January 27, 2012: Egypt is preparing for an Israeli pre-emptive strike by conducting its largest military exercise before the Arab Spring. The exercise, known as Nasser-6, consists of various units from Egypt’s air force, air defense, and army. The exercise focuses on coordinating ground and air units and defending the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt’s military exercise comes during a time of rising tensions between Israel and Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood’s recent electoral success. The Egyptian military has long used announcements of imaginary Israeli attack plans to deflect attention from the corruption and misbehavior of the Egyptian military.
With Iran refusing to halt its nuclear program in spite of the recent assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist and oil embargo by the EU, Israel has not taken the pre-emptive strike option, to counter Iran’s nuclear program, off the table. Israel could attack Iranian nuclear facilities, like it did to Iraq’s nuclear facility in 1981. Egypt’s nuclear program is also ramping up with four announced nuclear power plants. Being the home of the largest Arab military, an unstable political environment, rising Islamist influence, and calls from the Muslim Brotherhood to acquire a nuclear weapon and dissolve the 1978 Camp David Accord, the Egyptian generals insist that this makes Egypt a prime target for an Israeli pre-emptive strike. Egypt appears to believe it will be next on Israel’s list and is sending a message to Israel, saying that it is ready to defend itself and its nuclear facilities. Inside Israel there has been little discussion of any Egyptian nuclear threat. --Stephen Davis