Coffee House

The Gazan conflict poses a dilemma for Mohammed Morsi

19 November 2012

As tensions between Israel and Gaza continue to flare, the real story is what’s happening in Cairo. The conflict represents an acute crisis for the Muslim Brotherhood, which knows the West has long been apprehensive about how it would conduct itself with regards to Israel. So far, the Brotherhood has been in no rush to give a definitive answer, offering instead a mix of sabre-rattling and olive branches. Its hand is now being forced.

Internally, the Brotherhood is divided over the Gaza conflict. Hard liners see this as an excuse to tear up the peace treaty, reassert Egyptian pride, and impose themselves on the conflict. Even before Israel launched military action against Hamas one of the Brotherhood’s most senior members in Alexandria, Ahmad Hamrawi, resigned his membership in disgust at Mohammed Morsi’s unwillingness to bin the Camp David Accords. Hamrawi accused Morsi of ‘treason’ for sending Shimon Peres a cordial letter and demanded he step down.


Proponents of such reactionary views, though headline grabbing, are disempowered within the Islamist government. Morsi has been keen to show Egypt can maintain security and has responded swiftly to militant activity in Sinai. At a meeting of Brotherhood leaders over the weekend the Deputy Supreme Guide, Khairat el-Shater, again stressed that Egypt shouldn’t allow weapons to be smuggled into Gaza. This isn’t to suggest that the Brotherhood will abandon Hamas. It won’t. Such a policy would see much of the Brotherhood’s support evaporate overnight while jihadists would exploit the opportunity to portray Morsi as a reincarnation of Mubarak, albeit in more conservative pinstripes.

Having finally realised their ambitions after more than a century of political struggle, the Brotherhood is simply unwilling now to sacrifice itself for Hamas. Herein lies the dilemma for Morsi. He needs to find a way of carrying public opinion, controlling Hamas, and also addressing Israel’s concerns. These are the lessons of leadership the Brotherhood must now learn. The onus is on Morsi to prove he can manage the burdens of statesmanship over the bargain-bin appeal of reactionary politics.

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  • AY

    i propose all pro-civilzation bloggers to boycott writings of shiraz maher who tries smuggling islamic and arabic issues, with whatever dressing, into public discourse.
    westerners don’t need discussions about properties of islamic mordors.
    West needs clear mind, technology and resolve, to continue resistance.
    see above, Israel.

  • Madame Merle

    Exactly, Hamas stepped up the perpetual assault on Israel just to see what the reaction would be from the springy, new democratic brotherhood.

    If they were expecting the sort of mayhem that follows each time the infidel insults big Mo, Hamas may be feeling slightly underwhelmed.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘the real story is what’s happening in Cairo’

    That would look out of place in a student rag.

    • FF42

      Maybe. But there’s truth in it. Obama has delegated the sorting out of the mess to Morsi. What the Egyptian president does is more important to the US currently than what the Israeli Prime Minister gets up to. Times certainly have changed..

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Am I mistaken, or is that balding Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian thug sporting a combover? And from the looks of things, he may have had some hair plugs installed, and is perhaps dousing with Rogaine. Isn’t there some koranic proscriptions against this, inshallah? And he’s wearing a Rolex. Blasphemer.

    • anyfool

      He will look great to them birds squinting through a veil. give him a string vest and he would give Rab C a run for his money.

  • Augustus

    By launching an unguided missile toward Jerusalem, Hamas showed that it was
    willing to hit Al-Aqsa mosque, as well as Christian and Jewish holy sites, to
    gain a bit of dubious fame from killing civilians in Jerusalem (including
    Arabs).The willingness of Hamas to bomb Jerusalem should not be
    surprising. Its friends in the Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddha statues in
    Afghanistan and the Salafis in Egypt are threatening to destroy the pyramids.
    Luckily, some of the temples of Abu Simbel are located underneath Lake Nasser;
    otherwise, they would certainly be targeted for destruction as well. One should,
    therefore, thank Israel for not bombing the Aswan dam, which not only would have
    drowned millions of Egyptians but also would have exposed those submerged
    temples, subjecting them to destruction. And now a whole host of Arab League foreign ministers are crowding into Gaza, even as the brutal
    massacre continues in Syria. Since Israel seeks to minimize Palestinian civilian
    casualties in Gaza, it is certainly safer to be in Gaza than in Syria. In the
    meantime, the killings in Syria go on and Iran is getting closer to completing a
    nuclear weapon.

  • Cassandra1963

    If you look closely at the measured response of Israel you will find that the IDF is building up a potent military force near the Egyptian border and the demilitarised zone while giving the impression to the greater world of an imminent Gaza ground operation. In fact hamas can be easily destroyed from the air and sea, the hamas are playing their usual game of finding a quick route to martyrdom for those stupid enough to fall for the lies of their leaders safe in their hideouts. A ground offensive into gaza is simply not on the cards but a move towards the Sinai DMZ by the IDF not covered by the Gaza charade would force Egypt to contend this build up with a build up of its own.

