U.S., ISRAEL ALARMED BY EGYPTIAN MANEUVERS
Arutz Sheva News Service
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2002 / Shvat 11, 5762
Israel has requested that the United States cease supplying Egypt with arms systems, including F-15 fighter aircraft - because Egypt appears to want to use them against Israel. In Egypt's last military maneuvers, it identified its "dummy" enemy as Israel. Jane's Defense Weekly reports that for this reason, Israel wants the American military support stopped.
Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1978, but Israel has long complained that Egypt has been relating to Israel as an enemy. Egypt is currently in violation of the treaty by having recalled its Ambassador to Israel a year ago, and providing no replacement. Jane's reports that the U.S. initially refused to respond to Israel's request, but later changed its mind after receiving intelligence proof that Israel's charges were valid.
Egypt Threatens Show of Armed Force to Aid Arafat
The Sunday Time 12 August 2001
Uzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv
[IMRA: For years some have claimed that the deal with Egypt under which Israel withdrew completely from the Sinai and Egypt was able to westernize its armed forces with the best US weapons US funding could pay for was proof positive that "land for peace" (or, as detractors put it "land for piece of paper") works.]
THE threat of a wider Middle East conflict is growing as the Egyptian government considers sending its 3rd Armoured Army into the Sinai peninsula if Israel moves into Palestinian territories.
In recent weeks Egypt has come under increased pressure from the Palestinians to help them. The Sinai option was confirmed by a senior Egyptian security source, who said the Israelis had to be deterred from "destroying" the Palestinian Authority and Yasser Arafat, its leader.
Under the terms of a 1979 peace agreement, Israel withdrew from the Sinai, which it had conquered in the six day war of 1967, while Egypt agreed not to keep substantial military forces there.
Palestinian sources said that last month Arafat reminded Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, that the country had other obligations: as a signatory of the Arab League's defence treaty, it had a duty to give military support to any fellow member coming under attack.
Arafat, the sources said, urged Mubarak to implement the treaty. Mubarak has so far taken no action, but has said that as long as Ariel Sharon is prime minister of Israel, there will be no peace in the region.
Israeli security sources say the possibility of Mubarak's intervention is now being factored into military planning. Any incursion into the Sinai would be viewed as a violation of the peace accord. Israel would send a substantial force to defend its southern border, raising the prospect of the first confrontation with Egypt since 1973.
Any encounter now would be no pushover for the Israelis. The Egyptian army has improved dramatically in the past 30 years, and is one of the most modern in the world. Its hardware is advanced and almost entirely American; its air force is well maintained and its navy bigger than Israel's, and stronger.
Israel's northern border is no less tense. Mubarak's special adviser, Osama al-Baz, said last month that if Israel attacked Syria, the Syrians would not be alone.
Israeli military intelligence warned in a recent report to the government that confrontation could follow on all borders if relations with the Palestinians deteriorated sharply.
With the anniversary of the Palestinian uprising approaching, Sheikh Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, the extreme Iranian-backed Islamic group, has promised full military support to the Palestinians.
Intense Hezbollah preparations observed by Israeli intelligence over the past week have increased speculation about the group's intentions. It has built 20 to 30 outposts along the border between Lebanon and Israel. Iranian army units are keeping long-range rockets on standby in southern Lebanon, capable of striking northern parts of Israel.
The Israeli military also has to take another foe into consideration: Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Iraqi forces have advanced a tank division from a Republican Guard barracks near Baghdad towards the Jordanian border at least twice since the beginning of the intifada.
Senior officers say an Iraqi expeditionary army arriving on the Jordanian border would be a casus belli for Israel, although they hope allied air strikes would deter any such move. "We are sure they would be tackled by the Americans," said one officer.
On Friday, American and British aircraft bombed three sites in southern Iraq, the largest allied strike since February. Altogether, 20 ground-attack fighters were involved, backed up by 30 support aircraft, according to the Pentagon.
The official Iraqi News Agency said one person was killed and 11 were wounded.
