A warning from someone who called Morsy right from day one
12 August '12..
No. I am not writing this to brag.
Today, as Egyptian President Morsy got rid of the entire leadership of the Egyptian military I could most certainly be proud to note that I am one of the very few who consistently warned from day one that Morsy the chess player would move faster than all the predictions. And one of the few that didn’t embrace the narrative that Morsy was stuck honoring for the foreseeable future a delicate balance with the leaders of the Egyptian military.
But I am not writing this note to brag.
I am writing it to warn.
For years the Egyptians have been trying to erode the Sinai force restrictions set in the peace treaty they signed with Israel. Force restrictions that were a necessary condition for Israel agreeing to restore the Sinai to Egyptian control.
The Egyptians see the force restrictions as impinging on their sovereignty.
We always considered the force restrictions as critical for the Jewish State’s national security and, frankly speaking, with the Moslem Brotherhood leading Egypt, we need the force restrictions more than ever.
This evening we find ourselves with massive Egyptian forces deployed literally on our border.
And as Arab affairs expert Ehud Yaari just noted on the Channel Two Television Evening News broadcast, we now have no idea if those tanks, attack helicopters, mobile artillery pieces, etc. are going to actually be moved back in a few days.
These next days – possibly hours – may be critical.
This is the time for the establishment of a very clear timetable for when this equipment is going to be removed from the area. One that leaves nothing open to interpretation. One that provides for this equipment to be removed from the area regardless of the outcome of the current operation.
I want to repeat now something that to my utter shock I have found that otherwise ostensibly knowledgeable Israelis are not aware of: under the treaty, the Egyptians can put as many cops as it wants near the border.
This isn’t my interpretation. The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed this. Even Mohamed Bassiouny, Egypt's former ambassador to Israel from 1986 to 2000 told Al-Masry Al-Youm almost a year ago (25/08/2011) “the treaty allows Egypt to put any number of police personnel in this section.”
And the quality and training of those cops is at the discretion of Egypt.
To repeat: Egypt can have tanks, attack helicopters, etc. in the area for a few days, but beyond that they are going to have to make do with forces in police uniforms carrying the kinds of weapons that police can bear. And given that Egypt can take its most elite commando units and do the paperwork to make them police and deploy them in the border area they can most definitely get the job done – if they want – and still honor the treaty.
This is not the time for wishful thinking.
This is not the time to wait and see how things progress.
The United States witnessed the signing of the treaty.
They most certainly should be brought up to speed regarding our concerns as we also communicate them directly with Egypt.
President Putin should also be aware.
Countries with a vested interest in the stability of the neighborhood such as our Saudi neighbors and the Gulf states who are now providing critical financial support for Egypt should also know of our concerns.
Better to douse the fire when it is still small than wait for the conflagration.
We simply can’t afford to play tic-tac-toe with this Egyptian chess player.
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