    Read between the lines folks, Israel is stating in no uncertain terms that any attempt to retake the demilitarized zone in the Sinai will get an immediate and overwhelming response. The hamas sideshow is convenient for the new islamofascist Cairo regime in that it can claim unrest at the border requires Egyptian troops to move up to the Israeli border. To the leaders of of the MB Israel is stating that they cannot tolerate a newly installed islamofascist regime with a powerful US supplied military on its Southern border, that is the real game in town and one missed by the MSM. The new islamofascist regime has no interest in working to improve the lives of Egyptians, they are so blinded by their pathological blind hatred they can think of nothing else other than a war with Israel.

  • Curnonsky

    Of course it’s just possible he will say one thing in public and do something else in private.

    • Daniel Maris

      Surely not!

      Incidentally who was it said “War is deception” ? I keep forgetting.

      • EndOfTrolls

        Sun Tzu but he was an amateur in deception when it comes to the Arab and Hamas liars and terrorists. They subjugate their own people, plant rocket emplacements in civilian areas and nurture suicide bombers and blame all on the Israelis. Only a fool would believe a single word from Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • Daniel Maris

    Let’s start at the beginning – for Morsi, as a serious Muslim, there is no such community as “Egypt”, there is only the Umma. The same goes for Hamas.

    As long as the Muslim Brotherhood remain secure in Egypt and Gaza, there is really no problem with Israel attracting international opprobium as far as they are concerned.

    • telemachus

      This is redressing the balance with the ancien Cairo regime who hated the Palestinians as it seems do the Jordanians and Syrians
      What we need to remember is the score
      Palestine 100 dead
      Israel 3 dead

      • Cassandra1963

        Who apart from you hamas supporters in keeping a body count score? As hamas gangsters hide behind women and kids in order to kill women and kids the IDF goes out of its way to avoid killing innocents. See the difference? The hamas are cowards, they use innocents to shield their rockets and their leaders, they are double war criminals. How many of those 100 are hamas gangsters? You leftists are hypocrites of the worst kind, you support the use of human shields.

        You support a regime that murders Gays, you support a regime that absolutely denies any progressive modern values. And at the same time you attack and seek to smear a modern progressive democracy like Israel. The question is why you people support those who hate everything you stand for and attack those who on the whole share your progressive modern values. Go to Gaza and try holding a Gay pride march or a slut walk or nay anti islamofascist/hamas demo and see where it gets you. If there was any justice in the world a regime like hamas would be illegal under international law and its leaders attending the Hague in chains.

        • telemachus

          Am I in a parallel universe?
          Do you not recognise that these are babies schoolchildren and the flower of Palestinian youth that the Israeli’s are slaughtering?
          Why, I ask myself is Netanyahu so bereft of humanity that he cannot see the great crime he commits daily against the innocents?
          How long?
          How Long?

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …until the islamofascists quit firing rockets at them, I’d guess.

          • Cassandra1963

            “Do you not recognise that these are babies schoolchildren and the flower
            of Palestinian youth that the Israeli’s are slaughtering?”

            Huuh? The flower of Arab youth you say? And how many so far, enough to add up to a genocide yet? In fact every child that dies is a victim of hamas and its addiction to killing and hatred. You certainly do live on another planet, daily crimes against innocents? It is hamas that are the criminals guilty of murdering those innocents they hide behind every day. Bereft of humanity? I dont where you people get off talking about humanity I really dont, hamas are inhuman evil gangsters they dont recognize the word let alone the responsibility it entails. Well done comrade hamas will be very grateful, you are one its many Western useful idiots.

            • telemachus

              So who else will stand up for the persecuted Palestinians who have had their homeland snatched?
              You talk about hiding behind innocent civilians as if these are evil military men
              They are not
              They are brave leaders who dare to stand up to the military machine that has one aim
              That aim is to crush them
              I ask how long
              Not long
              The Persian brothers of these downtrodden people historically Arab enemies are today with them in spirit
              Tomorrow they will have effective means to challenge the might of Israel
              If Obama does not betray his ancestral heritage

              • Augustus

                Are you really so gullible? are you really so spellbound by Hamas that you cannot see that Hamas’ reason for existence isn’t for the welfare of its
                people, but the killing of Jews. Read Hamas’ Covenant and understand that the
                only possible discourse with them is the language of fire and pillars of smoke. Would you really have the Jews return to the days of the Diaspora and bow their heads and just live with any amount of missiles thrown at them? Like it, or not, the days of Jews being murdered without a response are over. The Israel Defense Forces have every right to defend their people and their ancient and only homeland.

                • telemachus

                  The Gaza Palestinians were hounded out of their homes and herded into refugee camps by the invaders in1948
                  As with all refugees they were lawless and without hope
                  They now have a semblance of civilised life given and maintained by Hamas
                  Without Hamas they would descend back to chaos

                • Colonel Mustard

                  That is complete rubbish. Hamas murdered political opponents by throwing them out of upstairs windows and then dragged their bodies through the streets. You must be a left wing troll spam machine-bot that churns out these ridiculous comments through some trigger programming. I cannot believe that any sane, sentient human being would utter the garbage that you post here.

