Israel avoids 'Cuban missile crisis'

Fox News is reporting, based on an interview with Jonathan Schanzer, that Israel avoided its own Cuban missile crisis by destroying Hamas' Fajr-5 rockets in Operation Pillar of Defense (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Rocket attacks from Gaza were commonplace in Israel prior to the campaign, dubbed "Operation Pillar of Defense," with at least 750 projectiles falling on the area close to the border since January. The attacks were ratcheted up in early November, which seemed to prompt Israel's move and the deployment of its vaunted "Iron Dome" defense system. But behind the scenes, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) had a more pressing need to launch their intense bombardment on Hamas’ weapons stores.
Israel's elimination of senior Hamas figure Ahmad Jabari as he drove in broad daylight in Gaza also fits into Schanzer's narrative.
“Ahmad Jabari, along with another major Hamas figure, Mahmoud al Mabhouhk, [who was assassinated in Dubai in 2010], was a key part of the procurement network for the Fajr missiles and there is little doubt that Israel was keen to take out the man responsible,” Schanzer explained.
Schanzer contends that the operation actually began three weeks earlier, when, on Oct. 23, the Iranian-owned Yarmouk armaments factory in Sudan - believed to be the assembly plant for the Fajr5 missiles that have a range of up to 45 miles - was devastated by air strikes for which the Sudanese government holds Israel responsible. Israel, and for that matter the U.S., both deny any knowledge of the attack.
And therein lie some key differences between Operation Pillar of Defense and the Cuban missile crisis. In the Cuban missile crisis, the US was not existentially endangered. Other than Cuba itself, it had to worry about Russia, but it did not have to worry about another, closer party trying to retaliate. The US resolved the Cuban missile crisis diplomatically (albeit with a threat of military action). And most important of all, a recurrence was unlikely.
It is entirely possible that Hamas will try again, with the support of our 'friends' in Egypt, and with the support of Sudan, Iran and other countries in our region. In fact, they are likely trying already. Egypt's behavior regarding the smuggling is an issue that goes back to the Mubarak days and has only gotten worse.
The apparent coordination between Israel and the U.S. raises questions about the role of Egypt, which was credited with helping broker a cease fire between Israel and Hamas. The missiles were almost certainly smuggled into Gaza from Egypt, with the likely knowledge of  President Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of Hamas. 
“There’s little doubt that Iranian-built rockets came from Sudan through Egypt, and that Egypt’s security forces weren’t interested in intercepting the missiles," Eric Trager, of the Washington Institute, an expert on Egyptian affairs, told "Morsi was more interested in furthering his own internal agenda than worrying about foreign policy issues at that time.”
Egypt needs to be forced to choose between its Muslim Brotherhood ties and its massive US foreign assistance. But don't expect it to be presented with that stark choice with this administration in power. They could probably abrogate their treaty with Israel and suffer little or no consequence from Washington. 

And then there's the role of the media.
“I think that Washington and the international media have been so lazy in their coverage of this conflict in terms of identifying what actually happened,” Schanzer said. “Both the Israeli intelligence community and Israeli officials referred to the presence of Fajr5 missiles in the hands of Hamas as 'game changing rockets,' a change that very nearly produced Israel’s own Cuban missile crisis.”
Lazy isn't really the word. After all, they all sent reporters to Gaza to report on the poor, suffering Islamist canon fodder. Mendacious is more like it.

Google+ Badge

Google+ Followers