What hides under the Pillar of Cloud?
As soon as Obama was re-elected president of the USA, many came to expect that the relationship between Israel and the U.S. would deteriorate sharply, as everybody remembers the swordplay between the head of the White House and the Israeli Prime Minister, as well as the outright bet on the Republican candidate Mitt Romney by Netanyahu. It appears, however, that those who thought so greatly exaggerated. Those who were right were mindful of the strategic nature of relations between the two countries and the enormous influence of the Jewish lobby in the U.S.
Part I Gaza: The Israeli Plans
The military and political leadership of Israel picks the names for their operations with great care, including in Gaza, putting a special meaning into them. In 2008-2009, it was Operation Cast Lead, following you would guess, a desire to blindly and violently conquer, and now Operation Pillar of Cloud, the meaning of which, apart from what was announced officially, hides many plentiful additional motives.
When the operation in Gaza was already in full swing, the Israeli portal IzRus published a very interesting document put together some time ago, by a staff of experts in foreign policy ("Mate Medini"), and the central office of the Foreign Ministry for the Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (1). In it, in particular, is included an analysis of the reasons of the expected November 29 Appeal of the Palestinian leader Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) to the UN General Assembly with a request to assign to the Palestinian State the observer state status. In addition, the drafters of the document provided recommendations for Lieberman as to the Israeli reaction to such a move by the Palestinian leadership.
"The motives behind Abu Mazen's decision to address the UN in November are ambiguous and varied,” the document said. “The principal of these is a significant weakening of his position in Palestinian society because of an inability to cope with internal problems, especially in the economic sphere.”
In the memorandum Israel draws these conclusions:
"It is reconciled to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state recognized by the UN, Israel which completely undermines Israel’s own deterrent potential, and which will make impossible any future political settlement (of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), which will be acceptable to the Israeli side.
Despite the fact that this is a difficult time for the Israeli`s and the step is fraught with serious consequences, in this case, the removal of the Abu Mazen regime is the only option. The other options - inaction or mild reaction – are tantamount to surrender and a recognition of the Israeli leadership's inability to counteract the challenge. "
Based on this, the Israeli leadership was given ambiguous advice:
"If the Palestinians decide not to appeal to the UN, then Israel must reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority on the establishment of a Palestinian state whose borders remain intact during the transition period (to achieve stability in the Arab world, a new election in the Palestinian Authority and to clarify the relationship of the West Bank with Gaza).
If the Palestinians unilaterally address the General Assembly of the UN and get the status of a State, this step should be considered as crossing the "red line" and a violation of all agreements that will necessitate a strong reaction in Israel. "
The whole course of events proves that the Israeli military and the state machine operate in accordance with a predetermined plan, and it consciously and deliberately provoked the conflict in Gaza.
In reality, the Defense Minister Ehud Barak in September said that Israel may again "re-occupy parts of Gaza in a future conflict." (2)
The impetus for the current round of violence was the killing by the Israeli`s of the commander of the Hamas military wing, Ahmed Jabari. Military sources close to Israeli intelligence research center DEBKA reported that simultaneously with the removal of Jabari and in anticipation of retaliation, a status of high alert was declared in the south.(3) To enhance the effect the Jabari funeral procession was bombed, killing five children and a 19 - year-old pregnant woman. (4)Renowned Israeli analyst Aluf Benn wrote that "Ahmed Jabari was more of a major figure in the Gaza Strip in deterring rocket attacks, thus providing the security of Israel.” (5) So it looks like a cynical murder. Jabari, after all, could have been quietly removed by the Israeli security forces, but it was done in a loud and demonstrative way. Consequently, the effects were calculated and expected.
Events around Gaza have, on the one hand, intimidated the Palestinian leadership, and on the other, served as a dress rehearsal for its removal. Obviously, none of its leaders can agree with the "temporary borders" of a Palestinian state, which will be inscribed by the Israelis and in the described embodiment of the memorandum, will be perpetuated. Similarly, the voting mechanism at the UN General Assembly has been launched, and Mahmoud Abbas cannot refuse, even if he wanted to. Consequently, from December a truly great war against the Palestinians may begin… In preparation for this an unprecedented number of reservists have been called up by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), 75 thousand people, in addition to those already under the gun, which, according to experts, is at least three times greater than is needed in solving local problems in Gaza.
