A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
December 26, 2007 Barak Meets Mubarak
Today Israeli Minister of Defense Barak met with Egyptian President Mubarak and the Egyptian Defense and Intelligence Ministers. Barak's visit comes at a time of tense relations between Israel and Egypt due to the controversial issue of arms smuggling from Egypt to Gaza. Minister of Foreign Affairs Livni complained publicly about Egypt's failure to minimize the smuggling over the weekend. The Egyptians publicly rejected that criticism.
Egypt claims that the Israeli lobby is pressuring Congress to cut back its aid unless they do more to stop the smuggling. This is a very sensitive point with the Egyptians since they are dependent on American aid. Mubarak asked Barak to allow for more troops to be stationed on the Gaza border, something Israel will not agree to. The situation seems hard to really understand. On one hand, one would think that the Egyptians should be able to stop the smuggling. It is certainly not in their interest to strengthen Hamas. However, on the other hand they do not seem to be doing enough, on the other hand the smugglers from Sinai have been successfully smuggling for generations. One explanation may be that the Egyptian government is not taking action, to keep the Muslim Brotherhood happy.
Russia announced that they would begin supplying Iran with their new anti aircraft missile: the ss330. The missile, which has a range of 150 Kilometers, is a clear danger to Israel in case of an attack on Iran. Its range is particularly problematic to standoff aircraft such as tankers and AWACS. Syria is also trying to buy the weapons. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russians have proven particularly adept at software work, which makes these weapons dangerous indeed. We can thank the American Intelligence report on Iran for the shipment.