Complexity still rules in the Arab winter of discontent.

Now that the useful idiots have all gone quiet about just how much Islamics in North Africa are gagging for democracy, it allows the rest of us some more time to spend on understanding the detail – rather than telling the fluffies over and over why they’re wrong.

Nothing like an even-handed start to a post, but I will counter that by saying how daft I felt yesterday when a comment threader asked the simple question, “Do you think Egypt is different?” The fact is, in the last six months Egypt has gone onto my mental back-burner and I didn’t even notice. The question was both astute and valid.

Over the same time period, Islamic terrorists carried out a massive attack on the Egypt/Israel borderlands in Sinai. I was surprised to hear that Egyptian security officials and Mossad had been ‘cooperating’ about this, thinking that the Brotherhood’s view would be ‘bring it on’.

Now this morning, Egypt says it has carried out air strikes against ‘suspected Islamic militants’ in the Sinai peninsula, with reports of ‘up to 20 people killed’. In case nobody had noticed, the government of Egypt is, um, Islamic. Mind you  – and this is important – it is Sunni…as are over 90% of Egyptians.

My contacts in Egypt were never that good apart from one brief period, but I have one or two in Israel. I understand the general view in Tel Aviv is that the Army v Brotherhood thing in Egypt is still far from being a done deal, and that these clashes show the Islamists broadcasting that fact, and the army top brass demonstrating what they can do when necessary. Maybe this is simplistic, I’m not sure.

However, the cooperation must be warming many a Jewish heart in the Israeli Cabinet. Especially now that the Sunni hegemony is playing into their hands in Syria and Iran (see Monday’s Slogpost).

It feels to me like the same pattern: Saudis, Americans and Israelis back Sunnis in general and the Brotherhood in particular. And in Egypt, the Israelis probably have both options covered.

But this is hypothesis. The usual source democracy applies: if you have reliable information about any of this, write to

PS And as always, I’d prefer to read stuff from folks who know something, rather than from jerks who seem to know everything. Bless you.