Egyptian: Anti …

Standard of the President of Egypt

Standard of the President of Egypt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Panetta August 2012_No.238

Panetta August 2012_No.238 (Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

Egyptian: Anti Aircraft Missiles? Against Whom?

Intelligence Report

Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi has seized the opportunity presented to him by American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, to move massive military power back into the Sinai Penninsula on Israel’s southern border. The Sinai has been demilitarized for over 30 years, since the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Accord in 1979, known S THE Camp David Accords. According to the agreement, both sides must agree before allowing additional troops on either side of the borders. Last week, Israel agreed to allow Egypt to move several hundred troops into Sinai for the second time since the January 2011 revolution that unseated former President Hosni Mubarak. And they show no signs of leaving.

Egypt originally received agreement from Israel to move some military equipment and personnel last week, in response to a “terrorist” attack against one of its Sinai outposts, in which 16 Egyptian security forces were killed. Egypt has now beefed up its deployment far beyond what Israel agreed to, and includes anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. It did so without notifying Israel, which abrogates the Peace Treaty that has kept the region stable for over three decades.

The question is, for whom are the missiles intended? The ‘terrorists’ in Sinai have neither tanks nor fighter planes. The only other country in the region with such resources is Israel! And why would Egypt be redeploying such a massive military presence so close to Israel’s border if not in anticipation of a new war with Israel?

After visiting Morsi in Cairo in late July, Panetta told Reuters, “I was convinced that President Morsi is his own man and … that he is truly committed to implementing democratic reforms here in Egypt.” Morsi is most certainly his own many, but Panetta has fallen, it seems, for the Egyptian leader’s rhetoric without looking at the evidence.

Morsi has been ambivalent at best about his intentions regarding the Peace Treaty with Israel. But even as he continues to promise ‘democracy’ for Egypt when speaking to the West, his creeping consolidation of personal power continues in the direction of forming an Islamic state. He has replaced the two top military leaders with men of his own choosing, and his own leadership role in the Muslim Brotherhood, which has a long history of hostility towards Israel, does not bode well for the future of the treaty. Morsi himself has been associated with strong rhetoric against Israel and the Peace Treaty, and his calming message for the gullible Panetta is no reflection of what he has said in the past in Arabic to his own people.

Israel, on the other hand, has taken the situation so seriously that they have now deployed their Iron Dome Anti-Missile System to Eilat, Israel’s southern-most city, which sits on the Sinai border. Whatever rationale Panetta may have used to justify Egypt’s return to the Sinai with a massive military presence (perhaps the threat of war with Iran?), he has taken American foreign policy a huge step backwards. Both he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have promised continued US foreign aid to tune of $1.5 billion, $1.3 billion of which is military.


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