Monday, August 13, 2012 | Ryan Jones – http://www.israeltoday.co.il
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday stunned the region and caused grave concern in Israel when he dismissed all of Egypt’s top generals and installed commanders loyal and subservient to his Muslim Brotherhood.
Following the ouster of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces headed by former Defense Minister Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi had held de facto power, and had placed certain limitations on the presidency when it became clear the Muslim Brotherhood would the election.
For instance, the Tantawi-led council had introduced a constitutional amendment that forbade the president from declaring war without the council’s approval.
In addition to firing Tantawi, the Egyptian chief-of-staff, and the heads of the navy and air force, Morsi also rescinded all of the council’s constitutional amendments, effectively granting his office outright control of military matters.
So long as Tantawi and the other older generals were largely in control of military matters, Israeli leaders were more or less certain that Egypt’s revolution would not lead to armed conflict with the Jewish state. But with the Muslim Brotherhood seizing control of the armed forces, previous assessments are now void.
Israeli commentators said they do not expect a sudden “call to arms” in Egypt, but are concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood-appointed generals will not cooperate with Israel like the old generals did. That will ultimately result in a situation similar to Lebanon, where Israel is forced to act on its own in foreign territory to stop terrorist threats.
And the Egyptian Sinai is fast becoming a regional hotspot of terrorist activity, making it all but inevitable that Israel would have to launch military incursions should Morsi’s forces stop preventing attacks on the Jewish state.
On the other hand, only last week, Israel approved a temporary amendment to the Camp David Accords to allow Egypt to deploy more forces to Sinai to root out local terrorist gangs. There is now concern that Morsi will not pull those forces back once their mission is complete.
As a demonstration of why Israel is so concerned by the Muslim Brotherhood’s power-hungry moves, last week Arab television stations around the region broadcast a recent interview with Egyptian-born cleric Salah Sultan, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the interview, Sultan stated that people he has met all over Egypt and the Middle East “thirst for the blood of the Jews.”
Sultan operates an Islamic teaching center in the American state of Ohio.
Speaking of America, the Washington Post reported that the Obama Administration is not at all concerned by Morsi seizing control of the military, and that it has “confidence” in the newly installed generals.