Wednesday, October 25, 2006

War is Coming in Gaza--But it is Unclear Who Will Fight and Who Will Stay Out

Bret Stephens, the former editor of the Jerusalem Post and now a member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, writes today that the next Middle East war is mostly likely to erupt in Gaza, but it is not at all clear who the combatants will be. The possible players are Israel, Hamas, Fatah and Egypt, and one can imagine almost any combination of 2, 3 or 4 of those parties participating in the fighting, including the possibility of Israel, Egypt and Fatah fighting Hamas. About the only safe bet is that Hamas will not fight along side Israel. Syria and Iran, as the arms suppliers to Hamas, are also interested parties. Stephens concludes pessimistically:
"If Egypt or Israel had the luxury of choice they would abandon Gaza to its own miserable devices, or--even better--to each other. But that's not how it works in the Middle East. The war for Gaza is coming, no matter who does the fighting. Whoever stays out of it wins."


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