Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

ANALYSIS / Israel is profiting from Egypt-Hezbollah quarrel

Posted by alicemarziali su 12 aprile, 2009

By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz COrrespondents


In what was apparently one of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah’s most important speeches since taking office in 1992, on Friday he admitted for the first time in the organization’s history that it was operating on Egyptian soil. Nasrallah mentioned the swearing-in of Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, but it was clear that, in the context of Friday’s speech, the real enemy was the Egyptian regime.

Nasrallah did not try to contradict Egyptian reports about the uncovering of Hezbollah’s network in Egypt: “We do not deny it and we do not apologize.” He claimed only that the reports were inaccurate – there were “only” 10 Hezbollah operatives in Egypt, not 50, as Cairo had stated. Hezbollah was merely trying to provide logistical assistance to the Palestinians besieged in the Gaza Strip, Nasrallah said. But he did not make do with a partial confession of the facts. He excoriated the Egyptian regime for failing to act to lift the siege on Gaza and accused it of collaboration with Israel and the United States.

Nasrallah’s first reference to the dramatic reports from Cairo, on Thursday, also launched a wave of criticism from the Egyptian opposition, which mocked the regime of President Hosni Mubarak for making Hezbollah the main enemy, instead of focusing on the injustices perpetrated by Israel.
Nasrallah’s address once again highlights his willingness to gamble, to the point of direct conflict between his organization and the country until recently considered the leader of the Arab world. Nasrallah has been insulting Mubarak since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, when Hezbollah found out that Cairo was pressuring the Olmert government to continue its military attack on Hezbollah.

The Egyptian response, for now, is somewhat hesitant, despite the firm steps it has taken on the ground. The most senior official to mention the affair as of last night has been a representative of the general prosecution in Cairo. So far, only anonymous officials have been quoted, warning that Mubarak would not allow Hezbollah to turn his country into a second Lebanon. Weekend editorials in the Egyptian press called Nasrallah an “Iranian agent.” In terms of practical steps, the past two days have seen reports of the uncovering of a rocket factory in Egyptian Rafah, the arrest of smugglers on the Israeli border and the capture of a man attempting to smuggle $2 million to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The conflict between Egypt and Iran and Hezbollah might also impact the upcoming elections in Lebanon. It is unlikely all voters will be happy about the affair, which highlights Iran’s control over Hezbollah and creates tension between Beirut and Cairo.

Israel, which can regard the events with some satisfaction, is keeping a low profile. Hezbollah’s penetration into Egypt, now facing a close race for Mubarak’s successor, leaves no doubt as to Iran’s intentions. This may result in increased security coordination between Israel and Egypt against arms smuggling into the Strip, and will apparently also dictate Cairo’s continued cool stance toward Gaza.




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