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Conflict shifts balance of power in the Middle East

November 23, 2012
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Source: CNN

However crude the calculation, especially amid all the civilian casualties, the winners and losers in the Israel-Gaza conflict are already reshaping political alliances in the Middle East.

Before the last rocket was fired, before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the cease-fire, there was already a consensus building among stakeholders and analysts that the events of the last week have transformed the fortunes of many in the Middle East.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy, clearly underestimated, deftly navigated what is a minefield of competing interests, including those of his own country.

"For a civilian president in Egypt perceived as a weak leader, he has, much to everyone's surprise, delivered," says Aaron David Miller, a Middle East scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Morsy proved he has the leverage necessary to bring Hamas to the table and get its leadership to agree to a cease-fire. Brokering that deal has given him much needed political capital in both the Arab world and the United States.

This was a qualified victory as well for Israel and its tenacious Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Just months before an election, Netanyahu's government targeted and killed Hamas' military leader, Ahmed al-Jaabari. Hundreds of airstrikes on Gaza followed, but the real victory here might have been the combat debut of Iron Dome, the U.S.-funded defense shield that kept dozens of Hamas rockets from hitting Israeli civilians.

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