Simultaneously in the world there is a picture of an "inability to negotiate” of the Palestinians. This is clearly pointed to in the speech by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor at the emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. He sharply criticized the Palestinian Authority's intention to acquire the status of an observer at the UN. "The state dreamed of by Palestinians includes the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas. On behalf of whom do the Palestinians turn to the UN: on behalf of the Authority in the West Bank, or on behalf of the government of Gaza, led by Hamas?"(6)
Among other motives of operation Pillar of Cloud right now point to the possible preparation for a strike on Iran. The currently ongoing operation "clouds" the full-scale combat potential of the IDF and the parallel action to "neutralize" the possible future attacks on the flanks, which would be followed after an attack on Iranian facilities.
Equally important is the fact that Netanyahu is almost forcing the U.S. to "stop flirting" with moderate Islamists in the Arab world and completely identify with Israel in accordance with their strategic commitments. The U.S. Senate unanimously (!) adopted a resolution of unconditional support for Israel and condemnation of the "provocations" of Hamas. Barack Obama has already called the unloved Netanyahu and assured him of his full sympathy. On behalf of the U.S. President Obama's Deputy Assistant for National Security Ben Rhodes clearly stated: "We believe that Israel has the right to defend themselves, and the tactics of protection they decide on their own."(7)
Another possible motive for the operation has been mentioned – the upcoming Israeli elections in two months. According to the Independent, “the only reason for Israel to act was the deaths of three Israelis in a rocket attack." However, it may have handed Prime Minister Netanyahu a reason. The more the conflict escalates, the harder will be the reaction of Israel, and the more Israel will feel like a "besieged fortress" (8) that the parliamentary elections will inevitably turn to the ruling party. This is evidenced by the fact that of all the political forces in Israel only the far-left Meretz condemned the operation, whose leader Zahava Gal-On said: "Israel has the right to self-defense, but the realization of this right by destroying Hamas leaders will not bring the desired result."(9)
The situation in the immediate vicinity is estimated as quite favorable by Israeli strategists for any kind of show of force in Gaza.
Egypt, according to Tel Aviv, despite the transfer of some combat troops into the Sinai Peninsula closer to the scene, and after not quite overcoming internal chaos is not able to throw any serious military challenge to the IDF. All that can be expected from it are mostly tough political declarations and diplomatic maneuvers.
Increased security measures have been taken on the border with Syria. Soldiers were strictly forbidden to respond to possible shooting and mortar fire from the opposite side without the approval of the command. The most probable forays it is estimated will be from antigovernment insurgents linked to al-Qaeda. Their total number is estimated to be around 200 people near the border. In particular, under the control of the group "The Eagles of the Golan” is the ghost town of Quneitra which was completely destroyed by the Israelis during the 1967 war. The regular active Syrian forces have withdrawn inland. (10)
Lebanon is paralyzed after the killing of the head of military intelligence, which Hezbollah is accused of involvement in, but, as it turns out, Israel receives the biggest benefit of this so far.
Jordan has also entered a period of instability and may well be the next weak link in the "Middle East domino" by themselves opening a third wave of the "Arab Spring". On this side of the border Israel is quite safe.
The question of starting and the scale of the ground operation in the Gaza Strip are still open. This is owing to concerns in the government about the possible reaction of the international community to Israel's actions. As practice shows, the ground phase of the operation leads to additional victims in the civilian population, which in turn strengthens the criticism of Israel, and, respectively, the pressure on it.
At the same time the head of Middle East Studies at the Brookings Institution, Daniel Byman believes, for example, that Israel may lose the gamble it has started in Gaza. (11) A new factor compared to the time of the extremely tight Operation Cast Lead in 2008, which killed about 1,500 people in Gaza, is the "Arab Spring" and the ideological affinity of Hamas with neighboring Arab regimes. It will not be easy for Israel, if Hamas holds on for any length of time. Israelis are unlikely to want to reoccupy the entire sector, and they will not get the support of Washington, which does not want to further complicate its relations with Arab countries.
