The Blog

Egypt in the Crosshairs

5:04 PM, Jan 25, 2008 • By BILL ROGGIO
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The Hamas regime in Gaza scored a political coup when it destroyed the hated border wall that separated the Palestinian territory from Egypt. Established by the Israelis to halt the flow of weapons into Gaza, the wall stood as a symbol of Israeli occupation. Hamas did what Yasser Arafat, the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority never could, and even Fatah members were quoted praising Hamas for the achievement.

But the destruction of the southern border wall between Egypt and Gaza threatens more than just the security of Israel, says Aaron Mannes at his blog Terror Wonk. While the Israelis have expressed some concern that the opening of the border will open the flow of weapons used against the Israeli state (this concern is tempered by the relative ease with which munitions had already flowed into the strip), the state of Egypt is now open to multiple terror threats:

Now, in Gaza, the enemies of the Egyptian regime finally have the secure base they have long sought. There are reports of Palestinian terror cells affiliating with al-Qaeda as well as international "volunteers" filtering in. However, al-Qaeda is not the gravest Gaza-based threat to Egypt. Hamas itself has proven to be a formidable organization. The destruction of the Gaza barrier was a formidable technical achievement that required months of careful preparation. But the political preparation was also carefully managed. Hamas successfully advanced its story of deprivation at the hands of an Israeli blockade (in fact, Israel consistently allowed necessities through and only cut off fuel in response to a barrage of rocket attacks)...

However, a new base of operations against Egypt could have vast geopolitical implications. Egypt has a fragile economy, frustrated populace with a large Islamist movement, and an aging leadership. There have already been terror attacks in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula with Gaza links. Even if the regime is not overthrown, HISH [the Hezbollah-Iran-Syria-Hamas axis] will acquire substantial leverage over Egypt, and further the penetration of radical Islam into the largest Arab state, while acquiring a staging ground into the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa, and beyond.

Read the entire post at the Terror Wonk for more on the developing threat to Egypt. Egypt appears to be waking up to this reality and has begun to reseal the border. But will the Mubarak regime have the political will to crack down on Hamas and the Palestinians, keep the border closed, and police it as carefully as the Israelis had done?