Israel: Palestinian Pipe Bomb Offensive Stalled


May 7, 2012:  Egypt is becoming more of a threat as politics there becomes more radical and under the control of Islamic conservatives. The Egyptian military, one of the more corrupt institutions in the country, became heroes of the revolution by not using force to keep the Mubarak family in power. The disorganized revolutionaries agreed to let the army run the government until elections could be held. This included deciding who was eligible to run for office. The military disqualified many prominent Islamic conservatives from running. This resulted in a growing number of anti-military demonstrations in the last month. Over a dozen people have died and many more were wounded. The military imposed a curfew in the capital and assured the nation that they would turn over power to newly elected officials by the end of June. Parliamentary elections have already been held, with Islamic conservatives grabbing over 60 percent of the seats. Presidential elections take place on May 23-24 (with runoffs, if needed, three weeks later) and a growing number of Egyptians fear the army will try and delay this. The military faces great danger after they surrender control of the country later this year because many newly elected members of parliament want to go after the numerous corrupt officers and replace them with more politically correct men. This could create military leadership that was less capable and more inclined to go along with threatening Israel. Even if a new government is determined, reforming the corrupt military leadership won't be easy. The many wealthy, and corrupt, families in Egypt back the military (and supply many of the officers). While reducing the corruption would be a good thing, it could be expensive if it resulted in civil war and war (even a short one) with Israel. The corrupt families know how to buy support and muscle. Already newly elected members of parliament are finding that they can sell their loyalty for a lot of money and some can't resist the temptation.

Israel faces an Egypt that is losing control of its security forces and sliding into a period of civil disorder. Smugglers and Islamic terrorists will take advantage of this and Israel is already moving more troops and police to its Egyptian border. When things settle down in Egypt Israel can only hope that the new government is inclined to make peace with Israel and not an extended period of supporting terrorism against Israel.  Meanwhile Egypt appears to have lost control over criminal and terrorist groups in the Sinai. Calls from Israel to crack down on the chaos there are ignored by the military government in Egypt.

Syria is in a similar situation, except that Israel fears Hezbollah will grab a lot of Syrian weapons if the current Assad dictatorship does fall. A new government, if it didn't quickly degenerate into another civil war, would be dominated by Islamic conservatives who would be hostile to Hezbollah (which has long aided the Assads and controls southern Lebanon) and Israel (because that's what Islamic conservatives do). The biggest problem for Israel is the uncertainty about all this. To be on the safe side Israel is sending more troops to the Syrian and Lebanese borders. Israeli leaders are now openly calling for Assad to step down, concluding that it's a matter of when, not if, the Assad government will be overthrown.

May 6, 2012: For the third time in three days Israeli border police caught a Palestinian trying to sneak pipe bombs into Israel. This time it was three bombs. In the last month there have been four separate attempts by Palestinians to get bombs into Israel.

May 4, 2012: In Egypt Islamic conservatives demonstrated against the military, which responded by attacking the protestors and arresting over 300 of them. This has happened more frequently in the last month.

May 3, 2012: Israeli police arrested two Palestinians trying to enter Israel with backpacks full of pipe bombs and knives.

May 2, 2012: Israel has organized a force of 22 infantry and tank battalions to move to the Egyptian and Syrian borders should the unrest in those nations spill over into Israel. The reserve troops are practicing deployment and what they will do when they arrive at the border. In the event of a war an even larger force would be mobilized, but this would cause major disruptions to the economy.

May 1, 2012: Israeli troops held drills along the Lebanese border practicing what they would have to do it Hezbollah triggered another war. Israel has already begun building a six meter (18.5 foot) high wall along portions of the border.

April 30, 2012: For the first time the new security fence on the Sinai border was preached. Bedouin smugglers used special tools to get through, but this triggered the sensors and the smugglers were caught before they got far. In the last few weeks there had been at least five attempts to blast through the fence but the smugglers (it is assumed, as they are better equipped and organized than terrorists) set off alarms and Israeli police arrived before the fence was breached.

April 28, 2012: Israeli police arrested a Palestinian man trying to enter Israel carrying two bombs.  





Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close