” was born. The relationship accomplished its goal
once Egypt was pried out of the Soviet orbit. It has lingered on because
of the emotional and cultural ties of Israel and the US.
Obama is using Israel as a lever to push Egypt back into the Islamist
camp. Egypt’s rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood broke the Arab Spring.
Political Islam, which seemed to be on the ascendance, is back to being
a freak show represented by terrorists and Turkey’s mad mustachioed
Egypt was where Obama went to begin the Arab Spring. Egypt is still his target. Israel is just the lever.
reason Israel was never allowed to truly win any wars was because it
was being used as a lever. By being a “good lever” during the Cold War,
it could damage Egypt enough that the latter would come to the
negotiating table overseen by the US and move back into the Western
sphere of influence.
Israel couldn’t be allowed to win a big
enough victory because then there would nothing to negotiate. Likewise,
Israel wouldn’t be allowed to keep what it won because then there would
be no reason for Egypt to come to the negotiating table. Sometimes
Israel would even be expected to lose, as in the Yom Kippur War, to
force it to come to the negotiating table.
Swap Egypt for the PLO
and that’s how the disastrous peace process happened. Then swap the PLO
for Hamas and that is where we are now.
Obama’s initial support
for Israel’s war on Hamas was only to the extent necessary to bring the
terrorist group to the negotiating table. And then once Hamas comes to
the negotiating table, the White House will back its demands against
Israel in exchange for getting the Brotherhood on board with its agenda.
is just the means; the Muslim Brotherhood and political Islam are the
objective. That objective may mean the end of the West, but those
striding boldly through the halls of diplomacy are not worried.
The real target of the Hamas campaign wasn’t Israel; it was Egypt.
crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood had included Hamas. That crackdown
worried Hamas far more than anything that Israel was doing. Meanwhile
the Muslim Brotherhood’s loss of power meant a major setback for the
sugar daddies of the Arab Spring; Qatar, Turkey and their Western
The new alignment had placed Qatar, Turkey, Obama and the
EU in one row, while Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the PLO
were in another row. The latest phase of the Gaza War between Israel and
Hamas was meant to break apart that alignment.
toward Iran had encouraged Sunni Muslims to throw their backing behind
ISIS leading to significant gains in Iraq. Qatar and Turkey, backers of
both Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, then used ISIS to push the
myth that the only counter to Al Qaeda was the Brotherhood’s political
Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, political Islam and
the Jihadist bands, have always been two sides of the same coin, but the
argument remains a persuasive one in the great halls of diplomacy.
had bottled up Hamas to avoid a repetition of the jailbreaks, terrorist
attacks and street violence that had freed Morsi and Brotherhood
leaders and later enabled Morsi to attempt a takeover of the Egyptian
The path to putting the Muslim Brotherhood back in power in Egypt runs through Hamas.
attacked Israel. There was enough backing for Israel’s attack on Hamas
to get it to the negotiating table. But once a ceasefire offer was on
the table, Egypt would no longer be calling the shots. Instead the deal
would come through two of Hamas’ state sponsors; Qatar and Turkey.
this to work, Obama had to keep a leash on Israel, giving it permission
to fight and then pulling it back at the critical moment. Meanwhile
Egypt would be surprised to learn that it was no longer setting the
terms of the ceasefire based on the same old arrangement, but that its
place would be filled by Qatar and Turkey. Their ceasefire terms,
approved by the US, would loosen the blockade around Hamas.
had attempted to hold Hamas to the original ceasefire terms. That was
not in the interests of the White House. The ceasefire negotiations had
to be sabotaged with a political intervention on behalf of Hamas. And
who better to conduct that political intervention than Secretary of
State John Kerry?
Egypt, Israel and the PLO had not wanted Kerry
to come. Israel’s former ambassador to the US had said that he was not
invited. But he was caught on a hot mic saying that he was going to come
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was even more unwanted, but Qatar transported him to Israel.
Kerry, the UN and Hamas had all become projections of Qatari state power into Egypt and Israel.
US and the UN pushed for an urgent and immediate ceasefire. Israel
accepted the ceasefire several times, but Hamas resumed firing each
time. While Israel thought that this demonstrated its peaceful
intentions, what it actually did was give Hamas the power to set the
terms of the ceasefire.
Once Hamas had that power, meeting its demands became the key element of ending the violence.
of Egypt’s remaining political assets had been the ability to turn off
Hamas violence. Now Qatar and Turkey had demonstrated that it could no
longer do that. With Qatar, Turkey and the US undermining Egypt, it
could no longer pressure Hamas. Meanwhile the UN and the US were
pressuring Israel to accept the Qatar/Turkey ceasefire terms favorable
to Hamas and unfavorable to Egypt and Israel.
But diplomacy was never Kerry’s strong suit. His blatant Qatari intervention instead alienated everyone.
has chosen to extend the operation against Hamas. Backing him up are
poll numbers which show that the vast majority of Israelis want the job
done. The PLO now suspects that Obama is about to back a Hamas coup
against it. And Egypt’s military has gotten a lot of recent experience
watching Obama’s botched diplomatic strategies blow up in his face.
real objective of this war was to undermine Egypt. Egypt was supposed
to scramble into the new alignment by developing closer ties with Hamas
and cutting a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood.
And if Egypt’s
government wouldn’t cooperate, the Muslim Brotherhood might be able to
tap into enough of the anti-Israel and pro-Hamas sentiment to topple the
government a second time. But if Egypt remains opposed to Hamas and
Israel pushes forward with a plan to demilitarize Gaza, then the goals
of those in the great halls of diplomacy who are behind this war will
Post a Comment