In response to this view Amir Goren wrote in the Israeli opposition newspaper "Haaretz": "The military operations aimed at eliminating the commanders of hostile groups are justified, but fruitless. As long as they are cut off from the wider national context, not tied to the solution of the national problem, Israel is moving into a debilitating spiral, each time returning to the same place. "(12)
Part II The geopolitics of the conflict in Gaza: Hamas' calculations
Hamas (an acronym for Harakat al-Muqāwama al-Islāmiya - the Islamic Resistance Movement) emerged a decade ago as a regional branch of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, of which Gaza was a part of until 1967. The founding father is considered to be Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated in 2004. There are indications that the Israeli security forces had a hand in the formation of Hamas, at the time trying to counter the Islamists and the secular socialist-oriented forces in the Palestinian resistance. If only they knew then who they nurtured. This now, however, both sides prefer to forget. It gained political power in the late 80's during the first intifada. After winning the elections in Gaza in 2006, Hamas gained full control of Gaza from 2007, when at the same time, in the West Bank of the river Jordan; power belonged to Fatah, the group founded by Arafat.
Hamas has been on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations since 1997. In addition to being more militant than Fatah, it is known for its attention to the social status of the population and is less prone to corruption. The formal leader of Hamas remains Khaled Meshaal who moved in early 2012 from Damascus to Qatar, the real "prime minister" in Gaza is Ismail Haniyeh, a close ally of Sheikh Yassin. There is a barely concealed rivalry between them. Hamas says it is ready to recognize the borders of 1967 and live in peace with Israel, but it is no hurry to recognize it.
Israeli experts point out that as a result of the "Arab Spring" Hamas has significantly increased in military-technical and political terms. Moreover, in recognizing their responsibility for launching rockets at Israel, which it avoided until recently, Hamas has demonstrated that it no longer fears a direct confrontation with the Israeli military machine.(1)
This increased confidence is based on a number of factors.
Having dealt with the finishing of its dependence on Damascus, Hamas has gained much more powerful patrons in the Islamic world. In October, this year the Emir of Qatar was the first head of state in its entire modern history to visit Gaza, and he granted a gift of $ 400 million to Hamas, which immediately raised their status among Palestinian voters. After him the Turkish Prime Minister T. Erdogan planned to go as well. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia visited Gaza, and in the near future in accordance with the decision of the meeting held in Cairo, the Arab League plans to go there with a delegation of Arab ministers.
Given the re-orientation of Hamas from Syria and Iran to what Washington considers more acceptable regimes, voices were heard in the in the United States about the possible admission of informal contact with the movement. This White House is strongly encouraged, in particular, by the leaders of Qatar and Turkey. The prospect looms, even if still distant, of the gradual international legitimization of Hamas.
As a consequence of the post-revolutionary chaos, Cairo largely lost control of the situation in the Gaza Strip adjacent to the Sinai Peninsula. This gave Hamas a vital strategic foundation. It placed in the Sinai its training camps and even workshops for manufacturing and repairing weapons, invulnerable to the Israeli Air Force, which is bound by Camp David peace treaty. Moreover, in recent months there have been cases of actually firing of rockets at Israeli targets from the peninsula territory, though not much damage was inflicted.
Hamas, if not directly challenging the Israeli military machine, does not shy away from a collision with it, causing minor disturbing stings to Israel, and for their own reasons. Just as Israel, in unleashing the conflict and taking on full responsibility, forced Washington to clearly and plainly identify themselves with Tel Aviv, Hamas has made it clear also that Cairo and other Arab capitals take its side.
It is known that before recent events, its parent organization the Muslim Brotherhood, which happens now to be in power in Cairo, had shown some restraint in relation to their own child, based primarily for tactical reasons of gaining legitimacy in the West. Cairo, for example has rejected the Hamas offer to establish a free trade zone between Egypt and Gaza and expressed dissatisfaction with the actions of Islamic extremists who attacked the Egyptian border guards in the Sinai and prevented the unfettered movement of fighters and weapons into Gaza. Israel's actions have removed all the old antagonisms for the Islamists in Cairo not to support their "little brothers."
