Monday, February 05, 2018

A Hint of Cooperation to Come?

Whoa, it seems that Israel has been supporting Egypt in the Sinai peninsula by finding and striking jihadis there (quoting the New York Times):

For more than two years, unmarked Israeli drones, helicopters and jets have carried out a covert air campaign, conducting more than 100 airstrikes inside Egypt, frequently more than once a week — and all with the approval of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

It makes sense as an alternative to having Egypt send more troops into Sinai to fight jihadis above thetroop limits that the Camp David accords impose to deny Egypt the ability to strike Israel, which is why Israel once needed Sinai in the face of a hostile Egypt.

Egypt is friendly now, but you never know whether a revolt by an Islamist faction could exploit widespread anti-Israeli opinion to restore that hostility.

Egypt is aligned with Saudi Arabia these days, which is working with Israel to counter Iran. So this cooperation in Sinai might telegraph an Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi triad to take down Iran's Hezbollah proxy in Lebanon in the near future.

Israel would do the heavy lifting in Lebanon by smashing up Hezbollah.

Egypt and Israel would contain Hamas and other jihadis in Gaza while the Hezbollah operation goes on.

And Saudi Arabia would make sure that the Arab world mutes its reaction to Israel's campaign long enough to inflict a real defeat on Iran in Lebanon.

America would help complicate Iran's overland supply line through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. And this would help, too:

From selling drugs to profiting from a pig farm, Lebanese Hezbollah’s hypocrisy knows no bounds – a political party with a military army that does the bidding of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

That was the description of the group by Trump administration officials who announced new sanctions Friday – little noticed during the brouhaha over the Nunes memo. The sanctions are meant to delay the flow of illicit cash to Hezbollah’s coffers, and frustrate its support of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, as the group fights alongside Iranian volunteers at the behest of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Ideally, if Israel leaves Lebanon itself alone, the rearmed Lebanese army can fill the vacuum in southern Lebanon as Israel pulls out following the perhaps months-long raid.

America would also run diplomatic interference for the air-ground raid while bolstering Lebanon's government to stay out of the way and support a post-raid move into southern Lebanon.

The ability of Egypt and Israel to wage a common battle against a common enemy indicates this is possible.

Mind you, I'm speculating wildly and connecting dots that may have nothing to do with each other.

But as I've long thought, Israel has a great interest in taking down Hezbollah to protect their northern border from rocket barrages and to harm their enemy Iran.

And doing so before Hezbollah can withdraw from their Syria expedition and recover from the bleeding in that multi-war (and while Syria is weak and before Iran can build up in Syria) is an opportunity that might not come again.


Gaza is just days or even hours away from war, Palestinian factions have warned, as tensions build between the militant group Hamas and Israel.

While this could be a reflection of Egyptian-Israeli cooperation regarding jihadis coming out of Gaza, is it?

I'm just saying that it is tough to hide preparations for a major campaign and if Hezbollah is the real target it helps to have everyone think Hamas is the target of the military preparations in Israel.

Or, of course, Gaza could be the target.

Or it might be nothing and Israel isn't even doing anything.