Is it a simple case of one of those strange quirks which history will muse over or is it a divine sign that the man who removed the Muslim Brotherhood horrors from governing Egypt and answered the cries of his people winning him the prized office of Egyptian President has a name which as spelled in English transliteration is the exact reverse of the English initials of the newest and most deadly allies of the Muslim Brotherhood, thus we have Egyptian President Sisi now facing forces from ISIS, Sisi vs. ISIS (and as we have said before, we pronounce ISIS as is, is thus it all depends on what the meaning of Is-is, is.) Now for the existing and coming horrors and the potential coming allies who have worked silently and in only the most untraceable means to support each other’s efforts in the Sinai Peninsula as well as Gaza may become all too public and by doing so be one of the most important ends of the coming series of conflagrations. There may be no choice for the Egyptian forces for success in forcing both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State allied fighters from the Sinai Peninsula as President Sisi knows that he must not commit the entire strength of the Egyptian military into any sweep of the Sinai. Further, there are many within the Egyptian military whose villages and relatives live and are amongst if not having actually joined the Muslim Brotherhood or potentially joined the new Caliphate of ISIS and thus President Sisi and his generals are aware that they can only use troops specially chosen and known for their complete loyalty and discipline. Even those chosen for regular checkpoint or other daily military or security assignments are likely chosen carefully. One can bet that President Sisi probably witnessed, and not just knows of, the historic assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat by disgruntled members of the Egyptian military who were far more loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood.
There are many who will claim that there is nothing which would permit the presumably secular Muslim Brotherhood and the fanatical religious ISIS to form any alliance despite the truth that the Muslim Brotherhood spawned al-Qaeda which established the Iraqi organization for al-Qaeda from which ISIS was spawned. The reality is that the Muslim Brotherhood is a religiously based organization whose credo states that “The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal.” Where the Muslim Brotherhood has somewhat of a secular view is when it comes to governance that they claim to support a socialist governance which holds elections until the Muslim Brotherhood gains control over the national governance and then such inconveniences become less important. What has been overlooked in this false dichotomy is that the Muslim Brotherhood has not made any statement concerning their position on should the Caliphate be reestablished. By their apparent coordination in horrific and deadly assault on the Egyptian checkpoints and other positions throughout the Sinai Peninsula both the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS displayed a level of cooperation that should put to bed any doubts about their levels of agreement.
Further, there was obvious coordination and cooperation given these operations which included arms and other logistics from within Gaza provided by Hamas which should put to bed not only any doubts about Hamas working with their parent group, the Muslim Brotherhood, but also their cooperation and general support for ISIS and the willingness of ISIS to work willingly and knowingly with Hamas. This coordinated and seamless planning and execution of an assault on this level provides all the evidence necessary to prove that there is recognition and compliance with the authority granted to ISIS to lead the efforts of the Islamist groups and puts to lie the claims that ISIS was planning to go to war with Hamas but instead should provide all the evidence that the recent breakup of the Fatah unity government with Hamas was initiated by Hamas as they were already planning coordinated and supportive efforts with ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood against the government of President Sisi in Egypt. The thing which needs to be given the greatest amount of concern should be the replacement of Fatah and the Arab Palestinian Authority by the ISIS led, Muslim Brotherhood supported Hamas takeover of the Arab Palestinian operations in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) presenting Israel with the challenge of operations in Judea and Samaria taking on a whole new level of violence and coordinated threats should Fatah be defeated or simply collapse as any support it once enjoyed changing horses and moving to give their loyalties to the ISIS led Sunni Islamist merging of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood into the ranks of ISIS.
