Just one week ago, the GMBDW posted an analysis titled “Gaza Violence, What Does It Mean?” in which we speculated about three possible Egyptian responses to the current Gaza crisis:
- Egypt could act as a neutral mediator and attempt to defuse the situation.
- Egypt could act verbally in concert with the Global Muslim Brotherhood to further aggravate the violence. This seems already to be taking place in a virulent condemnation of Israel issued by the Brotherhood that said “The killing of tens of our innocent Palestinian brothers is part of a link in a chain of oppression and Judaization that seeks to impose itself on the ground, and that will never materialize with God’s will.” Such a statement clearly frames the situation as a religious conflict between Jews and Muslims and can only inflame matters further.
- Most gravely, Egypt could engage in threatening or outright military actions risking a wider war in the region.
As of this writing, a truce has been announced that is being attributed to the personal mediation of Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi who, of course, was elected from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
It would seem clear that acting as a “neutral mediator”, or at least with the appearance of neutrality, was the chosen option and Morsi is already reaping the diplomatic benefits as news outlets and world leaders begin their praise. For example, CNN is reporting that Israeli President Shimon Peres praised Morsy’s mediation efforts Tuesday in an appearance with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling them “constructive” and “a pleasant surprise.” The natural question becomes why Morsi and Egypt chose this approach and the likely answer is that Egypt had nothing to gain and everything to lose from an Israeli ground attack that would have forced Morsi to face the uncomfortable dilemma of how to respond to Palestinians being killed without antagonizing the U.S. from whom he still hopes to receive funding and aid. On the other hand, by acting as a broker, he can now portray himself to the Islamic world as having saved the Palestinians from a ground assault and to the U.S and to the West as having prevented a wider war- win/win to say the least.
While Morsi is acting as “good cop” (or perhaps less bad cop), the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood itself is free to continue its demonization of both Israel and the U.S. Just this morning, the head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party was in the Gaza Strip where he blamed the death of innocent children on the “Zionist US-made war machine.” According to Saad Katatni:
‘We are determined to support our brothers and sisters in Gaza. We saw with our own eyes how houses were bombed at night. We came and we have seen in this hospital how innocent children are killed and wounded by Zionist US-made war machine. We came here to say to our brothers and sisters in Palestine, especially in Gaza: we are fully behind you politically and in all ways of support we can provide; our strength is your strength; our medicine is your medicine; we are with you all the way; we will not abandon you.’
Once again- win/win.
At this juncture, it appears that Mohammad Morsi and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood are big winners although this interpretation is subject to change depending on future events.