Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday stunned the region and caused grave concern in Israel when he dismissed all of Egypt's top generals and installed commanders loyal and subservient to his Muslim Brotherhood.In addition to firing Tantawi, the Egyptian chief-of-staff, and the heads of the navy and air force, Morsi also rescinded all of the council's constitutional amendments, effectively granting his office outright control of military matters.So long as Tantawi and the other older generals were largely in control of military matters, Israeli leaders were more or less certain that Egypt's revolution would not lead to armed conflict with the Jewish state. But with the Muslim Brotherhood seizing control of the armed forces, previous assessments are now void.As a demonstration of why Israel is so concerned by the Muslim Brotherhood's power-hungry moves, last week Arab television stations around the region broadcast a recent interview with Egyptian-born cleric Salah Sultan, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the interview, Sultan stated that people he has met all over Egypt and the Middle East "thirst for the blood of the Jews."Speaking of America, the Washington Post reported that the Obama Administration is not at all concerned by Morsi seizing control of the military, and that it has "confidence" in the newly installed generals.
While White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday that the Obama Administration still believes that there is "time and space" for a diplomatic track, coupled with sanctions, to succeed in convincing Iranian leadership to stop the nuclear program, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren stressed in an interview to MSNBC that the Israeli clock "is ticking faster."
Ambassador Oren said Israel appreciates Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's reiteration that the U.S. is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but mentioned the "structural differences between the United States and Israel which we can't ignore."
"The United States is a big country with very large capabilities located far from the Middle East," Oren said. "Israel is a small country with certain capabilities located in Iran's backyard. And Israel, not the United States, is threatened almost weekly, if not daily, with annihilation by Iranian leaders."We've now had five months of diplomacy," Oren continued, adding that the attempts to get Iran to negotiate an end to its nuclear program "haven't worked."