News that rockets were fired at southern Israel from the Sinai — from Egypt in other words — raised the possibility that an IDF operation directed against Gaza might lead to further incidents with Cairo.
Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk reported Friday that an Egyptian militant group in Sinai Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the launching of the rockets.
“The rockets were launched from the northern part of Sinai,” the newspaper said.
It added that the group also released a video clip showing “that the rockets were fired from 107-millimeter rocket launchers.”
Although the attacks will be attributed to rebel elements acting independently of Cairo, the unanswered question posed by simultaneous attacks on American diplomatic missions in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt on September 11, 2012, is to what extent jihadi groups are intermingled with “government” agencies in those countries.
President Obama has successfully papered over one crisis after another in the past by choosing in secret, so that he might assign blame to his underlings to protect himself; or by buying off hostile elements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, with taxpayer money. It’s a trick he hopes to repeat with Iran.
But his present concern is Egypt.
The potential collision between Egypt and Israel over Gaza now threatens to catch him between two fires. A collision between the two American “allies” will force him to reap the bitter fruit of trying to be all things to all men; of trying to support the Brotherhood, with its hostility to Israel — and Israel. He will have to square the circle or openly choose sides in a way that not even the New York Times can conceal.
In order to avoid infuriating Egypt, there will now be enormous pressure for Washington to ask Israel to limit the scale and scope of the impending ground operation into Gaza. A sufficiently vigorous Israeli campaign there will inflame MB opinion in Egypt. More missiles — whether authorized or unauthorized by Cairo — are likely to land on Israel.
But can Jerusalem do nothing? Israel’s economic life will be paralyzed unless it stops the rain of missiles. It cannot stop them without going into Gaza, or striking it heavily with fire. Nor can it delay. A country with so little manpower cannot keep its reserves mobilized indefinitely, so it must act decisively and soon.
For once a crisis is brewing which no amount of bribery — offers of arms to Israel or food and money to Egypt — can long forestall. The true bill for the lies at Benghazi and the entire “Arab Spring” enterprise may no longer be avoided. At long last some answers must be provided. How deep is the administration’s partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood? Just what did the assault on U.S. consulates throughout the region truly portend? Is there substantial opposition to the policy of dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood from within American intelligence agencies or the military?
And if so, why has it not been discussed till now? Why are the papers bannering Paula Broadwell or any number of the tabloid talking points the media trots out to protect Obama? Those tactics have allowed the administration to avoid building a broad, bipartisan, and national consensus for whatever it is doing in the Middle East by laying down a wall of smoke. Operating behind a compliant screen of media apologists and vilifying any critics in its path, the administration has pursued an unaccountable course in the region, saying one thing to the public and doing God knows what in private.
But the time is drawing near when all the skeins must come into the open. A collision between Israel and Egypt would be a clarifying event. It would also be a tragic one.