                • Augustus

                  It is quite obvious what people like you want to see (and to be fair to you it’s quite prevalent the world over). You want to see the actual elimination of the Jewish State, a ‘one state solution’ as it is euphemistically called, replacing Israel by a state, theoretically comprising the whole of historic Palestine, in which Jews will be reduced to the status of a permanent minority. Only this, it is said, can
                  expunge that original terrible sin of Israel’s founding, an act so terrible it must have been built on the very ruins of Arabian Palestine. Grow up mate! I’ll grant you that the Jews were clever and hard working, but the Zionist movement had always been amenable to the existence in the future Jewish state of a substantial Arab minority that would participate on an equal footing in all sectors of public life. Mainstream Zionism not only took for granted the full equality of the Arab minority in the future Jewish state but went out of its way to foster Arab-Jewish coexistence. I’m afraid that it’s people like you who’ve been had by a constant outpouring of the most outlandish conspiracy theories and blood libels regarding the founding of Israel.

                • telemachus

                  We are where we are
                  We cannot go back
                  But to see the Israelis pounding the life out of the innocents in Gaza breaks my heart

                • Coffeehousewall

                  You don’t have a heart to break. Do you remember when you said it was a joke that people should be concerned about little girls being tortured. Do you remember that you thought it was a joke. You don’t have a heart. You are a repulsive troll and not a man at all. (Indeed the liklihood is that you are a a group of men and women possible paid for by the Spectator)

                • Augustus

                  I understand your natural human concern for innocents. Children especially, is heartbreaking, as well as mothers, shopkeepers, whoever.
                  But I think you will find that the current conflict started when an Israeli
                  Defence Force jeep was attacked by an anti-tank missile, wounding four IDF soldiers. So don’t presume that the IDF are the aggressors. And of course you know that Hamas have hidden rocket launchers in civilian homes. So who’s playing dirty here, the defenders of a legitimate country, or the mad destructive terrorists in Gaza?

                • Julian F

                  Not so. The refugee camps are convenient constructs of aggressor nations in the 1948 war. Israel absorbed its refugees, the Muslim world refused to do so, in order to create an enduring propaganda tool. Also worth remembering two things: one, Israel did not start the 1948 war, nor the 1967 war other than as a necessary preemptive strike, but both were started by hostile Muslim neighbours; and, two, there is not, and never has been, such a country as Palestine.

              • Austin Barry

                Oh, so you anticipate with glee a nuclear armed Iran, do you? You’re beginning to move from the inane to the evil.

                • telemachus

                  Why is it right for Israel to have nuclear weapons and Iran not
                  Israel by dint of their nuclear arsenal have hegemony over a whole region
                  Balance of power is an important concept
                  Klaus Fuchs and others had similar concerns long ago

                • Austin Barry

                  Klaus Fuchs the spy? You really are despicable.

              • Cassandra1963

                Aah now we see a glimpse of the real poster coming out to play, and it aint a pretty sight at all. “brave leaders” who hide behind children eh? Your sort has some warped ideas, you exist in a mental prison of hatred and spite that you cannot escape from, we should pity you and the hell you you people have created for yourselves. Peace, real peace is simply unattainable with your kind, you worship killing and hate.

              • Marian Thomson

                Persecuted my asre……..the only people who persecute the Palestinians are Hamas

          • michael

            12000 rockets… and every single one of them delivered with intent :- To kill as many Israeli babies, children & women, as possible.

          • Austin Barry

            Israel has decided on robust self-defence. Good.

            Your florid and banal emetic sentimentality should be directed at the Hamas cowards.

            How long? As long as it takes, chum.

          • Marian Thomson

            What about the 120 rockets in four days or the 50 further rockets this evening,
            including 17 Grads fired at the city of Beersheva; or that since the beginning
            of 2011, 1,100 rocket have been fired on Israeli targets, 797 since the
            beginning of this year; or that a staggering 5274 rockets have been fired from
            Gaza at southern Israel since 2006 ……………

            • telemachus

              I think vix hit it
              See the comparison with Warsaw on the Gaza thread

      • Augustus

        So let’s pray for Israel’s success in terminating the Hamas cockroaches. And if Morsi follows through on attacking from Egypt, let’s hope Israel shows the spine to shove their Arab Spring right up their arrogant asses.

      • anyfool

        100 to 3, looks like the Israelis are losing their touch.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Only somebody as irredeemably repulsive as you could refer to that as a “score”.

        What we need is you to be more self-aware and less thick than two short planks. God, I roll my eyes at the injustice that let you stumble on this website and set up camp.

      • BlitheSpirit

        While your counting bodies, how about the 37,000+ dead in Syria? Why is there so much Israel bashing when the Arabs can’t kill each other fast enough?

      • swatantra

        The ratio is about right and par for the course as far as both the Israelis and Paalestinians are concerned. Just over a year ago one Israeli soldier was exchanged for a 1000 Palestinian prisonners. It seems that Palestinians have no pride. ‘one for one’ would have been a more honourable deal.

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