These calculations have partially materialized. Egyptian President Morsi, having previously tended towards a pragmatic course, sent Prime Minister Hesham Kandil to Gaza, practically under Israeli fire. Egypt has recalled its ambassador to Israel, condemned the actions of Tel Aviv as naked aggression and promised more support to the Palestinians. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has demanded a further tightening in his approach to Israel from the country’s president. They also announced that they are developing a draft law for a unilateral revision of the peace treaty with Israel. (2)Given their dominance in the national parliament, the chances of passing such a law is very high. Not being able to successfully confront Israel militarily, Cairo, for example, might just open the border with Gaza for "refugees", through which in the opposite direction weapons would inevitably flood, which Hamas desperately needs. Fuad Muhammad Jadallah, Egyptian Presidential Adviser on Legal Affairs, speaking on air on one of the Arab TV stations spoke of the need to immediately establish a Palestinian state and to start supplying arms to the Palestinians to enable them to successfully confront Israel.(3)
Hamas as well as Israel, but for different reasons, are not too interested in the success of the vote promoted by Abbas on the status of Palestine at the UN General Assembly, as they consider it insufficient and believe it will perpetuate the present situation. In addition, it is believed that this whole thing is mainly targeted on improving the personal prestige of Abbas and Fatah. At the same time, opposition to the Israeli war machine enhances the credibility of Hamas among Palestinians and the chances of winning the ever-delayed elections for all of the Palestinians, when they finally take place. Due to the controlling conditions of the Gaza blockade, the movement is not in a position to deliver on the promise to raise the living standards of ordinary Palestinians and is gradually losing its popularity. War can always be attributed to the actions of the enemy, and it unites people around Hamas again.
However, the attack on the commander of the military wing of Hamas' “İzzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades," Ahmad Jabari, was a surprise to the Palestinians, a day after Egypt announced it had mediated the cessation of all attacks on Israel from Gaza. Jabari was travelling in a car in broad daylight, without expectation of a sudden attack, and not observing any precautions. (4) His murder, as was proclaimed in Gaza, "opened the gates of hell." On the Palestinian side of the operation "a pillar of cloud," got its own name - "Firestone".
The Palestinians in Gaza have never had as many weapons as they have now. The Fajr-3 missile and the Fajr-5, imported by them from Iran, may have little striking effect, but they are the first able to reach the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Although Israel announces as false Palestinian claims that they shot down an F-16, but even The New York Times says credible evidence has been provided by them on YouTube. Hamas does not seek an elusive military victory, it needs a "diplomatic victory", which it has already largely achieved. (5)
The Israeli press wrote: "We should not neglect the fact of the launching of missiles at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Since the 1948 war, no Arab state (except in Iraq in 1991) dared to do something that the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been allowed to do. “(6) It does not matter where the missile landed - in the sea or on land, in the park or on the beach. What is important from a psychological point of view is that an imaginary barrier has been overcome. And in any war of attrition the psychological aspect is very important.
In this case, a spokesman of the armed wing of Hamas warned: "The shelling of Tel Aviv, and the Al-Quds (Jerusalem), which did not happen before, is not all of the surprises we have at our disposal."(7)
A ground operation against Hamas in Gaza can be a repeat of the sad experience of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006. The Islamists in Gaza are no less powerful, trained and motivated than Hezbollah, which forced the then Israeli army, perhaps for the first time in its history, to withdraw due to high battle losses in southern Lebanon, and without solving any of the objectives... In Hezbollah`s favor was the mountainous terrain, which offers excellent facilities for ambushes and mine laying. Gaza, by contrast, is flat lowland. At the same time, dense buildings prevail there and this does not allow for the deployment of heavy military equipment, without total destruction. Of course, the State of Israel can easily find hot heads, capable of this, but the situation in the world has changed, and such actions may finally blow up the entire Middle East.
According to a statement from the military wing of Hamas, in the case of a ground operation by IDF soldiers entering 300 meters into Palestinian territory, only then will it be resisted.
These concerns and not just the international pressure may possibly explain an obvious hitch in the actions of Israel, which had already announced the start of the ground operation.
