Israel is without a doubt the most active middle eastern country in terms of intelligence gathering. And it’s no wonder why; they have made quite a few enemies, in particular many of their neighbours.
Additionally, Israel is constantly gathering intelligence to remain the dominant player in the region.
Why then, did they fail so miserably at predicting the Egyptian revolt that started in mid-January of this year? Egypt, being a neighbour of Israel, a former enemy and one of the biggest countries of the region comes under heavy Israeli intelligence scrutiny.
It turns out that Israeli intelligence didn’t believe the Egyptian public had it in them to engage in mass, sustained protest.
They also believed that the Egyptian police and military could be deployed en-mass to crush any uprising. The reality was that the army stood on the sidelines, and the police barricaded themselves in their stations.
The Egyptian Uprising Was Unpredictable
The uprising, which was sparked by a similar movement in Tunisia, can be compared to the Hungarian uprising of 1956 in so far as there was no specific leadership, there was huge support throughout the populace, and the protesters were holding trench warfare style ‘lines’.
Even more importantly, in both instances, security agencies and law enforcement were left absolutely stumped as to how it all happened.
So how did one of the best security agencies in the world get it so wrong?
One reason is that they took their eye off the ball. President Mubarak had been welcomed at first for upholding peace agreements with Israel and preventing conflict in the region. It’s quite possible that Israel concentrated too much on the regime itself instead of the general population.
Another factor which most certainly did contribute to Israel getting it so wrong is that they vastly over estimated both the President’s ability to deploy military personnel, and just how loyal the security force itself may be to him.
Numerous reports surfaced within the first few days of the uprising citing how split army leaders were in their loyalty, Mubarak’s difficulty in crushing the protest and just how unwilling soldiers on the ground were to move in on protesters.
In the end he could only ask the army to ‘oversee’ the demonstrations. One picture I saw of an Egyptian soldier, standing on a tank, AK raised over his head and cheering on the surrounding crowed springs to mind.
Egyptian Leadership Actions Were Unpredictable
Actions such as cutting off the population’s Internet supplies to stop access to Twitter and Facebook (which was being used to organize the demonstrations) was supported by Israel but condemned by international bodies, especially free speech oganizations and Amnesty International.
Israeli defense officials said publicly that they would do all they possibly could in order to help Mubarak remain in power as he has for the past thirty years. However, in another public display of just how caught off guard they were, they didn’t comment on what specific actions they might take.
Speculation is of limited use at the moment as nobody has much information concerning the Israeli revelations. Any military excursion into Egypt was highly unlikely during the uprising, given the tense relationship concerning the nations which led to demilitarized zones between both, and deep rooted resentment in the general population.
However, Israel could have used the Egyptian uprising as an opportunity to gather intelligence on such protest movements, and assist Egypt by providing intelligence on the similar movements which are now occurring in countries such as Jordan and Lebanon.
Israeli officials now seem to be completely stumped about Israel’s own future, and are undoubtedly worried as other nations begin similar campaigns against their oppressive leadership. Major western nations such as the US and UK are also now putting pressure on Egypt to instigate a rapid transition to full democracy. Nobody knows for sure what will happen though.
In the words of an Israeli Foreign Ministry official, “We couldn’t predict that this was going to happen, so we certainly can’t predict what will happen.”Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com