This brings us to the facing off against a mutual foe between Egypt and Israel and the potential for coordination and potentially joint missions within the Sinai Peninsula as well as throughout Gaza between Israel and Egypt. This would mean a deeper level of coordination beyond simply intelligence sharing and the mere coordination of movements to assure that the two sides do not reach a point where they might interfere with each other’s execution of operations to a level where the coordinated and complimentary operations are planned with the aim of mutual strengthening the other’s effectiveness. There would also be situations, especially within Gaza, where operational support for Egyptian operations within Gaza would be granted close in air support and ground use of sorties from artillery fire to compliment one another’s operational effectiveness. Such coordination between Egyptian military operations, especially when such operations would require informing Israel of the size and scope of Egyptian operation in the Northern Sinai and especially such operations that may extend necessarily into Gaza, as all such in-force operations by Egypt are required to be cleared through Israel according to their peace treaty and supportive accords and also to avoid clashes between the two nations which could easily spiral out of control dissolving any gains made between the two nations in building trusts and peace. Such sharing of intelligence and potential coordination of operations even, if simply done to avoid direct confrontations which could arise as a result of a friendly-fire incident where both sides were attempting to establish their control over a particular objective, be that objective a central strongpoint or the eradication of a permanent large rocket and missile launch site in order to silence its use against both sides, as such a dedicated site would pose a definitive set of difficulties to any operations.
Cooperation between Israel and Egypt would not be an entirely new event as the levels of cooperation have been exercised previously as to who would take the lead position in apprehending any vessels attempting to break the blockade of Gaza which has been in effect since the Hamas takeover of the region from Fatah. This has been evidenced when on multiple occasions Egypt, both when under Mubarak and now under Sisi, when ships tried to smuggle by circumventing the Israeli blockade by hugging the Egyptian coast of the north of the Sinai Peninsula the Egyptians had a surprise for them, they guarded against such efforts as President Sisi and his government have had just as much to fear from Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza as has Israel. Egypt has had just as tight a closed border with Gaza as has Israel and in some ways an even tighter closure as no aid reaches Gaza in any manner, let alone comparable to the multiple tonnage crossing daily into Gaza, daily even during the entirety of the Gaza War Operation Protective Edge last summer. Egypt has had better effectiveness in finding and closing tunnels under their border with Gaza which are used to smuggle things in and out of Gaza as has Israel in locating the infiltration tunnels which caused such a stir as the IDF had appeared completely surprised by the extensive tunnel system Hamas had been planning to utilize in a massive operation against the Israelis during the High Holy Days last year. Keeping the borders controlled has been a primary effort of both Egypt and Israel as both have suffered threats from within Gaza with the Egyptian threats having often been estimated and paid in lives for any missed tunnels by the Egyptians often lead to infiltrations into the Sinai Peninsula in the form of manpower and also weaponry and explosives for the design of car and truck bombs, IEDs (improvised explosive device used in place of land mines) and other explosive delivery methods and systems which are as varied in kind as they do in their delivery. The reality has been that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and numerous other terrorist groups have just as much hate for the Sisi government as they do towards Israel.
With ISIS moving into the Sinai Peninsula one has to wonder what there objective may be. Thus far there has been little to no change across the Negev-Sinai border and there have been the usual ramping up of terrorist strikes which accompany summer but surprisingly much of that can be attributed to problems in Judea and Samaria. What has been somewhat disconcerting has been the increase in attacks in Judea and Samaria claimed to have been attributable to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The one item which had been surprising which this assault upon the Egyptian forces and the particulars have put to rest were the dire warnings that there was a definitive expectation for a war in Gaza waged by ISIS against Hamas and potentially Islamic Jihad. Something about the threat has seemed strange, especially the ISIS against Hamas warnings as in so many ways Hamas and ISIS appear to be natural allies. The only thing which made sense about these threats was they were disinformation though the target escaped reason, well, until now. The intended target of ISIS being out to overthrow Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood was more about throwing off any investigation by the Egyptians into the validity of these claims and the simple overlooking of things being exactly the opposite. The three have been cooperating and this past week the blood soaked reality came crashing home with all the signals coming together all at one time putting to lie the ISIS against Hamas false flag arguments. The similarities between Hamas and ISIS has been a major part in the explanation by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as early as last summer when explaining why it had been paramount that Operation Protective Edge be fought with much the same ferocity which had been reserved thus far for only ISIS by Western interests. But even back then there had appeared to Israeli sources of intelligence that Hamas and ISIS were natural allies which is why more efforts had been expelled into drawing out and eliminating ISIS cells in Judea and Samaria than in Gaza.