EGYPT'S UNRELENTING ARMS BUILDUP
from The New York Post 10/31/99 by David Bar Ilan
Even as Egypt's army was conducting joint maneuvers with U.S. forces last week, Egyptian Defense Minister Muhamad Tantawi told his General Staff, "We must be prepared for war with Israel." It was not the first time Tantawi made such a statement, nor should it be viewed as mere bluster. Egypt's military doctrine is geared almost exclusively to offensive war against "the neighbor to the north." And since Egypt's other neighbors - Libya, Sudan and Saudi Arabia are not serious threats, Cairo's enormous investment in the military can only be rationalized as preparation for war with Israel. The unease in Israel's military establishment about the dramatic growth in Egyptian power is not aired in public. Israel does not wish to increase anxiety about the peace process by suggesting that the "cold peace" with Egypt might become a hot war. No such anxiety exists in Washington. The United States insists that it is "committed to Israel's qualitative superiority," and it points to Egypt's growing dependence on American arms, training and cooperation as a guarantee against an Egyptian attack on Israel. That Egypt is in the American orbit of influence is undoubtedly preferable to any alternative. But of the $35 billion Egypt has received in U.S. aid since it signed a peace treaty with Israel, it has spent $25 billion on arms. For the first time, an Arab army is equipped with superior American weapons. The Jerusalem Post recently reported that the Clinton administration has agreed to provide Egypt with a PAC-3 Patriot air-defense missile system that Israel does not have. And, according to the Middle East Military Balance, "Egyptian aircraft are equipped with interception-enhancement precision-guided munitions systems which Israeli aircraft do not have." So much for maintaining Israel's qualitative superiority. To suppose that these weapons will never be used against Israel because of Egypt's American connection is to ignore the possibility of unpredictable change in a Middle East dictatorship. It was not too long ago that Iran was a central pillar of American power in the region.
Egypt's feverish arming is complemented by a relentless political and diplomatic offensive against Israel. Determined to sabotage any improvement in Arab-Israeli relations, Egypt is now focusing on preventing the renewal of multilateral talks on regional economic projects - the most promising and constructive aspect of the peace process, aimed at raising the region's standard of living. Normalization is a dirty word in the Egyptian lexicon. Egyptians who want to visit Israel are still subjected to interrogations by the secret police. Contact with Israelis by professionals is penalized, and the official Egyptian press continues its anti-Semitic, government-sponsored campaign against Jews and Israel, unparalleled anywhere in the world. Some terminally naive Washington politicians seem to believe that the source of all friction between Israel and Egypt was Benjamin Netanyahu's "hard line." But Egyptian policy has been consistently and unalterably antagonistic to Israel ever since Cairo retrieved the territory it lost in the 1967 and 1973 wars. Egyptian officials openly state that real peace with Israel will come only when all Palestinian demands are met, even as Egypt itself toughens these demands. Yasser Arafat, himself an Egyptian, makes few moves without Cairo's blessings. But it is not the future of the Palestinians that worries Egypt. Viewing a strong Israel as a threat to Egyptian hegemony in the Middle East, it has always wanted Israel "to return to its natural size" - within the 1967 lines. And to ensure that Israel's vulnerability is complete and that it will not be able to repeat its 1967 victory, Egypt is building a gigantic military force with American help. A Palestinian state will be an Egyptian bridgehead on the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. To assume that its establishment will change Egyptian intentions is to let wishful thinking vanquish common sense.
EGYPT PREPARING FOR WAR Egypt's advanced plans for war against Israel were outlined in an extensive article in the weekend edition of HaTzofeh. HaTzofeh editor Gonen Ginat told Arutz-7 today that "Egypt's war plans have been discussed and boasted about openly by top members of the country's security establishment. For example, during Egypt's largest-ever military exercise in the fall of 1996, its Defense Minister Muhammad Dantawi told reporters straight out that the training was in preparation for an upcoming war with Israel." The article details Egypt's increased levels of arms, both in quality and quantity, in air, rocket, naval, and ground power. "The Egyptian military has become increasingly advanced," Ginat said, "thanks in part to more sophisticated U.S. tanks which the Americans have not only provided, but have trained the Egyptians to build independently. These tanks surpass those of Israel on a number of counts." When questioned as to why his paper, and not the political establishment, is disseminating this information, Ginat noted, "The issue of war with Egypt is taboo. The attitude of the average Israeli is not to disturb one of the only peace treaties we have with a neighboring Arab state. As such, politicians are afraid to raise the issue with a public that is unwilling to confront it. This hesitance to upset people's perceptions reminds me of the story of my former editor, Ya'akov Erez, who was a military correspondent in 1973. He had written a report prior to the Yom Kippur War, warning of Egypt's imminent plans to attack Israel. The censor blocked the story. Erez has the report hanging over his desk to this day as a reminder that we can't afford to bury our heads in the sand." [Arutz-7's Yehoshua Mor-Yosef noted that the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot reported today that prior to the Yom Kippur War, exactly 25 years ago, the government received over 1500 intelligence reports regarding an imminent Arab attack.]
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