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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tensions are rising between Israel and Egypt.. again..
The unrest began after Friday prayers, when thousands converged on Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand faster political reforms following the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in February..
From there, hundreds marched on the Israeli embassy.. They smashed through a security wall around the building before a group of about 30 broke in and threw documents out of windows..
Now..Egypt has declared a state of alert.. and Israel has withdrawn all of it's Embassy staff..
One protester is quoted as saying "We've been brought up to hate Israel but now we can express this openly. Since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, no Egyptian blood will go unavenged."..
A brief history is perhaps called for..
Israeli War of Independence.. "al-Nakba".. or 'The Disaster'.. came days after Israel became a sovereign State back in 1948-1949..Upon independence, Israel was invaded by the armies of six Arab nations.. Egypt, Syria, Transjordan (later Jordan), Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In addition, local Arab Palestinian forces also fought the Israelis..
Following the short Suez War of 1956 between Israel and Egypt which resolved nothing.. only setting the stage for a future war between the Jewish nation and its Arab neighbors.. In the 1956 war, Israeli forces fairly easily defeated the Egypian military and occupied the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip, only to give it back to Egyptian control in the cease-fire agreement.. In the years after 1956, Egypt and the other Arab powers, Syria and Iraq, more closely became aligned with the Soviet Union, which supplied them with large amounts of modern military weaponry and Soviet advisers and trainers..
Likewise, Israel moved closer to the United States in those years, to the point where the Arab- Israeli Conflict became a part of the larger and very dangerous Cold War between the U.S. and its allies on one side, and the Soviets and their allies and satellites on the other..
The introduction of the American-Soviet competition and arms sales in the region only accelerated the likelihood of a Middle Eastern war evolving into a Cold War confrontation..
The immediate cause of war in 1967 came out of Egypt's decision to expel United Nations troops from the Sinai peninsula and blockade Israel's port of Eilat.. The UN forces were intended to form a buffer between the border separating Israel and Egypt, and their expulsion led the Israeli government to fear an imminent attack by Egypt..
It should be pointed out that ever since the start of the first war in 1948, Israel had existed in a continued legal state of war with all of its Arab neighbors, including Iraq and Saudi Arabia.. The first two wars were ended with cease-fires, but with no lasting peace.. not unlike the conclusion of the 1950-1953 Korean War, in which an armistice ended the fighting, but did not bring a legal end to war.. Thus, when the military forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, as well as Iraq, began to mobilize and make obvious preparations for war, Israel felt forced to act in self-defence.. On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive ground attack on Egypt, along with coordinated air strikes that effectively destroyed the air forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq on the ground..
The 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on the 26th of March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords, which were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and were witnessed by US President Jimmy Carter..
This Accord has lasted.. until now..
There have been protests outside the embassy since the deaths on 18 August of five Egyptian policemen on the border with Israel.. the incident marked a sharp escalation in tensions between Israel and Egypt.. Their 30-year-old peace treaty was already being tested after Egyptian leader Mubarak was forced from office..
Herein the basic problem with this 'Arab Spring'.. With long-time leaders the like of Assad and Mubarak now absent.. It is anyone's guess what faction will replace them..
And as we stated some time ago.. the last country the West wants to see involved in any more Middle Eastern conflicts, is Israel.. There are problems enough with Gaza and the West Bank.. To add other Arab States into the equation, could open yet another front for Western involvement, and frankly, we can neither afford it monetary.. nor can it be ignored and left to Israel to once again take on the combined weight of the Arab League..
Troubling times..

Just as brief note on Barack's 'jobs' address to the nation.. 17 times he told Congress to "Pass this Legislation now.." But it was, as many had feared, a cream-puff speech.. recommending nothing we hadn't been expecting.. and putting the onus on his 'Super Budget Committee' to pare yet more from their cost-cutting plans, to pay for his programs..
Yet the truth of the matter is, that indeed, while doing nothing for the next 14 months or so will not help the American man on the street.. Republicans gain notning by adding their stamp of approval to Barack's plans.. And it's exceedingly doubtfull partisan politics would be discarded, to help the Democrats..
While the options were few for Barack, we had hoped he would have had something more robust to say.. Something to swing that man on the street towards the belief his government is doing all it can to help both the country, but it's individuals..
Underwhelming, to say the least..

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