Middle East

Read It Now: The Possible/Probable Main Crisis for 2012

0 8

By BARRY RUBIN | 16.05.2011



Save this note. Last year I predicted that Egypt’s instability might well be the big story of 2011. Why wait until December?

The central scenario for the Middle East in 2012:

Hamas attacks Israel with mortars, rockets, a few missiles, and a few attempts at cross-border attacks. Israel counterattacks into the Gaza Strip.

What does Egypt do?

A. Egypt with President Amr Mousa and parliament with Islamist (Muslim Brotherhood plus Salafist) majority or at least a radical nationalist-Islamist majority.

B. Egypt with President Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh of the Muslim Brotherhood with Islamist majority in parliament or at least a radical nationalist-Islamist majority.

There will be a great temptation for such a government, in either case, to join the war, setting the entire region ablaze.

Why wouldn’t Egypt do so?

A. The Egyptian army thinks it would lose. Then persuades the government to keep out. Pragmatism over ideology.

B. The Egyptian government doesn’t want to lose U.S. aid money. Pragmatism over ideology.

Problems with these constraints:

A. Radical nationalists and Islamists are not known for putting accurate calculations of military forces or money above ideology. See, for example, Egypt in 1967 starting a war with Israel; Iraq invading Iran and then Kuwait; Iran taking U.S. hostages and thus throwing away U.S. military aid; Afghan Taliban backing September 11 attack, etc.

B. Islamists especially believe in the power of their Allah-allied ideology to overcome any material factors.

C. Even if Egypt lost the war the regime would benefit in terms of popularity.

D. The regime would (wrongly) believe that it would draw in other countries thus changing the balance of forces and beginning a series of wars culminating in Israel’s destruction. It would be encouraged by massive pro-Egypt rallies in Damascus, Amman, and other Arab cities. Slogans include, “With blood and fire we redeem you oh Jerusalem!” “Jews remember Khaibar, the army of Muhammad is coming!” And various anti-American slogans. Possible attacks on U.S. embassies.

E. Radical nationalists and Islamists believe America is already their enemy, so what’s to lose?

How would the U.S. government respond?

A. President Barack Obama warns Egypt that breaking the U.S.-guaranteed Egypt-Israel peace treaty would bring a strong military response from America, an immediate aid cut-off, sanctions on Egypt, full U.S. aid to Israel, and possible U.S. military action against Egypt.

What? Oh, sorry, I was daydreaming for a moment. Let’s start that section over again….

How would the U.S. government respond?

President Obama would make a speech, call for a solution of the Israel-Palestinian issue, express his admiration for Islam, stress the need for further study, and play golf.

Have I left out anything?

I’m not saying this will definitely happen. Hamas might decide to delay seeking a confrontation; Egypt’s government might content itself with letting arms flow to Hamas and Egyptian volunteers flow into Hamas’s ranks.

I’m saying this could happen. It is a good idea to plan on how to handle such a crisis. It is even a better idea to stop such a scenario from happening at all.

And here’s an Egyptian demonstration outside Israel’s embassy. Today. Don’t see any police protecting the embassy, do you?

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.

About the author / 


Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • 25th Issue is Online Now!

    Vol. VI | No. IV – October-November-December 2020 To Download the Magazine Click Here… CONTENTS 05-13….. World News by Ebru Birinci 15-20….. The Jungle Grows Back How can We Redefine the Future World Order in the Tension of Power and Ideas? by Marco Marsili 22-29….. Interview With Professor Katharyne Mitchell by Ozgur Tufekci & Rahman…

  • 24th Issue is Online Now!

    Vol. VI | No. III – July-August-September 2020 To Download the Magazine Click Here… CONTENTS 05-14….. World News by Ebru Birinci 17-24….. Preparedness for an Uncertain Future “The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself” by Professor Mark Meirowitz 25-39….. EU LAW vs UK LAW The Primacy of EU Law over National Law:…

  • IEPAS2020 is Going Virtual!

    Dear Friends and Colleagues, IEPAS2020 is Going Virtual! Due to the COVID19 pandemic, we are holding our entire conference virtually by streaming all of the live sessions. You may participate in all of our virtual networking events. In case of missing a session, you may get full access to the replays of every session since all…

  • The 13th issue of JCTS (Journal of Conflict Transformation & Security) is out now…

    The 13th issue of JCTS (Journal of Conflict Transformation & Security) is out now… Vol. 8 | No. 1 | 2020 Click here to Download the Entire Issue   TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor’s Note By David Curran Introduction By Nergis Canefe Research Articles Statelessness as a Permanent State: Challenges to the Human Security Paradigm By…

  • The 19th Issue of The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development is Out Now!

    The 19th issue of the rest: journal of politics and development is out now. Download the issue here… TABLE OF CONTENTS Research Articles Turkish AK Parti’s Posture towards the 2003 War in Iraq: The Impact of Religion amid Security Concerns By Alberto Gasparetto Nigeria and the Great Powers: The Impacts of the Boko Haram Terrorism on…

  • CESRAN International Named again amongst the Top Think Tanks in the World

    CESRAN International is pleased to announce that it has been named again amongst the world’s best think tanks. The 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index ranked CESRAN International 141st among the World’s “Top Think Tanks in Western Europe” 75th among the World’s “Top Environment Policy Think Tanks” 153rd among the World’s “Top Foreign Policy…