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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Egypt doesn't seem to trust Hamas (Via Meadia)

From Walter Russell Mead:
Not even the Muslim Brotherhood trusts Hamas. In a surprise move yesterday, Egyptian forces blocked a network of tunnels that run between Egypt and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by flooding them with water. The tunnels, used to smuggle everything from fuel to cement to weapons, are now inoperative. Imagine the global outcry if Israel did anything like this:
“We are using water to close the tunnels by raising water from one of the wells,” [an Egyptian security official] said, declining to be named. […]
The tunnellers fear the water being pumped underground might collapse the passage ways, with possible disastrous consequences.
“Water can cause cracks in the wall and may cause the collapse of the tunnel. It may kill people,” said Ahmed Al-Shaer, a tunnel worker whose cousin died a year ago when a tunnel caved in on him.
But what this really shows is that not even Egyptian President and Muslim Brother Mohamed Morsi trusts Hamas in Gaza. And yet much of the world continues to think the “blockade” of Gaza is an evil Israeli plot. Israel is no more able to blockade Gaza, which shares a border with Egypt, than Russia is able to blockade China. But none of this stops the myth of a cruel and wicked Israeli blockade of the suffering Gaza Strip from being an article of faith for people all over the world.
Egypt has enough on its plate without having to worry about policing the Sinai for militants from Gaza. This latest action looks to be a way of putting a leash on Hamas.
More evidence that this thesis is correct:
Egyptian security forces rejected a Muslim Brotherhood request to establish a Hamas office in Cairo after it had left its Damascus headquarters, according to Egyptian security sources quoted by Iraqi paper Azzaman on Tuesday.

The security sources were quoted as saying that they put national security considerations first, especially now when Egypt is facing unrest and the new office could lead to further disturbances.

(h/t Silke, Ian)