Cease-fire negotiations are currently underway in Cairo, with the assistance of Egyptian mediators and experts of the International Crisis Group, and a compromise may end in a tripartite agreement. Hamas will undertake to take "extremist elements" under control, and at the same time Egypt will facilitate the crossing regime of the border with Gaza at Rafah, and Israel will take similar steps at the commercial terminal of Kerem Shalom controlled by them. (8)
However, the strength of such agreements, given the far-reaching strategic intentions of the parties, is hard to believe. Opposites meet. But no matter who wins in this deadly game of blood, the losers will be, as usual, ordinary people, both Arabs and Jews.
Part III The geopolitics of the conflict in Gaza: U.S. calculations and miscalculations
Is this the end of the «honeymoon» between Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood?
As soon as Obama was re-elected president of the USA, many came to expect that the relationship between Israel and the U.S. would deteriorate sharply, as everybody remembers the swordplay between the head of the White House and the Israeli Prime Minister, as well as the outright bet on the Republican candidate Mitt Romney by Netanyahu. It appears, however, that those who thought so greatly exaggerated. Those who were right were mindful of the strategic nature of relations between the two countries and the enormous influence of the Jewish lobby in the U.S....
According to Israeli analysts, in fact, Netanyahu was quite careful not to «cross the red line». He took to Romney and expressed his words of support, but this has always been acceptable behavior in Israel in relation to the American presidential candidates. Obama, when he was a candidate on a visit to Israel, demanded his photo shots and smiles be with Olmert, Livni and Ehud Barak, though at the time the White House was occupied by a Republican president. In promotional commercials Romney used pictures and compliments of Netanyahu, but also the Obama propaganda campaign used images with Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak. When Romney strongly criticized Obama for having «thrown Israel under the wheels of the bus,» Israeli President Peres met with Obama in Washington, and showed his full understanding. The Israelis have always been able to properly arrange their eggs in different baskets. «Today, Netanyahu knows that Obama has won in the U.S., and Obama knows that Netanyahu will win in Israel. It is what it is, and it is necessary to live and work with it». (1)
Moreover, Obama's entourage almost managed to defend the Jewish president elect who for the most part did not believe the stories from Romney that Obama is going to «throw Israel». Studies have shown that American Jews still retain their traditional focus on the Democratic Party. In the election from representatives of this population group 69% voted for Obama, which is only 5% less than in the previous campaign, which is a very slight drop, given the amount of effort the Republicans put in to represent the current president as an «enemy of Israel». (2)
Therefore, the announcement of the newly elected president that he remains committed to the strategic alliance with Tel Aviv is apparently true. But in the new reality Obama will have to solve a highly complex strategic problem - how to maintain a relationship with an existing ally and not damage, and if possible, even to strengthen the relationship with his recently acquired new friends from among the «moderate Islamists» as a result of the «Arab Spring». In attempting to sit on two chairs at the same time he will find it hard to stand up to his very first test in connection with the conflict in the Gaza Strip.
From the very beginning of the «revolutionary processes» in the Middle East, Israel was critical of the actions of the strong encouragement of the Americans, especially of Washington's attempt to get close to the Muslim Brotherhood, and one could only wait for the moment when Tel Aviv would start a counter play to thwart this «unholy alliance». And it came. The Israeli «pillar of cloud» fell on top of the Gaza sector, the Palestinians opened up the «gates of hell» before them, and all the masks were ripped off. The White House fully and unconditionally supported Israel, remaining deaf to the calls of the Arab community to somehow influence its ally, which destroyed the whole line up of the cleverly created U.S. strategy in the region, built on the allegedly impartial treatment of all States there.
As it turns out, even before the Israeli attack on Gaza on 12-13 November, a delegation of the Israeli Council for National Security, headed by its leader Jacob Amidror held talks in Washington with the U.S. President's National Security Tom Donilon. It was the first high level meeting between the two sides after the re-election of Obama. According to official reports, they «held consultations on the situations in Gaza, Syria and Iran». In this case, US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Victor said: «The meeting was the latest in a series of consultations in the field of security at the highest level between Israel and the United States and demonstrates our unwavering support for the security of the Jewish state». (3)It is hard to imagine that at the current level of bilateral relations, the Israelis did not inform U.S. officials about the upcoming operation in Gaza. Perhaps this was the main purpose of their mission. Thus, the attack on Gaza, most likely, was made with the full knowledge and approval of Washington.
