The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Egypt: "A grave and gathering threat" says JPost

This comment piece by Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post is telling of an evolving concern in the Israeli right about Egypt, and especially Egypt after Mubarak.

One of the worst-kept secrets in our region is that aside from Iran's nuclear weapons program, Egypt is the greatest looming threat to Israel's national security. As our governing officials pander to Mubarak and his top brass, these men oversee diplomatic and military policies that endanger the very existence of the Jewish state.

But I wouldn't give too much credence to Glick's claim that Egypt has achieved military parity with Israel. More interesting is what seems to be Israeli worries about Egypt after Mubarak:

A former senior IDF intelligence officer allows that "Egypt's military buildup is beyond any proportion to conceivable external threats to Egypt and is a cause for alarm." Yet, at the same time, he argues that under Mubarak's dictatorship, Egypt has no interest in moving towards open warfare with Israel. "The problem will arise if a succession crisis ensues after Mubarak's death."

This argument, that 75-year-old Mubarak's despotic rule of Egypt acts as a barrier to protect Israel from his own massive buildup of Egypt's military forces, is the conventional wisdom on Egypt. It is voiced by officials throughout the political spectrum in Israel and accepted unquestioningly in Washington. The problem is that Egypt's military is explicit in naming Israel as the intended recipient of the full brunt of its massive might.