Kilder som står Barack Obama nær forteller at det var kontakten mellom ham og president Mohammed Morsi som løste konflikten og fikk til en våpenhvile. Obama fikk et godt inntrykk av Morsis pragmatisme. Morsi forsto hva situasjonen krevde, og oppførte seg deretter. Obama tror han kan bli en samarbeidspartner i fremtiden.
Denne Gaza-konflikten var den første testen på om den nye ledelsen i Egypt er å regne med i en krisesituasjon. USA må ha samarbeidspartnere på den andre siden for å kunne oppnå noe.
Det viste seg at det oppsto en symmetri: USA kan influere Israel og Morsi influerer Hamas. Slik ble det en avtale.
Den direkte kontakten mellom de to begynte da Obama var i Kambodsja, klokken 23.30. Tre timer senere snakket de igjen. Obama hadde foreslått at Hillary Clinton skulle besøke regionen. Morsi var enig.
The cease-fire brokered between Israel and Hamas on Wednesday was the official unveiling of this unlikely new geopolitical partnership, one with bracing potential if not a fair measure of risk for both men. After a rocky start to their relationship, Mr. Obama has decided to invest heavily in the leader whose election caused concern because of his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, seeing in him an intermediary who might help make progress in the Middle East beyond the current crisis in Gaza.
The White House phone log tells part of the tale. Mr. Obama talked with Mr. Morsi three times within 24 hours and six times over the course of several days, an unusual amount of one-on-one time for a president. Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence. He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology. Most important, Mr. Obama told aides that he considered Mr. Morsi a straight shooter who delivered on what he promised and did not promise what he could not deliver.
“The thing that appealed to the president was how practical the conversations were — here’s the state of play, here are the issues we’re concerned about,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. “This was somebody focused on solving problems.”
The Egyptian side was also positive about the collaboration. Essam el-Haddad, the foreign policy adviser to the Egyptian president, described a singular partnership developing between Mr. Morsi, who is the most important international ally for Hamas, and Mr. Obama, who plays essentially the same role for Israel.
“Yes, they were carrying the point of view of the Israeli side but they were understanding also the other side, thePalestinian side,” Mr. Haddad said in Cairo as the cease-fire was being finalized on Wednesday. “We felt there was a high level of sincerity in trying to find a solution. The sincerity and understanding was very helpful.”
The fledgling partnership forged in the fires of the past week may be ephemeral, a unique moment of cooperation born out of necessity and driven by national interests that happened to coincide rather than any deeper meeting of the minds. Some longtime students of the Middle East cautioned against overestimating its meaning, recalling that Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood constitutes a philosophical brother of Hamas even if it has renounced violence itself and become the governing party in Cairo.
“I would caution the president from believing that President Morsi has in any way distanced himself from his ideological roots,” said Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “But if the president takes away the lesson that we can affect Egypt’s behavior through the artful use of leverage, that’s a good lesson. You can shape his behavior. You can’t change his ideology.”
In pushing Hamas, Mr. Morsi came under crosscurrents of his own. On one side, advisers acknowledged, he felt the pressure of the Egyptian electorate’s strong support for the Palestinian cause and antipathy toward Israel as well as his own personal and ideological ties to the Islamists in Hamas. But on the other side, advisers said, Mr. Morsi had committed to the cause of regional stability, even if it meant disappointing his public.