The leading role played by the Muslim Brotherhood in the street and in the Egyptian political system can no longer be denied. The mass demonstrations that continued after the fall of Mubarak’s regime weakened of the military leadership’s power, and led to attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, and escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Jonathan Dahoah Halevi, a fellow at the American Center for Democracy, and a former advisor for policy planning at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, saw the writing on the wall in August when Muslim Brotherhood-led anti-Israeli demonstrations -- fueled by Hamas attacks on Israel from Gaza -- went uninterrupted by the regime.
The ground was ripe in Egypt. The Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent organization, defined the Egyptian revolution as a necessary first step towards the” liberation” of all of Palestine. The Brotherhood successfully seized the opportunity to use the revolution, especially Mubarak’s overthrow and prosecution to motivate the masses, sending them to the streets. Indeed, the Brotherhood’s organizational capability exceeds that of all the other political parties in Egypt combined.
On August 19 and 20, the Brotherhood directed hundreds of thousands to protest in many cities in Egypt, including outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and the Israeli Consulate in Alexandria. The protesters tried to force their way into the embassy, and some were able to lower the flag of Israel.
The preaching during the month of Ramadan combined with Hamas attacks on Israel in August which led to the IDF retaliation which eliminated the terrorists cell, also killing an Egyptian officer and four members of the Egyptian security forces, were used by the Brotherhood to further incited the masses to daily demonstrations, demanding to cancel the Camp David accords, close the embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv, and take military action against Israel.
This strategy helps the Brotherhood to strengthen their political power and to pressure the military to promote “democratization” in line with the organization’s agenda, to advance Shari’a law, avoid significant constitutional changes, hold the general and presidential elections as soon as possible, and to alter the relations with Israel.
Back in August, Halevi warned that an “escalation in the protests could lead to more attempts to break into the embassy in Cairo and the consulate in Alexandria, even a takeover,” as happened with the United States Embassy in Tehran in 1979.
Halevi further explained: “Israel’s Foreign Ministry faces a complex dilemma on this issue. Evacuating the Israeli diplomats out of fear for their safety would be a great victory for the Egyptian opposition and would signal the end of the peace with Egypt… Preserving the last thread in the diplomatic relations with Egypt would compromise the safety of the embassy staff and the Consulate General of Israel in Egypt. Recent events and the assessment of the risks require the Foreign Ministry’s to be prepared for the possibility of an emergency and immediate evacuation of Israeli diplomats until the internal situation in Egypt is stabilized and the regime is able to effectively control the country.”
While the military leadership declared it will take all necessary steps to enforce security, they are clearly reluctant to use force and risking casualties to protect the Israelis. The Egyptian daily al-Ahram reported that official sources in Cairo urged days before the mob stormed the Israeli Embassy, that Jerusalem returns the Israeli Ambassador for "a long leave of absence," and requested that the diplomatic staff keep a "lower profile." Indeed, the uninterrupted mob attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, which culminated last weekend with the ransacking of the embassy and the emergency evacuation of most Israeli diplomatic staff and their families, should worry all foreign missions.
These events demonstrated the failure of Egypt’s ruling army council to enforce order and guarantee the protection of all foreign all missions. Thus violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961).
This is not the first time that foreign missions came under attack in the Arab/Muslim world. The mass anti-Western demonstrations and attacks on foreign embassies following the publication of the Muhammad cartoons were sanctioned by the Arab/Muslim governments. However, the so-called Arab Spring that was hijacked by the Brotherhood and its affiliates destabilized Arab regimes and created anarchy.
Following protests from Israel and the US, Egypt’s ruling military council issued a statement saying this was an ''attack on Egypt's image,” deployed security forces around the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, and recognized Egypt's ''total commitment to respecting international conventions, including the protection of all (diplomatic) missions''.
Still, the unabated incitement against Israel, America and the West begs a genuine concern about the military’s ability and willingness to control the masses.