Apparently Israel had best ramp up their surveillance in seeking out and destroying ISIS cells in Judea and Samaria as they could easily be precursors to Hamas making their new move to replace the current Fatah centered Arab Palestinian Authority with one which places Hamas and ISIS to enter into Judea and Samaria replacing Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas. This was the expected move which may have found Hamas and ISIS working together to gain additional leverage against Israel by taking over the entirety of the Arab Palestinian Authority, something that with Hamas would have already occurred had Abbas ever permitted the Arabs in Judea and Samaria to be able to vote for their own government, something Abbas has been refusing to allow knowing full well that as soon as elections were held that he would fall from power. Apparently the threats of an ISIS-Hamas war in Gaza worked if its intention was allowing the two to have close cooperation setting up this assault on Egypt. Perhaps this is the main event of this coming summer, an alliance which will have Gaza spread its tentacles and wrest power from Abbas giving it to Haniyeh, the former Prime Minister in Gaza before resigning last year to permit the formation of a unity government. Hamas leader Haniyeh knew he was risking nothing despite appearances to the contrary. The ruse was an effort to try to force Abbas to finally allow Arab elections across Gaza, Judea and Samaria. The effort failed to materialize and perhaps the one unknown may have been the undoing of the carefully laid out, years in the making, plan. This unknown was the extent in which ISIS had infiltrated into the Arab Palestinian society. What made knowing this impossible was the fact that there could have been untold numbers of disenchanted Arab Palestinians tired of never being allowed the vote over who controlled their governance. This could have produced fertile growing lands for the ISIS message of rules as written in the Quran. Life by the structures dictated in the Quran might have appealed except many in Judea and Samaria did not desire something more along the lines of a Constitution that would have permitted the enshrining of modern rights and society. Sharia was not what many Arab Palestinians desire as they have witnessed how the Israeli society has produced people very happy with their lives and their society despite the threats of terrorism. They see a people who are slowly but inexorably moving to realize the advantages of a religious life but also realizing that religious life must not be imposed by government and that the only control the religion should have on the governance are the Biblical limitations through which government is prevented from enriching those in its service and that government must serve the people it is in the end responsible to care for. Government cares for the people, and the people do not need to be made subservient in any manner to their government and this is best realized by assuring that there never comes a ruling elite who have usurped unto themselves through government or economic means the ability to enslave the people. The people are what are to be kept as noble and government should act noble but never be permitted to become nobles. This is why Sharia will always be an impossible sell to those who have known true freedom and liberty. The fact that many of the older Palestinians who remember freedom and elections having meaning who will be the saviors of the Arab Palestinian society providing they step forward in the short term and teach their society the beauty of living and celebrating life and not the opposite of existing in order to die with how one dies defines how they lived. One’s life must define ones death and by that we mean the tributes and loving memories they leave the world with after living and inspiring others by their lives. When a society starts to define one’s life by how they die prematurely and before their time then there is a society which serves Ba’al and has reinstituted child sacrifice, for what else can one call a society which reveres a child because they went out to serve their society and their god by an act of suicide, and even worse, a suicide which attempted to take as many who were full of life and living the best they were able as their victims in their sacrifice. Life is already too short; making one’s life tragically shorter is just that, a tragedy. A society that reveres those who chase death is a society doomed to destroy the very future it claims to promise. The slogan which must be at the bedrock of a society is to choose life, in all things and all ways choose life and use that life to help everyone else choose life and live a life which celebrates life.
Beyond the Cusp