America’s handling of the Egyptian crisis has severe repercussions for U.S. foreign policy around the Middle East and may convince some western-friendly Arab regimes that President Obama is a fair weather friend, according to Israel’s former national security adviser.“When they (other Arab states) estimate the situation and ask themselves should we continue to rely on America assistance, even during bad times, or maybe we should choose Iran because Iran might be more reliable then certain shifts might occur. I think this is a very dangerous process,” said retired Major General Giora Eiland.
Eiland advised Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during the Gaza disengagement and was responsible for much of the Israeli military operations during the second intifada. He spoke loudly about the fears, that Israeli leaders seem to be whispering lately, that the Obama administration’s bungling of the Iranian protests last year, the peace process, and the current situation inEgypt changes the ball game in the Middle East and has cost the United State precious political capital while leaving open the door for the Muslim Brotherhood to take over in Israel’s only two Arab allies. “If, in the end of the day, this is going to be the result in Jordan, Israel actually returns to the 60s, a time or situation when Israel was surrounded by enemies. This is, of course, very severe consequences.”
Israel has remained almost silent in recent days about the clashes in Egypt, while hoping that President Hosni Mubarak would hold on to power. Israeli President Simon Peres reminded the press during a meeting that democracy in Muslim countries isn’t always a good thing for Israel. With western encouragement, Gaza held free elections only to have Hamas win an overwhelming majority. The militant group, which is closely related to the Muslim Brotherhood, lists a key organizational goal as the destruction of Israel.Egypt was the first country to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state and for 30-plus years much of Israel’s current defense and intelligence strategy has been built on the assumption that its southern neighbor will at the very least remain neutral in any crisis. Israel could take for granted the Egyptians would not interfere with security operations in Gaza or during a possible conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon. That may not remain the case, Eiland said.