The announcement that four American soldiers were wounded on the Egyptian-Gaza border, and although not life threatening, have been evacuated is another sign of how far out of step U.S. policies and strategies are in the region.
The four Americans are part of a small, ill-equipped, and superannuated UN “peace keeping” force placed in the Sinai when Egypt’s courageous leader, later martyred, Anwar el-Sadat, made peace with Israel in 1979. The Israelis withdrew their 10-year-occupation returning the desert peninsular to Cairo and the UN force to police the withdrawal.
Today the Egyptian government of Pres. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is facing a growing Sinai insurgency, aided and abetted by Gaza’s Hamas terrorists and their Tehran supporters. The attack sounds too much like the IED devices originating in Iran used against Americans in Iraq. Those Iranian IUDs cost hundreds if not thousands of lives including dozens of Americans during the Iraq wars, another one of the issues glossed over in Obama’s current courtship of the mullahs.
Through the cat’s cradle of Islamic terrorist factions and constantly fluctuating alliances, it is of course difficult to formulate an American strategy that contributes to peace and stability and does not involve the U.S. in another unresolved war. But the combination of Obama Administration’s precipitous Iraq withdrawal and his attempt to get a modus operandi with the Tehran mullahs is contributing to the chaos.
Without more effective American leadership, there will be growing disasters
Unfortunately, the inclinations of the Obama team are all wrong. They still curry favor with the Muslim Brotherhood, whom el-Sisi threw out of power in Egypt with considerable popular support, and is now pursuing. Obama’s former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has her Brotherhood ties, too, through her principal assistant, Huma Abedin, with her family ties to the Brotherhood.
In reality, the Brotherhood personifies the belief, held in radical Muslim circles that Islam permits lying to non-believers in pursuit or Islamic goals [taqiyya]. It may be true as Obama’s confidantes seem to believe, that most members of the Brotherhood, are a kind of Islamic Christian Democrat. But it is also true that the Brotherhood has been the source of current Islamic worldwide terrorism.
Obama’s reliance on what he called his friendship with Turkey’s Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a major player in the area has soured. Erdogan has moved steadily toward Islamicism against Turkey’s half century of secular rule with a foreign policy that includes aid for the Hamas terrorists. This week’s charge by Erdogan that the tragic spectacle of a small dead child on a Turkish beach was the West’s responsibility ignores the whole network of human trafficking operating among the more than a million Syrian refugees in Turkey and producing an unprecedented flow of migrants to Europe.
In Egypt, the Obama Administration opposed el-Sisi’s military takeover, and warmed only slowly to his election to a civilian presidency. Washington’s refusal to recognize Egyptian realities has not only reduced its ability to influence el-Sisi – despite the continuing massive military assistance program it reinitiated after a temporary cutoff – but it has reduced its ability to help move the el-Sisi regime away from authoritarianism. Furthermore, it has sent el-Sisi looking for support elsewhere, including giving Moscow a new entry into the Mideast arena in addition to Vladimir Putin’s support of the brutal Syrian al-Assad regime.
Dithering now in the face of these new realities – including a tacit alliance of Israel and the Persian Gulf Arab states, former bitter enemies, in opposition to Obama’s Iran strategy – Washington postpones withdrawing the 750 man-force. With the new technical facilities, we doubt its intelligence functions are any longer worth the price. If Obama is not careful, he will find the U.S. – whether by decision or his characteristic indecision – involved in the escalating conflict in the Sinai.
Get these sitting ducks out of there!