The rapid fall of Mohamed Morsi from power in Egypt has sparked a continuing reassessment of the situation in the country and its implications across the region. At this moment, many believe the return of military power may actually be positive and could be good for Israel.
The Egyptian military has recognized that the agreements between Israel and Egypt have been valuable for their country and should be kept in place. This conclusion is an important stepping stone for peace throughout the entire region.
The serious setback for the Muslim Brotherhood has also had wide-spread effects in Tunisia, Jordan, and possibly Syria. Their fall may also have a moderating effect on Hamas and that is also significant for Israel.
In these columns, I attempt to express an objective viewpoint regardless of where the chips fall. I am not attempting to side with Israel, but to reflect the view that when the radical jihadists forces loose ground, it is usually an encouragement for peace. In the case of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, this is certainly true. Hopefully, these turn of events with Morsi’s demise from power will prove stabilizing in the long run.
The wild card will be whether the United States views Morsi’s fall as a coup or a popular uprising. If seen as a military takeover, it will be costly for Egypt with $1.5 billion dollars at stake. A strong argument will be made that the military only supported the uprising of the populace.
Egypt has other problems that must now be faced. For one, radical jihadist terrorist are still at work in the Sinai. While this is a concern for Israel, it is also a worry for Egypt. With the downfall of Morsi, the Egyptian radical elements would like to attack the Egyptian military. These Al-Qaida types are hopeful that they can undermine the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty. Made up mostly of local Beduins, they are a wild-card, but have the potential to create considerable unrest. Recently, they launched a double rocket attack on Eilat but missed by a mile. So far, 10 projectiles have been fired on the Red Sea resort community from the Sinai area. Currently, the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) is responding to the beduins and attempting to bring the problem under control.
Meanwhile inside Egypt, the government is moving quickly to reverse a number of Morsi’s policies and in particular how Egypt relates to the war in Syria. Within minutes of his ouster, the military closed a number of Islamist television stations and the local Al Jazeera new channel as well as arresting some journalists. Strong arguments can be made that these actions must be reversed.
While Washington’s influence was greatly compromised under Morsi, the ouster promises a new day. Let’s hope the USA uses this time as a positive opportunity now only for America, but for the entire region.