Immediately after the outbreak of hostilities, U.S. President Barack Obama during a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his support to the Israeli authorities and stressed the right of Israel to defend itself. However, the American leader urged Tel Aviv to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties. (4)
In addition, as reported by the American edition of The Daily Beast, in that telephone conversation the Israeli leader assured his interlocutor that the IDF is not planning a ground operation in the Gaza Strip. The source referenced by the publication, said that Netanyahu gave a personal guarantee to the effect that a ground operation will begin only when and if the Hamas rocket attacks increase dramatically. Two senior U.S. officials, who, according to the publication, received information about the content of the conversation between Obama and Netanyahu claimed that Israel, despite its bellicose statements was allegedly not even considering the option of the invasion of Gaza, and this scenario, will be considered only in the event of significant losses from the Israeli side. At the moment, there is not even a date set for the possible start of the ground operation «a pillar of cloud». However, «if Hamas increases the pressure, the Israeli government may change their point of view,” said the U.S. source. (5)
For his part, the Israeli prime minister said that he had talked with U.S. President Barack Obama and thanked him for his support and contribution to the development of the U.S. missile defense system «Iron Dome». (6) It should be noted that information on the conflict, transmitted from the scene, is replete with praise for this system, and everything at times is just like a large-scale advertising campaign for its promotion. Experts point out that in reality it is not very effective against low-flying targets such as rockets, but its advertising it is of vital interest to the joint US-Israeli military-industrial complex, which is objectively the «third happy party» in the events and in no small part is pushing them forward.
The Arabs had gathered before in meetings in connection with the violent actions of the Israelis against the Palestinians, but observers cannot remember such a strong pitch of anti-Americanism, such as which arose, in an emergency meeting of the League of Arab States (LAS) held on 17th November in Cairo with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It was felt that the United States is the only power in the world that could not only stop, but also prevent the conflict in Gaza, but they did not do so because of their dependence on Israel. And, therefore, their assurances of support for freedom and democracy in the Middle East are worthless.
Jordan's King Abdullah II, who is generally considered one of the most loyal of the Arab leaders to the West and Washington, warned the White House on its position of non-interference, which he said, «could lead to massive upheaval in the region». (7)
But Barack Obama did not seem to hear this. During a tour of Asia, speaking on November 18 at a press conference in Bangkok, Obama stressed that no country would tolerate rocket attacks on the civilian population, and expressed confidence that they should make every effort to resolve the conflict with Gaza in a way so that not one more missile fell on Israel. Once again, he said that Israel has every right to protect its citizens from the missiles that fly at them from Gaza.
The U.S. President also noted that the question of a possible truce will be decided in the next two days, stressing that the escalation of violence in Gaza is minimizing the chances of peace in the region. (8)
It is too early to judge how successful the Israeli operation «pillar of cloud» will be in terms of breaking down the resistance of Palestinian radicals. Most likely, everything will repeat itself. But one thing you can say for sure – there is an extra hidden agenda, and that can be, that the basic idea of introducing discord between America and the Arab countries has been effectively activated. The «Pillar» turns into a «wedge».
Washington`s strategy to the Arab Spring is bursting at the seams. The short «honeymoon» between Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood seems to be at an end.
Even more humiliating for the U.S. can be the voting at the UN General Assembly in late November on the status of Palestine, as there is only a small group of tiny countries in favor of Israel and the rest of the world are against, including all the Arab states. This split will become more pronounced. There will be no opportunity to pretend in a «closeness» of interests and aspirations with the «moderate Islamists». In his relations with them Obama will have to set aside his much loved weapon of «soft power», relying only on its hard version and financial handouts, the limits of which are also limited due to the financial crisis. The main lever of influence in Washington for many of the countries of the region, and in particular Egypt, which is key in this situation, remains economic. The experts at the Washington Institute for Middle Eastern Studies recommend, for example, the White House uses for this purpose not only direct assistance to Egypt, but also its position in the IMF, from which the Egyptians requested a loan of $ 4.8 billion. (9) Only is there now enough money and influence? And can the Egyptians find sources of funding outside of Washington, including in its own region the Middle East?